Of Soccer And Coverage ..

Something odd happened when I was in my car yesterday. It was afternoon and I had AM radio going - KNBR 680. It was some kind of national talk show, the kind devoted to endless musings on whatever is hot in the USA at the moment, be they the NBA playoffs, Danica's NASCAR win, ice hockey or baseball, good, solid merkin games created and played in North America.

Only there was one difference. The callers wanted to talk about soccer. Not water polo, not lacross, but football. The global kind, not the American one.

One more thing: the callers weren't on the line with questions about the US soccer league. No, they wanted to vent about the just-concluded Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow. The announcers wanted to steer the conversation to how soccer could be improved for US consumptions. The callers weren't having any of it. They wanted to talk about the penalty shoot out. They were outraged by the slippery state of the pitch. They were touched by Alex Ferguson's victory dance in the rain.

The announcers, clearly taken aback, could only comment on the sheer volume of people lined up to talk.

I never thought I'd live to see this day. I recall, 20 or so odd years ago, when as a major English Premier League fan, trying to get the latest scores was a fiendishly tough task. Forget any US radio or television, your only hope was the New York Times. Or a short wave radio able to tune into the BBC world service.

We've come a long way indeed. Now, a black man and a white woman can vie for the US Presidency and an Indian American can attract attention as a potential Republican Vice Presidential candidate. And US fans avidly follow a game held in Moscow, Russia.

The personal irony in all of this is I've long given up following the Premiership, preferring baseball instead. So it goes.

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- May 23, 2008 9:18 PM // General