I have endured bouts of insomnia for most of my adult life. In 2002, while channel surfing in the middle of the night, I miraculously discovered a cure for my inability to fall asleep. Sadly, this remedy was only available for a few weeks. A stroke of luck occurred in 2006 when I was able to relocate that same relief but only for the same limited time. My fellow sufferers of sleep disorders can understand my joy when I found out that once again, this aid was about to reappear to alleviate my restlessness. Of course, this antidote of which I am speaking is broadcasts of World Cup soccer matches.
This event and soccer in general hold a particular attraction to those embarrassed by their status as Americans. First of all, self-described progressives automatically consider anything European as more desirable than any domestic equivalent. This neo-Eurocentrism extends to the infatuation with socialized health care. Also included in this mania are punitive tax rates for economically productive citizens, governmental subsidization of sloth by generous financial support of those refusing to work for a living, nationalization of businesses leading to governmental monopolies in transportation, retail and other sectors of the economy. Additionally, these hand-wringing types feel compelled to kowtow to any and all demands by Islamists who have infiltrated their countries. Their affinity for soccer results from the desire to morph into a twin of the bloated and tottering amalgamation known as the European Union.
The leftist insistence on prizing self-esteem above success leads to their adoration of soccer for its propensity to end in tied games. For those of whom their self-confidence has built on years of grade inflation and minimal levels of expectations in academic settings, a draw at the end of a match is ideal. In that case, no one’s feelings are hurt by losing. This extends to the trend of organizers of youth sports leagues refusing to keep score at games in athletic contests. Militant egalitarians rejoice in ninety minutes of futility resulting in a zero to zero final score. Unfortunately for a generation of children indoctrinated in such concepts, life inevitably finds ways to result in successes and failures, which no amount of self-delusion can erase from reality.
In conclusion, I would like to commend everyone responsible for this somnolent spectacle. To the players, I applaud your frequent, slow-paced jogging interspersed with episodes of jumping on the ground to clutch your legs in states of exceptionally feigned and embellished agony after an opponent’s shadow overlaps your own. To the fans, I am calmed by your incessant blowing on plastic horns for an hour and a half to generate enough white noise for my easily startled ears. To the television announcers, your repeated references to the status of the clock on the screen as “unofficial” reminds me to ignore my own clock and its ungodly ante meridiem hour. To the sponsors, I am grateful for your non-interruption of the matches with something entertaining such as any your inane commercials for the billionth time that might attract my attention and disrupt my slumber. Finally, I thank the International Federation of Associate Football, better known as FIFA, for a few weeks of intermittent yet recuperative estivation once every four years.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT JUNE 2010