Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The morning of USA-Mexico

Here we are.

After weeks of media coverage that only a recluse could appreciate, the American soccer's annual showcase event has arrived. USA-Mexico.

Never-ending series' of press conferences? None here. Drawn out ten hour pre-game shows? No, because God is a soccer fan, and He'd never abandon us like that. A four hour barrage of multi-million dollar commercials? No, thankfully, because commercials are only shown at halftime.*

(*I've already come to the point where any commercial break during a college or pro football game - especially right after a kick or punt return - will cause me to chuck my foam stress ball at the screen. What can I say? I've been spoiled by soccer.)

USA-Mexico is missing all that because, quite frankly (and almost refreshingly), this really just about the game. This is about true, unbridled passion for the world's game. It doesn't need any artifical sweeteners.

This is a game that involves a pair of national teams that don't play especially well with each other. This is a raw, bitter rivalry that calls into question the sanity of its supporters. This is Red Sox-Yankees, Dodgers-Giants, and Michigan-Ohio State all rolled up into one. On acid.* This is dos a cero. This is something that the actual Super Bowl itself could only wish it was.

(*Have you ever seen flying bags of blood and/or urine, razors or nails at Celtics-Lakers game? Or banners featuring the el Diablo dressed in the opponent's attire at a Michigan-Ohio State game? Did you ever see Derek Jeter hawk a loogie on Dustin Pedroia after a take out slide? Didn't think so.)

Because this is our Super Bowl, and because the mainstream media has largely ignored it, I'm making it a point to showcase USA-Mexico the best way I can. This includes:

1. Wearing my white U.S. jersey to work. I've been too lazy to get it numbered - which is perfect, because my employer won't bitch about it.

2. Going to the drive-thru at Taco Bell, ordering a 10-taco plus Mexican pizza feast, parking my car in the lot, then proceeding to wildly stomp on it like it was on fire or something. I know what you're thinking: I just blew $13 on that little exercise. To that I say: it's still cheaper than therapy.

3. Wearing my Don't Tread on Me jersey during the match. I'm also ordering pizza, wings, cheesy breadsticks, and those really tasty Cinnastix. I'll be consulting my cardiologist the following morning.

4. In true big event tradition, I have placed a wager on this with a friend...of a friend - I won't name him here (it's Joe!) - who's rooting for El Tri. In the same vein as past Super Bowl bets, the loser has to wear the jersey of the winner's team in public. In this instance, this public display of loserdom will be the first match of Providence's Mexican Soccer League season in May. Here's hoping that Joe - who, you may have guessed, has Mexican blood - will be mocked by his peers while sporting my Brian McBride jersey along the East Side when the weather finally turns warm.

5. I have a prediction. Before said I announce said predication, I've consulted with my mother, who's despised Mexico since the Brazil-Mexico match we caught at Gillette Stadium a couple of years ago.*

(*It stems from a sequence in which we were stuck in traffic along Route 1 on our way to the match. We're chatting about the Brazilians, and how cool it'll be to see Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho and h - - BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!!

That was the sound of a 150-decibel truck horn blared by an F-350 draped in Mexican flags. My mom, ever the cool customer, proceeded to hurl a few choice words at the driver, who looked like Deebo from Friday. I was scurred. She was not. The guy thankfully ignored her. Ever since then, my mom cannot hear mention of the El Tri without scowling something along the lines of "those jerks.")

So yeah, I asked her for a prediction. Six to zero, USA. Seis a cero. That's extreme. So I'll half it, and give Mexico a goal. An own goal.

Therefore, my prediction: tres a uno. USA, of course.

(EDIT: Ooops, I actually meant to give some sort of pre-match analysis. It's clear I got sidetracked. If I have any time in between work and class - which ends ten minutes before the 7:00pm start time* - I'll see if I can horde together a few intelligible thoughts and spill them here.)


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