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updated: 6/11/2014 8:41 PM

At least World Cup worth a watch

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  • A United States flag owned by Jaime Oquendo of Houston hangs from a railing as a Brazil flag waves in the background as Oquendo watches the U.S. men's soccer team Wednesday during a training session at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup.

      A United States flag owned by Jaime Oquendo of Houston hangs from a railing as a Brazil flag waves in the background as Oquendo watches the U.S. men's soccer team Wednesday during a training session at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup.
    Associated Press

 
 

Believe it or not, I plan to catch snippets of Thursday's game between Brazil and Croatia.

Not because it's soccer but because it's the World Cup.

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Even if you don't appreciate the sport, you have to appreciate the event, the pageantry, the rituals, the fans' costumes, the quality of play and the high stakes.

I read Wednesday morning that a witch doctor in Ghana is taking credit for Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo's knee issues.

That's great stuff you don't get in other sports, except for Crane Kenney mindlessly trying to use a priest to exorcise Cubs curses.

So also is the United States' bracket being called the "Group of Death" because it includes Portugal, Germany and Ghana.

Hopefully the designation is in fun, but you never know with the way emotions spill over in soccer.

Eventually if I live long enough, which means forever, I plan to cross two things off my bucket list.

One is to get into Twitter.

The other is to get into soccer.

Tweeting will happen in my life because it has become an obsession of sports writers judging by how many have their heads buried in it inside press boxes across America.

I have resisted social media long enough and vow now to plunge in sooner than later.

Some day soccer also will overwhelm my basic instincts and force me to finally give in to all the zealots who insist this sport is irresistible.

This will come as a bigger surprise around here than Eric Cantor losing in Virginia was, but I don't dislike soccer.

What I dislike is that for 40 years soccer-philes have kept hammering at me that it's the next big thing on America's sports landscape and I have to enjoy it.

Twitter and soccer are related if for no other reason than personally I don't need either.

Seriously, I already have enough ways to annoy people and they have enough ways to lash back at me.

The last thing I want to hear from them, and vice versa, is what was for lunch, how the yoga session went and quips that folks swear are amusing but aren't.

So, no, I don't feel compelled to tweet or be tweeted.

As for soccer, my sports day generally is full before I get around to what allegedly is "the beautiful game."

I already have a boring game on TV in the background while I'm dozing off. It's called baseball, which by the way soccer should be happy to hear is my favorite sport.

So, no, I don't need soccer either.

Some day that'll change, however, because all other spectator-sport options will be gone.

Baseball's slow pace will become unbearable. So will football's violence. The Blackhawks will plunge into a down cycle. The Bulls will be too disturbing after Derrick Rose injures his third, fourth and fifth knees.

All that's left for us will be Adam Sandler films and soccer.

But here's what finally will draw all of us to soccer: Chicago will have a team in the English Premier League.

Ridiculous, you say?

Look, if the NFL can be dumb enough to consider locating an expansion franchise in London, the EPL can be dumb enough to consider locating one here.

Chicago and Crystal Palace seem like they would be natural rivals, don't they?

The only mystery is why that hasn't been proposed already. All professional sports leagues are trying to spread globally. The delay could be due to two stubborn parties being involved.

The EPL is waiting for me to embrace soccer before expanding here, and I'm waiting for the EPL to expand here before I embrace soccer.

In the meantime, I'll continue glancing at the World Cup every four years.

Now excuse me while I go pick a team out of a hat in the office soccer pool and players out of midfield for a soccer fantasy side.

Please don't expect tweets telling you whom I wound up with.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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