Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soccer Junk Dot Com

My friend Lisa went to Tokyo and brought me back soccer chopsticks.

I haven’t yet had occasion to use them, but I will. I do have an issue with them though: they feature a boy kicking a soccer ball with great gusto, and a girl kicking Aren’t young Japanese girls allowed to kick soccer balls? She looks pretty angry about kicking the star, as evidenced by her downturned mouth. The boy doesn’t have a mouth so I have no way of knowing how he feels about kicking the soccer ball. Perhaps he feels smug, since he got to kick the ball, while his sister had to kick a lousy star.

My sister Meg brought me an iphone protector that has the image of soccer on the back.I use it constantly. I am a clumsy, clumsy person who, according to my friends, should probably wear a helmet all the time, even just walking around—so let’s face it, using this is a good idea for someone like me. I also like the fact that when people see me use it on the skytrain since my knee operation and I’ve got my cane, they might realize that I have a sports injury and would not look upon me with such intense pity. (Although, truth be told, I don’t mind intense pity if it means I get a seat.)

These items I received are just some of the soccer paraphernalia that is out there. Of course, there are lots of useful things--jerseys and cleats and balls and things-- but I am talking about the true soccer junk one can buy online. Some examples:

Christmas stuff is very prevalent in online searches at this time of year. features some soccer tree ornaments: both blonde and what the site calls “multicultural” boys and girls playing soccer are easy to find.No matter what their nationality though, these soccer figures apparently don’t understand how to play soccer—why does each one have an arm raised, as though they want to ask questions? Perhaps they are keen to ask “Why is my arm up?” For those who don’t like the cute-sy Christmas ornaments, this same page also shows that one can buy a 3 pack of Manchester City tree ornaments featuring the team’s official logo, at its full price of $9.99; however, the Chelsea team ornaments are inexplicably on sale for $5.99. I guess these items are overstocked, and are not being purchased? For shame, Chelsea fans, for shame.

CafĂ© press features a set of shark soccer mugs you can buy for a mere $48. Why so expensive? Why sharks with soccer balls? Who knows? But the advertising copy suggests we should all “wake up and smell the advantages of this space saving stackable mug set”. Hmm. features more in the soccer/beverage area: a “soccer happy mug” for only $7.00, which it assures you would be “an excellent choice for your favourite coach!” The mug has huge feet topped with half a soccer ball....I am not entirely sure which part of it is the ‘happy’ part. I’m not deluded enough that I think that I am anyone’s favourite coach, but I still hope no one ever buys this for me.

This site also features a “Stove Pipe Hat”, claiming “soccer novelties do not get any better than this”. I beg to differ, but at least the price is low: $5.00.

There's more! I also found a “soccer post-it note holder”.
Gone are the days of paying a surly teenager minimum wage to hold your post-it notes—a real plus in this tough economy-- when for a mere $9.95, your post-it notes can be held by this device. (The ad for this item spells soccer with an extra “c”, as in socccer. I think the extra c is for crap.) The website it comes from is entitled, which is an apt name, really.

And guess what else? You can even buy soccer condoms. A company named Pasante claims to be “putting the fun back into penetration” with their Halo Soccer condoms. (Wait—had someone taken the fun out of penetration? No one told me.) There are six designs to choose from and you get 144 condoms in a package. 144 condoms? In one package? Oh my.

When you get tired of using up all those condoms, you may wish to relax into some soccer furniture. There are these funky designs, made from recycled soccer balls (on the right) ...or for those with less esoteric tastes, this soccer chair (on the left) claims that is has “milky-soft leather-like fabric” that can be “easily cleaned” and will provide “many years of comfort and joy”. Hmm. Perhaps you could use the soccer condoms and the soccer chair together...

This is all just a sampling, of course. What my research has shown me is that with enough money and time and an internet connection, by this time next year, you could be completely outfitted in soccer clothing and crap from head to foot, including soccer bra, panties, pants, shirt, earrings, bracelets, necklace, contact lenses, stove pipe hat, necktie, socks, and shoes. Dressed thusly, you could relax in your soccer chair with a soccer blanket in front of your Christmas tree, which would be lit with soccer ball lights and decorated with soccer player ornaments of various ethnicities (although dubious playing abilities), eating off of soccer plates and drinking out of soccer/shark mugs. A soccer device could be nearby, holding your post-it notes at the ready. And the soccer condoms….well, how and when you would choose to use those is up to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jesus Kicks

It's almost Christmas-- who has time to write blogs? I have decided that even though I am not religious, I know some of you are, so I give you this: Jesus doing a bicycle kick. I especially like it that he is wearing shin pads. Who would kick Jesus in the shins?

Impressive, right? Bicycle kicks are hard. Man, that Jesus could do anything.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tabletop Karate Chop

The place I go for physio is covered in framed sports team pictures and team jerseys, all with handwritten notes of thanks from players who are now presumably injury free, and back doing their sport of choice. This is a good thing, because it is a reminder that you won’t be doing this kind of tedious rote exercise forever, and the annoying stuff that you’re doing right now isn’t permanently replacing fun kinds of exercise, like, uh, soccer.

