Monday, June 14, 2010

Here, drink this. You'll love it. Soccer Saturday

Saturday was the apocalypse. It was a super particle collider. It was a flash in a pan, a grand slam, a hole-in-one and a supernova of energy. And some other really big things.

It was a moon bomb.

We damn neared blew up the moon (credit to Jim) with the collective energy that was bursting out of seams across the globe. It was the first Saturday (read: the day that most people are not slaving at a desk, or read: the day that I am not slaving at a desk) of the newest and most modern World Cup. This was a celebratory and technological critical mass. Extreme masses of people from extreme fringes of the world's population poured forth to experience all of it in ways that had never been done before. It was the same four years ago and it'll be the same again in four years' time. But for this space, this time, it was critical mass. For the football fan, it was all we could want. For the techy savy urban liberals we are, it was all we could want. Tweets scattered across the globe and pulsing forth from the bottom of our great green and blue globe. Instant video to share. Instant reaction to report. Photos from fans that made us each feel like we were there.

More people. More channels. More coverage. More opinion. More experts. More phonies. More funny hats. More face paint. More bets. More tweets. More shots. More Bayernjager. More, indeed, shots. More Maradona.

Football was there to be had, of course. But there was so much more. So much to experience. So much not to miss.

Saturday was more of everything. We all did our best, again, across the globe, Augustus Gloop impression. Every last one of us. We were licking the bowl, nibbling every last crumb of it like cretinous slobs. You might not get another chance, you know? Take it while you can.

It was, in the end, an odd type of family reunion. I'm quite certain I'm not alone in that expression. Text messages from close friends you hear from every six months. Phone calls with loved ones to check in. Checking in to ensure that you're soaking it up to the extreme extent they hope you are. Get all of it, they say. Get every last drop of the experience, they encourage. Gotta meet their expectations.

What was that I wrote last week about high-fiving, back-slapping and whatever other way you see fit to communicate with people? It happened. That fellow who's impossible talking speed mixed with the ripping Manchester accent? First time you saw him in four years if it's been a week. Those people you see every week? The ones with whom you're only ever able to exchange erstwhile glances of disapproval because of the team they support? Don't think for a second you weren't happy to see them. Don't think for a second you didn't high-five them and slap the hell out of their back. You wanted to be sure they soaked up every last drop of the experience too. You wanted to be sure they knew everything you knew. Did they see things the way you did? Did they taste it all, smell it all and hear it all? Was their perspective ... as overflowing as yours? Did they know? You sure were gonna try and make sure they did.

It was community. It was experience. It was celebration. It was humanity. And all because of the World Cup. Everyone was there. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone wanted to have a say.

It's rarely been as easy as it was to get up at 5:00 a.m. I popped out of bed with springs in each step. The dawn's walk to the pub, the magnetic center of the footballing universe for anyone outside of South Africa ... and make no mistake, there's one here, there's one there ... you all know the experience ... that walk at dawn was as pure a joy as I've known. Why? Because you knew it was all there in front of you. Gobs of football. That oozing human experience. And a little bit of the unknown.

In the middle of all of it, Jim and I had the opportunity to again contribute to the Soccer Saturday radio show. This time it wasn't in the comfy ESPN Radio studio in the middle of downtown Milwaukee. This time it was live. Right in the middle of this massive black hole of joy and energy. To be clear, this location wasn't designed to suck joy out where it once was so much as it was a massive gravitational center where all of the above was located. And smack dab in the middle, Jim and I stood with a couple of headsets and did radio. It was about as much fun as I've ever had. Here's the segment. As with every week, check the widget on the left, scroll down and you'll find the Match Pricks segment. Listen to the others as well. Peter Wilt had some good fun and our friends Ryan Wickins, from London, and Ryan McCauley, an American, had a good segment where they offered their thoughts on the big USA vs. England.

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