Americans, for the most part, do not care about soccer. Shocking, I know. I’ll let that one sink in for a second before I continue.
You can include me in the huddled masses that don’t care about the globally loved sport, but somehow I felt compelled to watch David Beckham’s debut game in America. After all the hype, the will-he-play-will-he-not drama, and the fact that nothing else is on TV on Saturday night I just had to. It didn’t disappoint, with a broadcast that was more reminiscent of E! than ESPN. In attendance were the likes of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Beckham super-friends Eva Longoria and Katie Holmes (with the ever-adorable Suri in her arms). Of course with Beckham making his debut game as a benchwarmer for the LA Galaxy, we received endless shots of the “Beckham Cam” showing him making his $250 mil. gripping his swollen ankle, chatting with the equipment manager, and standing up in anger when a referee missed a foul. Hopefully he won’t receive a suspension from David Stern for that. [Continue reading…]
Eventually, Beckham made his way onto the field – sorry, pitch – much to the delight of the 27,000 fans in attendance in the final 15 minutes of the game. Really, all that kept me glued to my seat during this match was the anticipation of when he would actually play. There wasn’t much to add to his highlight reel, aside from seeing Steve Sidwell laying a nasty tackle on him and soon-to-be-former team captain Landon Donovan graciously give Beckham a corner kick in the waning moments of stoppage time. Really, you’d have to be reaching to draw anything remotely interesting from the “David Beckham Lovefest” (as Dave O’Brien referred to it at one point).
While discussing this post with a friend of mine, she quipped, “I wish David Beckham would go back to England with his Eurotrash wife!” Beckham was always a polarizing figure, even back in his homeland. The old guard of the game were unhappy to see a modern, metrosexual figure like him become the new figurehead of the sport; think Tom Brady playing for Vince Lombardi’s Packers. English soccer fans were fickle with his inability to produce at times, but came crying back for him later.
However he plays here in America, I think it’s pretty cool that he’s here. In tough times for sports commissioners, with steroids in baseball, the NFL getting little help from Michael Vick in “cleaning up their image,” and recent revelations that the NBA is married to the mob, the arrival of David Beckham is a breath of fresh air. Underneath it all, Beckham is a soft-spoken, intelligent, selfless, and humble; a rarity in todays sports where we deal with babies, jerks and egos. Every sports columnist has made a big deal out of Beckham playing on his bum ankle seeing it as indication that he’s just a wannabe-Hollywood star keeping up with appearances, but I saw it as a class act on his part in giving the fans what they wanted. Welcome to America, Mr. Beckham.
Oh yeah, Chelsea won the game 1-0.
Englandneworder – “World In Motion (No Alla Violenza Mix)”: mp3
(In 1990, New Order released the single “World In Motion“, under the moniker Englandneworder, as the theme song for the English team’s campaign in the 1990 World Cup. It was their only #1 single despite their enduring popularity.)
The Sporting Life with Carman Tse: Real talk. Click below for more.