Thursday, June 08, 2006

And they enter the starting gate...

Well, I’ve taken a small break to take more effort at work and at home in preparation for watching the World Cup this month.  So I’ll still be arguing, at least in my head, whether or not my commenter from a couple of posts ago is right in saying that it’s Group C that’s the group of death, and not group E.  Whatever, in either case I don’t know if there is really a true group of death this year.  Not like in 2002.

Anyway, I don’t get cable or satellite TV at my house, which under normal circumstances is preferred with me and my wife.  However, many of the games are on ESPN and ESPN2, and so I’m on the lookout for places to watch.  Downtown here I usually watch games over at Champions Pub in the Marriott.  European evening games play at 11:30AM here on the West Coast, which is about lunch time for me.  However, upon calling them, I found that they are not going to open before their regular opening time of 11:00. 

Kells is probably the ideal place.  What better venue than an Irish pub.  They are opening early, and allow youngsters, so my wife can join me even when she can’t get a sitter.

The Cheerful Tortoise is a college pub and eatery by the university, which is pretty close to where I work.  They also plan to open early for the 6AM games.  Haven’t really hung out there, though, so I don’t know what the atmosphere is like.

The Horse Brass pub is, shockingly, not going to show all the games, and they only plan on opening early on some days.  They have grown a reputation for showing Premier league games, so this move is disappointing, to say the least.

The A&L tavern is probably the other place I’ll consider going to.  I’ve watched soccer there before, and it’s a great place to go.  It’s been pretty smoky in the past, so I’ll end up there if I’ve got nothing else.

The games start tomorrow, so expect to hear from me, commenting on what I see.  I’m no expert on soccer, but I’ll call it like I see it anyway. 

I’m the kind of guy who likes to analyze games before hand, but I might not want to take all that time this year.  You might hear from me who I’m going to be cheering for, though.  If anyone.

Tomorrow’s game, Germany v. Costa Rica, I don’t really have a favorite there.  However, I tend to have that analytical personality that causes me to want the team who’s supposed to win on paper to do well.  So I’ll probably be pleased if Germany does well.

I’ll be routing for Poland in that group, though, considering my minor Polish lineage.

Soccer is one of those things in life that brings otherwise disparate peoples together in brotherhood.  Nowhere is this more unexpected than in the conflicted regions of the middle east. 

Check out this article in the BBC about Israel and Palestine.

      It is about the only issue Israelis and Palestinians can agree upon. The TV subscription rates to watch the football World Cup are too high.

      Furious Israeli football fans are staging a consumer rebellion that has prompted a parliamentary probe and already led to a reduction in prices.

      Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are fervently trying to circumvent charges of up to $600 (£325) and watch matches on pirate TV channels which are pledging to broadcast the games free of charge.

      Making light of the sporting unity, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz published a cartoon showing Israelis clambering over the West Bank security barrier to join Palestinian farmers to watch the tournament for free.

I’m wondering what effect this will have on tension in other parts of the world.  In Europe things basically shut down for the month.  Will the world be at relative peace while the Cup is being played?  Will Iran, who are participating, stay quite for a month?  Or will they use the distraction to make some bold move?  Will the disinterested Americans irritate the Iranians by continuing to press the issues, while all the Iranians want to do is watch Iran v. Portugal?

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