Monday, July 12, 2010

Why Watching the World Cup is Like Reading a Bestseller

Farewell, World Cup. You are already missed.

I know, I know, Americans supposedly don't like watching soccer; we don't have the patience; and we don't think the refs' calls are fair. We just play it as kids and then abandon it as adults. And we already have a sport called football that we refuse to swap out.

But I was obsessed this year. I woke up at 6:30 am before work to watch. I planned my weekends around it. I discussed and debated it with other fans. I drove my husband a little bit nuts. I read heaps of articles, Wiki-pages and analysis on the sport and the players. I accepted the vuvuzelas. (Eventually. (In fact, now it seems strange to watch matches without them.)) And I WILL be watching more matches now, L.A. Galaxy's specifically, which is the first time I've felt entitled to root for an L.A. team. I've lived in California 11 years but I still root for Illinois in most sports. Well, no more.

Anyway, I was thinking about why I fell so in love with soccer this time around, and I think it's the same reason I like reading bestselling books: To feel connected to the rest of the world, at a time when society is becoming ever-more fragmented into smaller and smaller subcultures.

There's something wonderful and magical about reading the hot summer item, the one with all the buzz, the book that's been at the top of the bestseller charts around the world for months. First, there's curiosity: "What's the fuss about?" Then there's impatience: "I gotta get my hands on this book!" Then there's that lovely feeling of a shared experience: "Ooh look, my co-worker/friend/random person on the train is also reading it! I wonder what they think??"

At the moment I'm reading Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

What book has got you frantic this summer?


  1. I like that feeling of connectedness too! The soccer was amazing. We Canadians felt that way during the Olympics as well. We were all connected - it was wonderful!

    The book I'm waiting for is MockingJay!

  2. Hi Jemi!

    Me, too re: Mockingjay -- cannot WAIT til August :) Glad you enjoyed the World Cup.

  3. Wow Sarah, I totally agree with you. I, too, enjoyed the World Cup this time with gusto and plan to watch more soccer. And I love the thread relating it all to all being related. Awesome.

    Maybe we should have a S&B soccer worked with roller derby!

  4. Hey Jess, thanks for commenting! I think we should definitely plan a Stitch 'n' Soc field trip. L.A. Galaxy plays Real Madrid next month, I think... :)