Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are you ready for some football? - São Paulo

I cannot resist more observations from the sidelines of Brazil's national sport. It's not my fault: my husband has decided that this year I am going to go to every home Palmeiras game so I am ready to not make stupid comments during the World Cup. So I am going to make stupid comments now. I will expect my soccer-loving readers to correct and lambast me at will. I will shortly thereafter fall to the ground grabbing my leg and screaming until someone is awarded a yellow card and then I will feel much better and rapidly.

First of all, after four Palmeiras games I can still only name three players. This means I am not a fan. The goalie (who prefers orange outfits) is Prass. The famous guy is Valdivia. He is not Brazilian but seems to be Mercosul. Yes, Chile. The other guy who I thought was leaving the team but perhaps not (I really cannot be bothered to follow up with this stuff) is Vilson. He sounds like a bad guy to a villain. But apparently he is good. Or at least chaotic good.
Valdivia. I am studying.
So here the main problems for me getting to know who the players are. 

1. I have bad distance eyesight. I have no idea who those little ant guys are from my cheap seats. By the way, I love the cheap seats. I am never ever going back to the real seats. The fans in the cheap seats are hilarious. 
2. The players change numbers all the time. Seriously, what is that? One day you're "7", one day you're "4" etc. So I can't even look at a number "80" and say "ooh, that's Jerry Rice" like I can in the US. Jerry probably could have played soccer--not much that guy couldn't do. So here I am cheering for Vilson and my husband will look at me and say "helllloo, number 10 is so-and-so today". Well, give me a break already. Wear one number.

Jerry Rice. They retired "80" for him. Look at how many Raiders are on the ground. Not holding their toes and crying.

3. They all switch teams all the time. It is very confusing. One day you have Ronaldinho, and the next day you don't.  Stop it.

Here are some other things that make American football more watchable to me:

1. Squishing. It's all allowed in the game (well, to a point). So you get squashed by the Refrigerator and you lie there on the ground because you are actually hurt after being sat on by a 250 kilo guy. Not because someone kicked your shin. Please, boys. Timinho. 
2. Replay. Sorry, but I love it. I like to be playing Angry Birds one minute, then miss the touchdown, and be able to look up at the Jumbotron and see what happened. From every angle. Soccer goals happen once every 200000000 minutes and it's hard to keep awake for every one. One word for you soccer managers: Jumbotron.
Correct yellow card presentation
3. Yellow flags are superior to yellow cards. Okay, I admit that given the right ref, the yellow card presentation can be pretty awesome. I like it when the ref runs right up to the player, stops on a dime, gets all rigidlike and straight arms the yellow card right up above the bad guy. That is fun. However, the ref on Tuesday had trouble getting the darn card out of his pocket most of the time and just waved it like a fan in front of the guy's face. Lame. I need drama. 

Yellow flag to be picked up.
An American football yellow flag gets chucked on the ground, up in the air, thrown around and left on the ground as the sides debate the call. You know, I am changing my mind. I like the yellow card better. One point for soccer. Also football does not have red cards or red flags. We need those.

And what is up with the soccer players gathering around the ref after a call and blah-blah-blahing. I have seen the ref change no call ever. What is the point? Get replay. Get Jumbotron. 

4. Constant entertainment. In the US, what with all the TV time-outs and replay stuff you get a lot more time to watch all the silly contests between nonathletic people and then of course the cheerleaders and bands and stuff. Okay, college beats NFL on this because there is lots of flag-waving and no one will ever beat the Michigan band revving up "hail to the victors valiant" at every possible break.

I am guessing there are no breaks in soccer because no one wants to ever venture into a bathroom at a Brazilian stadium. I don't. And as of now (non-World Cup stadiums) have no food courts: just hot dog and peanut vendors. Much better at a SF stadium where you can pop out for sushi and an Anchor Steam. 

Half time shows do not exist. I do not understand why a country that can serve an airplane meal in 15 minutes (seriously, TAM does this) cannot do more than have blow up credit card signs on the field.  Please explain to me.

Okay, that is my incredibly rich and well-researched study of why American football is still more appealing to me than Brazilian football.  Now, let's get going on the hate mail...


  1. Flag? Looks like a hanky to me. Then again, if you insist on calling it "football" why not "flag" too... :)

  2. So glad to see you back, Andrew! I thought I'd lost you over translations ;)

    I completely agree with the yellow hankie. This is why I find it so funny--such a macho sport and ooops, I dropped my hankie! Yes, I do insist on calling it football as I have no other option. They do sometimes kick it. Yeah, I know, lame.

    1. Glad to be back. I just didn't have anything interesting to add to your other posts (or time to think too much about it anyway).

      You could try calling it handegg and see if that catches on. American Handegg, Rugby Handegg, Aussie Rules Handegg, ... It has a ring to it.

    2. I think most of those could be summarized by "Braindeathball". You have to be nuts to play any one of them. Hockey too. I have no clue what Aussie Rules are. Sounds dangerous.

    3. Exactly, the problem with comparing American football with real football is that the latter isn't really a contact sport. In that sense, it would be better to compare it to basketball (not in terms of scoring, of course).

    4. Hmmm, I still think that acting and drama is the best in "real" football. Don't get me wrong; I find the game entertaining enough to go to Pacaembu for every single one. Mostly I like to watch Mancha Verde dance around...

  3. OMG, that was hilarious! Wish I could go to a game with you. :D

    1. I'm there every home game! Let me know if you want to come!

  4. Ha ha ha! Great post. Also, "Handegg"! Awesome... :D

  5. For me, comparing American Football with Football is like comparing Feijoada with Churrasco {I mean real, Brazilian [and maybe, just maybe, Argentinian (there is a strong argument that Argentina has better meat but Brazilians know better how to prepare them)] BBQ, not American BBQ} - one can learn how to like or even love both of them. "The Husband"

    1. Sure but you can't judge one by the standards of the other. Saying that football players are wimps because they fall to the ground at the lightest contact (I'm not saying you said that, it's just a common criticism) is like saying that you like your feijoada medium rare.

    2. Still only one word: Jumbotron.

      :) :)