On changing your mind.

Evening Soccer

Photo by Katie Brady, shared under a Creative Commons license.

I spent time last Tuesday evening explaining to several of my friends exactly why I have not been watching the World Cup. Soccer is boring, for one thing. They can play the whole game and end in a tie. I don’t understand the rules. The field is too big. It’s just not my thing. Most of my complaints are contrasts to basketball: lower scoring, less actual “possession” of the ball. And then I spent the next morning planted on the couch watching that Algeria game. Because I enjoy being a part of something bigger than myself. Because I thought I should give it a chance. And because I thought it would be a great opportunity to make jokes about golden snitches and Viktor Krum. Also sea salt and French mustard. Mike was unconvinced, so I watched by myself.

And I had fun. (I am probably the only person who is not bothered by the vuvuzelas. I think they are charming.) Finally all that nonsense I kept seeing on Twitter had some context. Finally I had some idea of what my friends were talking about. And finally I understood at least a couple of rules. And then, maybe you heard, there was that whole thing in the 91st minute and Twitter broke and Mike and I high-fived (he came back for the end, after I had done all the sweating it out) and it was awesome to be an American.

I can’t say that I have completely changed my mind, but I do think that Bill Simmons is right: It might actually be time for soccer to make some inroads in America. They got me to watch, not just that one game, but several of the games since. My mom and I had a conversation about soccer, something we have never done before.

I am fairly stubborn, but sometimes I change my mind. I eat eggs now, if they are over easy. I have been known to yell at the TV on Sunday afternoons at the fall, even though Mike had to talk me into the whole football thing. I drink Diet Coke and listen to the Decemberists. (I do not, however, listen to Joanna Newsom. Or wear leggings.) I changed my mind. Well played, soccer. Well played. I’ll see you again. Later today.

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