In conversations around Sanpete, I hear people talking about events that are reported by the news media. It’s natural. The “news” is what’s happening in the world around us.
News can be categorized into different levels. There’s family and friend news. There’s local city and county news. Then, there’s state and national news. And, of course, we hear news of the world – international news.
I suppose if we were to continue logically, there is solar system news. We do hear reports about the moon occasionally. We get excited about solar eclipses, meteor showers, and comets.
We, as the general public, don’t get a daily news report from Mars that I’m aware of, but perhaps Elon Musk does. The head honcho guy of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, last I heard, was still planning on sending a crew to Mars in 2024.
As far as the galaxy and the universe are concerned, we don’t get a whole lot of regular news. I suspect that astronomers and astrophysicists get data and information that excites them fairly often, but it’s probably fairly dull stuff for people like me.
Speaking of news of the universe, there is one bit of news from the universe that interests me each year. The Miss Universe Pageant has always been fascinating to me. It’s somehow been comforting to me, and a matter of planetary pride, to observe that the winner of the title of Miss Universe is always a human female from one of the countries of our home planet earth.
The current Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, is a beautiful Filipino-Australian model from the Philippines. I really have “no axe to grind” with only allowing earthlings to compete in the pageant. I just hope that we don’t have repercussions some day for being so presumptuous. Who knows, maybe Elon Musk will be the sponsor of our first non-earth contestant. (I know. I’m being silly. But if you didn’t have some degree of appreciation for silliness, you wouldn’t be reading this column in the first place.)
With that long introduction, let me get to something that has been in the news this past week that I’ve been thinking about. I suspect we’ve all had some thoughts about it. I’m talking about: Soccer.
Hip, Hip, Hooray for the U.S. Women’s Soccer team! They swept through their World Cup matches in impressive fashion. They beat The Netherlands in the final match 2 – 0, confirming that they’re the best of the best – perhaps in the entire universe! It was exciting for me to watch the highlights of that final match. I’m proud of the team.
Yes, you read me right. I said I watched the highlights of the match. No, I didn’t watch the whole thing. Here is where I admit that soccer is, well, dare I say it? – a bit boring to me.
If I want to fall asleep with the TV on for a Sunday afternoon nap, a good strategy for me is to tune into a golf tournament or a rousing soccer match. It’s a great way to be lulled off to dreamland. Usually, there’s not enough happening in those games to hold my interest.
Now, on the other hand, watching the kids of Sanpete play soccer is different. And when they have been my kids, my interest was much higher. In fact, watching kids play is interesting to me because they actually score goals. The end of the game usually isn’t 2 – 0.
I’ve wondered this past week why we in the U.S.A. seem to call soccer, “soccer,” while the rest of the world seems to call it football. As far as I can see from my research, the game was first called soccer as a shortened “nicknamey version” of “association football.” The “soc” from the word “association” somehow morphed into “soccer.”
In Britain where this started, they gave up on the name “soccer” quite a while ago. In the United States it stuck with us to keep American football and soccer separate and distinguishable from each other. Most of the rest of the world says “football” when they mean the sport that we call “soccer.”
The fact that we use the term “soccer” in America evidently riles up some people in the world. A guy named Beat Zimmerman ranted the following.
“Dear Americans, Here is an important lesson for you to learn: There is no sport called ‘Soccer.’ The sport that was invented between the years 220 and 680 (yes, years with 3 digits do exist) is called Football. Nobody knows why you guys call a sport that was invented somewhat later (1869) and is played by motorbikers (that’s why they wear helmets, not so?) football. It’s neither played with the feet nor with a ball. If you called it American Rugby I am sure nobody would argue.”
Well Sanpete, that’s my “news analysis” for this week. Enjoy these summer days. If you need some exercise or recreation, go find a round ball and kick it back and forth on a grassy field. Call this activity whatever you want to call it. I’ll call it “Getting Steps on My Fitbit by Running Back and Forth Kicking a Ball on a Grassy Field.”