Friday, November 25, 2011

Four Reasons Why a Soccer Ball is Better Than a Fork

I've shamelessly stolen this idea from the blogs The Oatmeal and Hyperbole and a Half. You should read those blogs instead. They're hilarious.

1. A Soccer Ball is More Fun to Play With

Soccer Ball:


2. Heading a Soccer Ball Doesn't Hurt, But Heading a Fork Does

Soccer Ball:


3. Round Things That are Kinda Soft are Often Better Than Sharp, Pokey Things

Soccer Ball:


4. Both Soccer Balls and Forks Can Be Used To Eat Pie

Soccer Ball:



Friday, November 18, 2011

Painted With the Same Brush: Marketing Soccer to Women

The paint company CIL solicited advice from the public to come up with some new names for its colours. I think this is probably just a grab for free publicity, but their press materials say that they feel that men ‘give the final nod’ in a couple’s paint colour decisions, and would more likely choose a paint colour called “Beer Time” instead of “Butterscotch Tempest”. Some of the other new CIL paint names meant to appeal to men:

Midlife Crisis
Brute Force
Old Sweat Pants
Pimpin’ the Trans-Am

What, no “Let One Rip”, “Four Beer Belch” or “Remote Control”?

As imperfect as this list is, it’s given me an idea, and I need your help. I’d like to get more women out to Monday night soccer, since lately I’m the only one (Chrissy, where are you?) and I’ve decided, like CIL, that perhaps it’s all about how it’s marketed. How can I appeal to women to come play with us?

I looked at the covers of a number of women’s magazines for research on marketing. Most headlines are related to:

Weight loss
Glowing skin
The latest boots for fall
Saving time
Meeting men
and uh, pleasuring men.

Apparently, as a woman, this is what I care about. (Really? Both this and the CIL list are depressing. Neither men nor women want to all be painted with the same brush as their entire gender.) However, if, like CIL, I’m going to follow the norm and work directly from this list, I can create my own headlines to advertise Monday night soccer to the fairer sex. (I apologize in advance that all my headlines end with exclamation marks.) What do you think?

Kick Those Pounds to the Curb with our New Soccer Workout! (This is obviously not true because if playing soccer was all you needed to thin out then I’d be down to my birth weight. But nearly every exercise weight loss claim is bogus, so let’s go with it.)

Get Glowing Skin in Time for the Holidays! (Technically true, since ‘glow’ is the old-timey term for female sweat.)

Makeup Secrets from the Pros! (To be fair, these secrets would probably be things like “Jeez - don’t play soccer if you want your make-up to look nice!” and “If you play, you will get chunks of mascara all your cheeks, even if you use ‘turbo proof’ washable brands – what were you thinking?!”)

Falls Latest Boots! (These would be soccer boots, obviously.)

Save Time with Soccer! (Like every single ‘time-saving’ invention introduced in the last few years, anything I could come up with here will not save us much time for long. But before you’ve proven yourself to the guys, I guess you could get a lot of mental planning done while you run up and down the field, not getting passed to.)

A New Way to Meet Interesting Single Men! (You will not meet interesting single men if you come to Monday night soccer with me. You will meet sweaty, sarcastic, married men. I guess there’s a chance one of them might bring a recently divorced, middle-aged friend though. He will also be sweaty and sarcastic. Single ladies: try to contain your enthusiasm.)

The Touch that Gives Him Pleasure! ( Most of the dudes at Monday night soccer would definitely be pleased if you had a great ‘touch’ with the ball and could do a sweet cross from the left wing so they could head it in and take all the glory for the goal. Can you do that? If so, please, please come out and play with us. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman. We need you.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Finches, 1977

My mom was clearing some things out of my childhood home this week and found this letter I wrote to her and my dad. I think it comes from 1977 or 78 when my parents went on holidays to Hong Kong, and my grandmother might possibly have been looking after us. It was the first year I played soccer and was on a horrible team called the Finches which lost every single game by a wide margin; in this letter you can see my fledgling love for both the game of soccer and the run-on sentence. I've typed this up exactly as it appears - same spelling, grammar, everything. I wish I could emulate my curlicue penmanship in typing form.

Reading this makes me miss my old dog, Beau. He was tiny, and white, and yappy and most poorly trained dog you have ever seen. Also, one more thought: chores, much? Sounds like my parents worked me to the bone.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Everything is fine here. We ate our dinner and it went fine. Grannie called at about 7:30 and said she'd call back after 10:00. Meg and I both washed our hair. When Meg and I were making your bed the door somehow got open (?) and Beau ran outside. I called and he came but he had dirty feet and a dirty beard. Meg and I gave him a bath. After he had been dry for a few hours we let him out on the deck. When he came back in he had dirt on both sides of his tail he is still like that because we didn't think we should give him another bath. I have something to report to you. We have some spiders in this house. There is one in the bathroom wastebasket and there is one on the sliding door downstairs. I tidied the house a bit and did the dishes. Right now I am under the hair dryer. As you know we lost the soccer game 7 - 1, some people said it was 6-1. I guess they didn't want to know the truth. I really don't think we are ever going to win. I mean it! At least I enjoyed it. I'm definetly taking it next year so is Meg. Well I'm closing now.
Love From,
P.S. When you get here come into my room and wake Meg and me up.
P.S.S. Sorry I didn't sweep or vacuum!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Three Sucky Things About Soccer in Iran


A professional Iranian soccer player groped his teammate’s butt earlier this week during a team goal celebration. Who cares, right? What makes this news is that each player involved has been fined $40,000 for this ‘inappropriate’ behaviour, could go to prison for two months, and receive 74 public lashes on the soccer field. They’ve also both been banned from playing indefinitely. In a country where ‘chastity squads’ can impose fines for things like wearing nail polish, I guess it’s not that surprising. How burned is the guy who got groped though? He didn’t do anything – except, I suppose, have a butt- and he’s still on the hook for all this. Seriously tough break.


Did you know that Iranian women are forbidden to attend soccer games? They’re banned from both stadiums and movie theatres that show matches. From what I can understand, the rationale is that the environment is too unseemly for women, and besides, it is argued, they wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway, since in public women have to ‘lower their gaze’. On occasion, women have insisted on being allowed to watch a match by blocking the entrances, demanding to be let in—and they’ve had modest success, although one woman I read about had her leg broken in the melee when she tried it in 2005. Holy crap. That’s a lot to endure just to see some ass grabbing.


The Iranian women’s national soccer team was shut out of competition for the Women’s World Cup in 2012 because the outfits they must wear to satisfy their country’s Islamic standards are considered too religious for FIFA. Could this not have been discussed before they attended a serious six month training camp and flew to London to play? Many Iranian women left the soccer field in tears during this fiasco. I can’t say I wouldn’t have reacted the same way, although in part I might have cried because I was embarrassed to be dressed like a Q-tip. (Sorry ladies, no disrespect. Go do your religious thing, it’s cool with me-- and take comfort in the fact that you ladies in white could kick my butt on the soccer field.)

Shall we sum up? In Iran, women can’t play or watch soccer, and men who do play, sometimes have fun with it and tease each other, only to be punished severely. Do they realize that when you break it down, it’s just a bunch of people kicking around a polka dotted ball? How do officials decide what’s ‘inappropriate’? How do they feel about the impression they’re making on the rest of the world with severe punishments like public lashings? Perhaps Iranian officials should be looking at the bigger picture. Or as one commenter said: “A muscular, athletic guy getting whipped in a men-only environment? Nope, nothing gay about that.”