First of all, allow me to apologize for not checking in sooner. I've been fighting a rather nasty sinus infection and coupled with an inordinate amount of Christmas-related obligations, I've been terribly remiss in submitting a half-hearted post this month. So anyway, let's get started, shall we?
1. Due to my sickness, I've been holed up in my room for much of the week, left to my devices and many boxes of tissues. However, my relative inactivity has allowed me to catch up on some reading. Notably, I've been engrossed in Jamie Trecker's "Love & Blood", an entertaining and enlightening first-hand account of the 2006 World Cup. Already halfway through after only two sittings, I've been impressed enough to brush aside my critical opinion of Trecker, who at times seems to go out of his way to bash women's pro soccer and MLS in his regular pices on foxsports.com.
Nevertheless, if you can put his inflammatory opinions behind you, then I would highly recommend this book, as it not only gives a wonderful account of Germany '06, but some interesting insight into the politicking that went into securing the World Cup there. Great read, thus far.
2. I love Jen Chang's blog on espnsoccernet.com. Really, it is like a soothing cup of hot chocolate on these cold December days in which the local landscape is almost completely barren of soccer. However, my only qualm is that it could be more MLS-centered. Not that there's anything wrong with comments on soccer abroad (especially since we're in the midst of a fairly quiet MLS offseason), but a guy with his kind of inside info MUST have some "interesting" knowledge of MLS offseason going-ons (trade rumors? expansion discussions? number of assistants Beckham employs?) that readers would love to hear about. Right?
3. I wouldn't call it desperation per se, but I took a trip up to Springfield, MA with my young cousin for some indoor soccer last Saturday. The Massachusetts Twisters, the local entry in the American Indoor Soccer League, provided a wonderful night of soccer-related entertainment for my young cohort and I, and was actually quite surprised that I actually enjoyed it as much as I had. In fact, I've already begun working on a piece in which I defend the indoor game, because quite honestly, I don't feel it gets the respect it deserves.
Yes, it's not the same as the outdoor game - but just because it isn't, doesn't mean that it deserves to be lampooned or bashed, as Paul Gardner has done in past articles. I attended the Twisters match with an open mind, and thoroughly enjoyed the quick pace and high energy. My cousin had just as much fun, and actually asked me to bring him along next time I plan on attending another match.
Call me a sucker for ther sport's grassroots efforts, but I think anyone with an open mind would have his/her soccer world expanded considerably if just a little respect was given to such localized and "below the radar" outfits like the AISL.
4. For those of you who read my Sunday Morning Striker pieces, I haven't just yet started on my indoor soccer coaching responsibilities. I'm actually in the process of getting feedback on how to best organize this little endeavor, as well as getting an estimate of how many kids would be interested in playing about once a week. The things I do to keep up with this malignant soccer addiction...