Sunday, May 29, 2005
Own Goal
There are lots of good things about holiday weekends, especially the ones that fall in and around the summer time (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, complete with the fuck-you American lack of "U" after the "O"). Long warm days, some class of slaughtered animal cutlet on the grill, no school to drag the kids to, shops and beaches choked with tourists providing me with many, many targets to slake my animal thirst for human blood... lots of things.

In the Information Age (are we still in the Information Age? I keep getting the feeling we've slipped right past it into the Innuendo Age, the former epitomized by Bill Gates, the latter by Paris Hilton) we are presented with yet another reason to enjoy long holiday weekends: ample excuse to slack off and write short, crappy blogposts.

Armed with expectations I was surprised to find could be lowered further, I offer you this as a Sunday night nosh, with the proviso warning that it may have to get you through Monday as well. You may want to consider stretching out the reading experience to last you just in case, say one paragraph every 4-6 hours, to keep the sweats and the stomach cramping at bay.

Despite sickness among my children, Mrs. Pops and I ruthlessly abandoned them to the care of my sister (Friday) and my in-laws (Saturday) in order to get some serious kid-free leisuring done. We ate chain-restaurant Italian food and tolerated Revenge of the Sith Friday night (Mrs. Pops was entertained by it, but then she's always been a huge fan of dismemberment) and Saturday we escape to the little oasis of Paradise-Between-The-Freeways that is Carson, CA, at the spectacular Home Depot Center, the nation's Most Poorly Named Stadium. 27,000 seats of pure soccer wonderment, quite a change from the 100,000 seat Rose Bowl, a ravenous monster that devours all but the most spectacular events (especially pro-soccer crowds) while simultaneously cooking spectators, it's beige seats behaving inadvertently as the world's most efficient solar collector.

Like everywhere in SoCal, Carson is nowhere near Riverside. If Riverside is an outskirt, Carson is either a pleat or a ruffle, something inessential, but still situated close to the smart and shapely waist that holds this whole thing together, Los Angeles. To give you an idea of what kind of a place Carson is, directly next door can be found the lovely city of Compton, of which you may have heard. For those of you who don't know, Compton might not be the place where shooting people to death was invented, but they sure figured out a way to turn it into an art form (see: NWA).

After a jaunt up the 710 for bruschetta and cheesecake in Old Pasadena, I donned my LA Galaxy shirt for the game between co-occupants the Galaxy and MLS expansion team Chivas USA, an offshoot of the famous Guadalajaran team. Despite the fact that the Galaxy won 2-0 even without their best players, even though beer was being sold for $7.75 per cup, even though I was able to try out every Spanish swear word I knew, nobody once took a swing at me.

I don't care what anybody says, the reputation of Mexican-American soccer fans for me has been ruined forever. They were passionate but courteous, spirited but fair and above all appropriate and controlled in their enthusiasm. I never even got spit on, not even by accident. I've never been more disappointed in my life.

I've decided that it's because they're Mexican-American and that second part in their hyphenate identity has robbed them of their partisan inability to control themselves. Everywhere else in the world except among Americans soccer elicits the worst among people, evoking violent parochial tribalism whether for club or for country. And I couldn't even get cursed out. It was a dark, dark day.

At least I can be glad that in the last game between the US national team and the Mexican national team in Mexico the fans taunted the US players with chants of "Osama! Osama!" (which is absolutely true).

Not all hope is dead. Those people know. They get it. I just hope and pray some day that that kind of crass failure of human perspective can be fostered north of the border and the next time I go to a soccer game I can at least get kneed in the groin. Here's hoping.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.7



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