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Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm not a soccer fan. I don't really know the rules all that well. I have no idea who's in the Top 10 world rankings. I can't tell you who won the Premiership or any other leagues or tournaments this past year. And I would probably have trouble coming up with even five players, and that includes Pele. But I love the World Cup.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Does the Cup logo make anyone else want to pop ecstasy pills and listen to Chemical Bros. for hours on end?

I fell in love with this quadrenial event at the same time I fell in love with New York City. Back in '98, on my first visit ever to Gotham, I was struck by the level of interest in the Cup. I'd been aware of the Cup before coming here of course, but never had I seen such open ferver. A crowded bar full of Germans here, a pub packed with rowdy Brits there, a clutch of Bolivians huddled around the display TV in the window of an electronics store on Canal St. If you have to choose a city in the States to watch this action, there can be no better place than New York City. Every nation is represented in these five boroughs, which in my opinion is one of the best things about living here. And so, when the World Cup comes around every four years, it's like soaking in a multi-culti cornucopia of nationalistic passion nearing the point of insanity. It's wonderful.

With action kicking off today, I already experienced a little of this as I was surprised by a hearty yelp from a huddle of excited men at the shoeshine stand on my to the subway this afternoon. Apparently, Ecuador had just scored its second goal against Poland. And so, in the coming weeks, I will be marinating in this sea of pride and passion and occasionally reporting back here on my experiences. Tomorrow, I have an English pub (England v. Paraguay), a Caribbean lounge (Trinidad & Tobago v. Sweden), and an Argentinian steakhouse (Argentina v. Ivory Coast) on my Cup Crawl route. Check back Sunday for a full report.

As for my pick to win the whole thing? Well, I'm kind of hoping Brazil will repeat, for one reason and one reason only:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Nice Cups.

Now let's play some futbol!

Yahoo: Full Coverage
NYT: Interactive Guide
Excely: Track the Action
Amy's Robot: Hey, We Care!
Deadspin: Coverage and Liveblogging
Tony Karon: World War on the Soccer Field

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