Leading up to the final of this World Cup, I am struggling with the fact that it is nearly over. For one month, we have had soccer at our beckon and call. I would wake up in the morning and there would be a group game from Cape Town. I would go to work and the day would pass by with a match in the morning from Durban, and one to push me through to the end of the day in Jo’Burg. Match trackers and ESPN 3 were my most watched and studied websites. I almost got sick of soccer. Almost.
This world cup has been…well it has happened. It’s too early to put some sort of historical adjective on it and by the laws of reference, this one will seem like the greatest World Cup in modern times, but we don’t really know how history will judge these matches. What will be the talking points looking back in four years, eight years or 24 years? Will the ball be scorned as it is now? Will this be seen as a turning point for refereeing, cleaning up the game because of poor calls and poor eyesight? Will it be seen merely by the winner and the loser; the first notch in the bedpost of a great European power and the let down of perennial favorites?
We don’t really know. Many people will judge this cup immediately. Many people will say yes to soccer because of this cup, like I did after the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Others will be turned off because of the officiating, the rules or the diving. All I know are my feelings which are muddled. I have struggled with this cup and its massiveness within the blogging world. Everything has exploded and been made into a grand gesture. Fruit trays everywhere, wine glasses clinking, waiters taking the appetizers before I’m finished, this cup has had all the arrangements of a 20’s era ball. Everyone is coming in to enjoy the scene and it’s great, but I’m overwhelmed much like I would be at such a ball. Twitter breaks every time something big happens and all the while all I can do is sit back and observe. It’s all too much, too powerful.
Since this is my first World Cup to truly follow and be on the guest list of, I don’t know how to act. My favorite writer is writing everywhere, tweeting like the Cup depends on it, every single person has an opinion on goal line technology and Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger not only talk to each other, but they watch matches together in comfort. I mean hell; the Cup has even brought me out of my self induced blogging dungeon to write about my feelings and the Cup. My mind has been shell shocked for a month and I’m not sure whether to drink the wine, or throw it in Mick Jagger’s well creased face.
I go from being completely amazed by the most boring matches, to being unimpressed at some of the greatest plays of the tournament and I don’t know why or how. It’s like the part of my mind that knew soccer, the one that had a grasp on the game I love, was beaten up like a prize fighter past his prime. It knows what movements it is supposed to do and how everything is supposed to feel, but it can’t seem to keep up. It’s slow on the uptake and can’t block a jab to save its life.
That’s my mind during this World Cup. This Cup, and possibly all the rest for the duration of my life since this is my first, has been like this; a mind blowing experience where the world dances around the ring and I sway back and forth trying to hit it. I still don’t know how this South African adventure will be seen in years to come, but I do know that this one will be remembered by me for the sheer loopiness of what it has done to my soccer consciousness. An entire month seems like it has been one long soccer match and the end is coming in less than four days. Netherlands/Spain will be here before I know it, and then I hope I can get a grasp on this event, this Cup, this 20’s era ball. Maybe and only maybe, I will finally see that the fruit was organic and the wine was locally produced but right now it all looks canned, and I’m drinking Boone’s Farm.