Friday, July 04, 2014
Editor's Note: I'm taking tomorrow off from blogging. Happy Independence Day!
1. Eliminated 2-1 in extra time from the World Cup by Belgium, the U.S. Men's National Team did about the same, on paper, as it did four years ago. But many who followed both campaigns, like this fan, saw definite progress. This team was more attack-oriented and always seemed like it had a chance. Furthermore, it emerged from group play by finishing second in the "Group of Death" and had a clear chance, very late in regulation time, to win 1-0 against a talent-laden Belgian side.
My thanks go to coach Juergen Klinsmann (of whom I was highly skeptical at first) for a successful overhaul of the team and to goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose heroics against Belgium won him the rare distinction of being Man of the Match, despite playing for the losing side.
I no longer recall where I read the phrase, but I agree that this year's squad was, "competitive, but not elite" -- the obviously elite goalkeeper excepted.
2. Samuel Chi notes the growing popularity of soccer in the United States, and not just during this World Cup:
Have you seen how much soccer there is on TV?I was surpised, back in Boston, to find English Premier League games on my default cable lineup, and assumed that it was due to a peculiarity of that market, such as, perhaps, a large immigrant population, I have since happily learned otherwise. Indeed, after moving to St. Louis a few years later, I have even more Arsenal games on television and more soccer overall.
Television networks don't just throw good money at sports leagues so they can pay for stuff that people don't watch. They invest in programming that they know will get eyeballs and advertising dollars in return. Soccer isn't a cause for them. It's an investment. [bold added]
This is far better than it was when I was a kid, when an occasional airing of Soccer Made in Germany was just about all we got.
3. The Unclutterer blog was a gold mine for me this week, with tips on:
- cleaning up your inbox with the aid of filtering,
- alternative filing systems (via a post on alphabetical filing), and
- leftover labeling (among other things).
4. Here's a word that made me laugh out loud upon first encountering it at Futility Closet: quakebuttock, meaning "a coward".