Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome to the World Cup!

The World Cup starts today in China. You can head over to The Sports Network for previews of all the times plus the latest news and schedules of the matches.
But as Christine Brennan wrote this past week, the timing couldn't be worse with both college and professional football in full swing and the penant race in baseball heating up. I don't really care about these things and am excited that the event is beginning just as the US Open ends. Another sporting event to delay my full acquiescence to the fall semester routine. But Brennan makes good points. The event is barely on the radar screen and ask almost any average Jane or Joe on the street and my guess is she/he will not know a major women's sporting event is occurring right now. Brennan fully blames FIFA for the bad scheduling wondering why, after the success in 1999 which put women's soccer into the public imagination, they opted to "bury" the event in one of the busiest sports months of the year. And it will overlap with the a couple of the games in the WNBA finals so we have two major women's sporting events competing with one another.
On a happier note, this WaPo feature is all about Abby Wambach and her new role as team leader. Abby Wambach is my favorite soccer player. I know someone who played against her in high school and said she used her strength to push off defenders using a tricky little move the refs did not pick up on. She seems to have a confidence that could be interpreted as arrogance--well in a woman, anyway; a man could probably get away with it. But I don't care. I love her. I would watch women's soccer anyway because it deserves support and recognition; because I think it is, in a way, a pioneer, in terms of women's equality in sport. But Abby Wambach makes watching it so much more interesting. I have never met her (I actually have no desire to meet any of the celebs I admire for fear of disappointment--I think that was the theme of a Silver Spoons episode that I internalized), but I love the way she plays. I love her unapologetic aggression on the field and the way she is constantly targeted, shoved, double-teamed and tackled but always getting up and going hard like it never even happened.

Which is why when she got tackled twice by the same person in the same collision during a game against Norway and had to come off the field, I--and everyone else who was thinking World Cup--panicked. But she seems to be fine.

Also in light of the World Cup is a very nice piece on former national team member Julie Foudy who will be covering the World Cup for ESPN. But Foudy has also been doing other broadcast work on subjects not related to soccer and she is doing a great job. Unfortunately the increasing business in her schedule has meant she has had to stop working for the Women's Sports Foundation which I think is a real loss.

PS to everyone who comes here wondering is "abby wambach gay" you are not going to find any news here that doesn't exist elsewhere as speculation. Actually you aren't going to find any speculation at all here. Wambach has never said whether she is gay or straight. I don't suspect she will at this point in her career. None of the US players talk a lot about their personal lives. Kristine Lilly never revealed her sexuality. But her recent marriage seems to indicate she is a practicing heterosexual.
PSS The USA's first game is against Korea tomorrow.

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