Oh come now, you knew I had to at least mention it - my two countries, facing off in the World Cup, England v. USA, this Saturday. People trying to make bets with me that England will lose but gambling is illegal, so I don't take those bets. Of course.
But looking back at the last World Cup, I started thinking about connections between the beautiful game and my job.
Didn't really come up with any.
And then I was reminded of this moment:
And you thought the French never fought back!
Anyway. I wondered about all the misdemeanor assault cases we get in the courts, and then thought about all the punches I've seen thrown, the kicks aimed, and the two-footed lunges delivered on the soccer field. 458, by my reckoning.
I wondered, why can I get away with kicking some dude who has a football at his feet, but if I do the same thing in the produce aisle at HEB, I get carted off to jail? It's a deep question, one that has been batted around before and by smarter people than me. And soccer players are hardly the worst offenders. Hockey, anyone? Baseball, too, when the pitcher nuggets a batter, although they punch like girls (and not hockey playing girls).
It's even been known in cricket. Oh yes. Once, Tommy Squat-Bottom took the last of the cucumber sandwiches at the tea break (day four of the game it was, I think) and you should have seen how Reginald Blenkinsop-Danglejohnson reacted! First, he refused to use his coaster or his saucer, thereby scalding the tea table. Then, he dilly-dallied while heading back out to the wicket, and passing his new foe had the temerity to suggest that the chap's mother hadn't ironed the crease in his white trousers properly! I know, shocking stuff.
Yes, you can expect the odd tiff in the weeks to come, and you can expect those involved to deal with it in the field, not trouble the police or us busy lawyers with their squabbles. In fact, we'll probably goad them on from the sidelines, outraged when the ref penalizes our man and lets the cheating hound from the other team (I'm looking at you, Mr. Squat-Bottom) get away with it.
Unless, perhaps, they get as outrageous as our head-butting Frenchman, in which case their actions will be forever memorialized, in one form or another.
I mean seriously, the Austrians are making fun of him? Do Austrians even have a sense of humor? I thought they were basically Germans who take lederhosen seriously.
Anyway. Enjoy the drama, the spectacle, and the punch-ups. Revel at the passion and the late tackles, the glory and the crafty elbows. Cheer for your man and skin the shins of the bugger on the other side. But, please, no nicking the last of the cucumber sandwiches. That would be felonious in the extreme.
England 3 USA 0.
England and the USA qualify for the next round.