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June 20, 2006

It's been nearly two weeks since my last blog, something I told myself I'd never do. But I've been engrossed in the World Cup, so you soccer fans out there can understand. So, let's define what soccer is: game, passion, glory, and what is really is.

(Don't worry, you American football fans, there's a point to this.)

Soccer is a game. You score more goals, you win. You grab the ball with your hand, your opponents get a free kick, or penalty kick if you're too close to the goal. You score more goals, you win. You don't score, you tie at best.

Soccer is a passion. People love it, live for it, even die for it. Two nations once went to war because one eliminated the other in a World Cup qualifier. (IIRC, it was Honduras who eliminated El Salvador.) When Egypt was eliminated in 2001, one angry letter suggested they shut down the program for ten years while they get better personnel. A Columbian player who put one in his own goal for the U.S. in the '94 Cup was assassinated when he returned home.

Now, don't think that last one was because of Columbian drug lords. The guy who did it was a diehard soccer fan.

Glory? Yep. Soccer is that popular. With victory comes fame, fortune, and popularity on a global scale. While American sports stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, and Mark McGwire gain fame worldwide, there are very few of them compared to soccer players. Who hasn't heard of Pele? Maybe also Maradona (Italy), Ronaldo and Rodihno (Brazil), Borgetti (Mexico), Klose (Germany), and David Beckham (England)?

But what soccer truly is, worldwide, is completely missed by American sports fans. Soccer is seen much the same way as American football is seen in the USA: as a symbol of sexual prowess. Americans see soccer players as wimps because they don't see any masculinity in a game where you aren't tackled. Likewise, soccer players see masculinity in the ability to do anything to the ball with your entire body. Each sport lacks what the other has, unless you consider slide tackles (which, though legal under certain conditions, have led to more injuries than any other move in sports).

This is the point: Each side sees the other in the wrong light. It's always important to get the entire story. In writing, you aren't given the entire story at first. Religious zealots and fundamentalists focus on select verses instead of the entire book. Back in my first blog, I talked about the reasons why my former boss is still working there and most of her employees are gone.

If you don't get all the facts, you are more likely to get the wrong idea. I don't focus on only one or two sources of information. I check as many as I can, gather all the common elements, and work outward from there. That's how you get to the truth. If you only focus on one or two sources, or let someone tell you what they think, you will never get the truth.

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