the (north [specifically the usa]) americanization of soccer cheers

June 7, 2006 at 6:07 pm | Posted in brian, football (soccer) | 3 Comments

i went to my first real salt lake game of the season a couple weeks ago. i went to a number of rsl games last year and found them somewhat enjoyable–meaning there were/are a number of things i like about the games and a number of things i dislike.

the likes: soccer, in my opinion (and the opinion of this guy knows what i’m talking about), is the best sporting event to watch live (or on tv); the fans are generally cooler than other sporting events (which i think is due to a combination of lower ticket prices and the fact that soccer fans are generally cooler than other sports fans); even though seating is technically reserved, you can buy any ticket and sit nearly whereever you like; soccer players have the best haircuts in sports; and soccer jerseys, on average, are hipper than any other team sport.

the dislikes: i usually sit in the northeast corner (i forgot what they call it, but i think it’s for so-called real real fans) andthe sun is in your face almost the entire first half; sometimes i can’t find a scalper selling cheap tickets for the life of me and haven’t figured out a reasonable way to sneak-in; and the halftime events (time-killers) are terrible (last game this girl totally cheated–she was supposed to navigate an over-sized soccerball through a line of over-sized kfc buckets then take a shot on goal and she totally skipped the last three buckets but god or satan made her miss her shot on goal for cheating since the halftime organizers didn’t care).

while the likes outweigh the dislikes i do want to spend some time talking about my biggest dislike: soccer chants.

this dislike deserves attention percisely because it should be a like. in theory, these chants seperate the experience of a live soccer match from every other sporting event. these chants are not the jumbo-tron telling you to say defense or stomping and clapping along with “we will rock you.” they’re not even the wave or the tomahawk (which is totally racist). soccer chants are spontaneous and improvised rather than being cued by the pa system. they derive from the fans themselves and they’re ever present throughtout a soccer match. this isn’t simply a matter of quantity over quality, but quality growing out of an unorganized, grass-roots (dare i say democratic?) approach to cheering rather than having a jumbo-tron telling one how to cheer. (i mean, i get so annoyed at jazz games their constant messages of “get on your feet” and “make some noise”–i thought this was america.) in other words, chants should be one of the best experiences at soccer matches.

moving from the abstract to the actual, the chants at the rsl game were a disappointment. while walking to my seat i was handed a paper with the words to some standard rsl chants. this disappointed me on multiple levels. (1) if you can’t figure out the cheers after one or two hearing, you probably shouldn’t be cheering. (2) passing out fliers with pre-planned cheers is just a step below jumbo-tron cheers. (3) a list of ready-made cheers reduces the chances of improvised cheers.

past streamlining the chants, the chants themselves were problematic. many of the cheers were nearly out-right lies: talking about blowouts before the game has even started? if chants are going to be effective (not to mention awesome) they’ve got to be realistic. nobody’s going to believe some boring chant about real being the best soccer team in the world (let alone the mls); but everyone (or everyone cool) can get behind a chant about how the altitude in utah will wear-out the other team.

so next time you’re at a soccer match, don’t accept the paper with pre-planned chants. stand up and create your own (but make sure they’re funny [some of the time]).

ping pong fever

June 6, 2006 at 4:40 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., ping pong | 3 Comments

step aside, strongest man alive competition

June 4, 2006 at 9:55 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., basketball | 5 Comments

there’s a new competition for strongest man alive. so everyone at strongestmanalive.com better start looking for work. i’m talking about the matchup of the millenium, by which i actually mean the matchup of all 3 millenia in the common era (C.E.). being the biggest matchup of three thousand years is pretty impressive, but it’s even more so if you consider that there are still a lot of possible matchups that could take place in the next 994 years (i count the year 3000 as part of this millenium, as i should). this is bigger than jesus v. john lennon, more intriguing than bonds v. ruth, and more important than roe v. wade.

diop v. shaq: strongest man takes home an nba championship

desagna diopshaq attackthis is something that i’ve dreamt about along with brian and greg since we found desagana diop on nba live 2004 on the xbox. brian was searching for some toughness midway through one of our seasons. he sorted the players by strength and found diop listed at 99. the only other player at 99 was shaq. we immediately began to talk about the battle of the two titans (at the heights of their careers) and we even played shaq v. diop a number of times to see who was better. all of us knew that the primary problem was that nba live doesn’t make diop as good as he actually is. so we fasted, prayed, and waited patiently for the day when shaquille o’neal and desagana diop could finally face-off in real life. we knew all along that diop has the guts of a damn lion, and it’s well-documented that shaq has a master’s degree in criminal justice (because he brings law and order to the court). they both have 99 strength, so it’s up in the air who will get the better of the other. the day has finally arrived with the dallas mavericks and the miami heat playing game 1 of the nba finals on thursday. i know i’ll be glued to my chair watching diop’s every move. broken nose or not, i predict that diop will dominate shaq like he’s never been dominated before.

side note: shaq really is a volunteer police officer in miami and has had a hard time not beating suspects during questioning.

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