Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup Fever

I've had a couple exceedingly late nights recently. The world cup schedule in China during the group phase was great, with 7pm, 10pm, and 2:30am matches. Watching two a night for two weeks was enough to get me significantly hooked. Tragically, when the Round of 16 began, they removed the 7pm slot. Doubly tragic was that most of the matches i wanted to watch were at the 2:30 slot. Two nights in a row, i did something i haven't done since, well, since the first couple months of living in Beijing: I stayed up until sunrise.

Friday night i needed to see the Spain-Chile match, as a loss or tie for Spain would mean their departure from the cup. Therese and i had some friends over for Catan, beers, and merriment. Bedtime was almost 5am. Then again on saturday, about twenty-five of us descended on Ellen's place at the Ascott for the USA-Ghana match, after which, we all filed out of the apartment dejected. "I can't believe i stayed up for that crap," was the slogan of the wee-morning. I wasn't home until nearly 6.

Being the old man that i am (therese has recently started plucking my grey, old man eyebrows), i quickly decided i couldn't do it anymore. However, being the World Cup Addict that i am, i'm sure i will. I know for sure the Monday after the Sunday morning finals is going to be rough for me.

And i'm not the only one. All around town, bars and back-alley restaurants alike have set up outdoor televisions for easy viewing. For a people that aren't even represented in the tournament, the Chinese are avid lovers of the game. On a related note, that does make you wonder... i read the total population of ALL participating World Cup countries is 1.5 billion. How is it a country of 1.3 billion can't field a team strong enough to beat out the pitiful North Korean's?


1 comment:

The Tao said...

Easy: 51% rural population cuts that 1.3 billion to half, to start. Factor in migrant workers and abject poverty. We're now down to pool of 300 million. One-child policy that emphasizes education. Sports universities that emphasize regimentation. Lack of importation of talent to Europe. Corrupt national soccer governing body that prefers "system" players. Zero patience with national team coaches. Viciously cynical fan base. No history of good soccer (unlike North Korea). Basketball preferred by Mao over soccer. And finally... no national pride tied into sport. And voila!

But yeah, I was pretty damn shocked too by North Korea's qualification.