The Art of Sports: World Cup Mania


 

Porftugal's Ronaldo.

Portugal’s Ronaldo.

World Cup mania is here

By Mark Lewis

The World Cup, soccer’s grandest show, begins this week in Brazil.

And there are some burning questions that need to be asked.

Will the favorite’s role be too heavy of a burden for Brazil?

Ghana’s most famous witch doctor says he’s responsible for Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s knee injury. Really? Oddly enough, Ghana and Portugal are in the same group and meet June 26.

Rachel Riley, an English math whiz who solves problems on the telly for a show called “Countdown,” says the figures point to an upset win for Chile.  Can we call her the Nate Silver of soccer?

Landon Donovan, who is arguably the best soccer player produced by the United States, was left off the World Cup team by coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Even the casual fan is aware of this name. But, according to Allison McCann of FiveThirtyEight, the oft-injured Donovan’s skills have deteriorated and the only negative might be reduced TV ratings in the U.S.

Sounds like an interesting event, right?  But except for the hardcore soccer fan, does anybody in the United States care?

Soccer is a great game for kids but the sport has an up-and-down history as a professional endeavor in this country.

I am not a huge fan, probably because I don’t understand the intricacies of the game. 

Don’t worry, people wonder about me when the Olympics come around.  Track and field (or “athletics” as the Olympics call them) thrills me like no other sport. Others don’t share my enthusiasm, pointing to doping scandals and the like.  But the stopwatch and the tape measure never lie. That’s the beauty.

The World Cup won’t be on my radar.  But I will be all about Brazil in 2016 when the Olympics settle in Rio de Janeiro.