The people working there are all impossibly fit and cheerful, and laugh as they see your face when they tell you to do 150 squats, hamstring and butt lifts, or to kneel on your knee mere weeks after someone cut and drilled into it. Unlike us regular folks, none of them have ever been injured; they look like the kind of people who treat their bodies as finely tuned machines, which they re-energize with fuel every two hours by perhaps eating a half a cup of chickpeas or a handful of kumquats, or a spoonful of mashed yeast. Travis, my physiotherapist, does iron man triathlons in 12 hours. How frustrating it must be for him to deal with us mere mortals all day who refuel with beer and bacon sandwiches. But he tries with us, he really tries.

The other day, Travis pulled a rope ladder out of a drawer and showed it to me after I’d been riding the stationary bike for a while. “Are we escaping to somewhere?” I asked hopefully.

Alas, no. He put the rope ladder on the ground and asked me to walk along inside it, stepping in each square with one footstep. While he watched. Frowning. When I finished, he said “Okay, do it again.”

I did. Then he said “Try lifting your injured leg higher, like marching.” Apparently, he explained, I’ve been dragging my injured leg around like a suitcase with wheels, and my hurt leg needed to do some work of its own, by marching. I get the idea behind it. But I feel I don’t speak only for myself when I say that sweaty, limping people who do not look especially great in workout gear aren’t too keen on being watched and frowned at while they march in squares under fluorescent lights.

After the marching, he was still frowning. “Okay, now try sideways,” he said. At this point, when I realized I was both sidestepping and goosestepping through the flat rope ladder, I might have scoffed, because Travis tried to make light of what he’d asked me to do. “Think of it like dancing,” he said. “I learned all my best dance moves by doing exactly what you’re doing right now.”

Stepping 12 steps to one side, and then back again? “Travis, you must be a terrible dancer,” I said.

“What?! No way,” he said. “You haven’t seen my tabletop karate chop.”

“That’s true,” I admitted.

Even with all the frowning, I’m so thankful he taught me to walk again. And in a few months, he’ll teach me to run again, and then soccer is just around the corner. I was thinking of taking him some xmas cookies as a thank you, but then I realized that surely he would never eat anything unhealthy like that. I’m thinking I'll just put the cookies together with my thank you note and frame them and he can hang them in the physio room with all the jerseys.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Recently I ran across an Onion News video about soccer and I was thrilled, mostly because I am a lazy, lazy blogger and I hoped it meant I could repost it on my blog and wouldn’t have to write anything this week. It was pretty disappointing though. After the promising headline “Soccer Officially Announces It Is Gay”, I ended up only snickering a little at the idea that “deep down, soccer is about a bunch of guys running around, not touching a polka-dot ball with their hands…”, and yawning at the usual easy swipes that can be made at David Beckham.

I got the sense that someone there at the usually humourous Onion just threw the video together quickly and angrily when they found out that the U.S. didn’t get chosen as the host country for World Cup 2022, as they had hoped. Sour grapes. But calling soccer gay? What are they, jealous 9 year old boys? That’s not insulting; it’s pretty normal these days to be gay— I mean, there are gay people everywhere and in every sport.

The video clips they used from soccer were so...regular. The players didn’t look foppish or anything, they were just uh, playing soccer. Besides, don’t they know that there is a wealth of “gayish” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) photos of famous soccer players they could have used? For example:

There's this one:

or this one:

And here's another:

Now, in case you are starting to get worried that perhaps the Onion is right and everything about soccer is gay, I give you this. I don't like to perpetuate stereotypes but must admit that no self-respecting gay man or woman that I know would give themselves this haircut.

But, let's finish with a winner:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feed Me Peeled Grapes

Sophie cried the other day when we had all the snow and she found out her soccer game was cancelled again. Literally, tears and everything. “I haven’t played in almost two weeks!” she sobbed.

I sat on her bed, with my bum leg bent as much as it would go (which isn’t much) and fixed her with the devil stare I have perfected in the ten years since I became a parent. How I managed to hold in what I was thinking (something along the lines of ‘Are you joking?! Shut the f-- up! ‘), I have no idea; as it was, I believe I said “Soph, babe—enough. No crying. How do you think I feel?”

Although she stopped crying and hugged me, it was not my proudest parenting moment. She is allowed to have her own suffering and I don’t get to one-up her suffering with mine (which, by the way, is clearly worse.) And I totally get where she was coming from. All I wanted to do was sob along with her, and then possibly knock the stuff clear off her dresser for dramatic effect, and then look up at the sky and scream “Why?” like in the bridge of the Cee Lo song with the unprintable title. Then perhaps, minions would come out of nowhere, with deep, deep sympathy in their eyes, and rub my feet gently, brush my hair, and feed me peeled grapes, all the while murmuring in hushed tones about how much I was suffering since I haven't played soccer in six months.

But nothing happened.

Instead, I hugged Sophie back and limped downstairs and watched Glee. It was not almost as good as playing soccer. Nothing is.