Summer so far
Greetings. Can you believe that the summer is almost over?? I say that because I have classes that start back in a mere 4 weeks. This felt like a great time to recap what has been an interesting summer so far:
Again, the States catch soccer fever. I am a big soccer fan. I haven’t always been. However, since 2003 my fandom and knowledge of the game has steadily increased. I commonly find myself alone when it is time to discuss my favorite teams with my friends and family. Why talk about the possibilities of an African team making it to the Semifinals (something that has never happened) when you can talk about LeBron James? Why discuss Chelsea’s chances at winning the Barclay’s when you can talk about Johnny Football, Peyton Manning or the Sooners new alternate jerseys? I get it. This is America, and we don’t really appreciate the game of soccer for what it is. I also understand that it can be tough to embrace a game that has a lot (at least perceived) diving and flailing, as if there’s a sniper on the roof shooting air bullets at every advancing midfielder.
Every four years the World Cup begins and Americans begin to pay attention to soccer. This summer’s World Cup in Brazil seemed to ignite soccer passion in America the moment Clint Dempsey scored 30 seconds into the match with Ghana. Things really got interesting the moment Graham Zusi found John Brooks for the go-ahead goal. (Side note 1: this game was tough for me. I root for Ghana every time out. They have 3 of my favorite players in the world; Kevin Prince Boateng, Andre Ayew and Sulley Muntari. I wanted them to win it all. I wanted the US to make it to the finals. Something had to give. Side note 2: the moment Graham Zusi lined up to take the corner, I told my wife that he’s going to find someone. I’ve seen it several times here in Kansas City, as Zusi routinely finds teammates from set pieces. I even have a burst shot photo sequence of him finding Kei Kamara on a header against Chicago from 2013). I hope that this time, people TRULY do catch on to what makes soccer so great. I know it is tough when all of the money, and in turn all of the best players, don’t play here. I get it. However, the fact that so many MLS players played really well in the World Cup should help to temper arguments of inferiority regarding the players that do play on North American soil; Zusi and Matt Besler from Sporting KC (who both may be finding their ways to Europe in the very near future), Seattle’s Deandre Yedlin (who may also be on the way over to Europe) and Clint Dempsey (who has played in the Premier League), Brazil and Toronto FC goalkeeper Júlio César and Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman all played well in the tournament. That doesn’t even include guys like Roger Espinoza of Honduras (formerly of Sporting KC), Australia’s Tim Cahill (New York) Costa Rica’ Roy Miller (New York). Several players represented MLS very well. Let’s hope that the enthusiasm carries over into MLS viewership and attendance.
From my experience, a ticket to an MLS game is the best buy around. Living in Kansas City, I’d rather drop $30 for a ticket to see Sporting KC than to go watch the Royals (even when they are good) or the Chiefs- even if they are playing Dallas. Okay, maybe I’m stretching a bit on that last one. But there’s so much more to enjoy at a soccer game than most realize.
The other (and most important I might add) event of this summer is the birth of my second daughter, Lydia Jewel Craig. She was born at 3am at home, weighing 8 pounds. I almost forgot how exciting, nerve racking and beautiful it can be to see a child you help create being born. I also forgot how difficult it is to get them to sleep at a set time every night. It has definitely been exciting, scary and eye-opening. Time flies. Before I know it, she’ll be 3 years old like her big sister. As a father, something awakens internally that says once again, “don’t screw this up!” My daughters will depend on me for their idea and understanding of how a man will act around and towards them. That’s a huge weight. But the great thing about it is that I’ll hopefully have 18 years to work on it.
I hope that your summer is going well; you’re having fun, seeing sights and spending time with family. Take care of yourself and them.
Until next time (where things will probably look different around here)…