It’s a Beautiful Day for a Stomach Ache

ussoccerstore_1895_12437467.jpgDue to poor planning on my part, I’ll be working today as the United States takes on the Czech Republic in World Cup Action. Of course the DVR and computer are set to record the match, but it still won’t be the same as watching live, and I’m sure I’ll know the outcome of the match before I get off work.

Hello? What was I thinking? According to this commercial, it’s a beautiful day for a stomach ache, and as tempting as that may be, I’ll try to resist. Pray for me, please.

According to “the experts,” (the same ones that say that soccer is almost as good as…”you know”), the United States will be lucky to stay on the pitch with such Czech stars as Pavel Nedved, Jan Koller and Milan Baros. That trio may not have quite the name recognition as Derek Jeter, Shaq and Peyton Manning do here at home, but I guarantee you that the Average Jan in Prague sipping his espresso at the corner coffee house and the kid on the street corner in Sao Paulo kicking a ball made of old, knotted-up dirty socks know exactly who they are.

Of course, the experts were wrong about the United States and Columbia in 1994 and again in 2002, when the US side shocked European power Portugal in opening round play. Still, many feel that our Number 5 world ranking is inflated and that we will struggle mightily against the Czechs who are currently #2 in the world. For the US, they have never won a World Cup match on European soil, so to do so would be a major step toward gaining respect on the world stage.

As it is, even though we are considered dangerous and taken more seriously these days, ultimately we are still regarded as a lightweight wannabe the world over. Our difficult draw with the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana in group play lends further credence to the notion that the soccer powers-that-be would prefer that we make an early exit and get lost so that the big boys can get on with business.

Our “Rodney Dangerfield” image notwithstanding, we do have several strengths going for us–namely, athleticism, intelligence, a large can of good ol’ Yankee “Can Do” spirit and a manager, Bruce Arena, who knows how to take the hand dealt him and play it for all it’s worth. Bottom line, we probably won’t win the World Cup, and we may not even emerge from this year’s killer Group E, but we are dangerous and on any given day, we can beat anybody in the world.

So here’s to our lads in red, white and blue–may you play well and hard and leave nothing on the pitch. Pardon me now, if you will, I think my stomach is starting to feel a little funny.


USA 0 Czech Republic 3. It was ugly–Saturday morning recreation league vs. tall, strong, skilled real men. More tomorrow.

  1. DAVID u



  2. JRB


  3. Mike the Eyeguy


    I’m guessing you’ve been a missionary in Ghana. If so, I forgive you your enthusiasm. 🙂


    My sentiments exactly.

  4. Nancy

    You could pretend to have scarlet fever — sounds very glamorous, and you do “know” someone who’s been infected.

  5. Ed

    Ouch – If the stomach wasn’t hurting earlier, bet it is now

  6. Mike the Eyeguy


    I was actually able to run home at lunch and catch the second half, although it was hardly worth the trouble. Certainly not worth faking a stomach ache or scarlet fever (I hope you and your crew feel better soon, BTW).


    Pass the Pepcid-AC, please.

  7. Brady

    We watched the match (18:00 our time). The commentators were really talking the USA up, then the match started. We were very disappointed. The Czechs were too strong, and too big.

    I did enjoy the Ghana-Italy game. The USA is in a tough draw, for sure.

    Root for the Swiss on Tuesday!

  8. Mike the Eyeguy


    Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been by your place a few times via Bill Gnade and have always enjoyed reading about your Swiss adventures.

    Oh, to be in Europe during World Cup! I have a friend who coaches here who is spending this month in Italy. He told me that his goal was to be in an Italian pub this weekend when the US plays Italy just so he can experience true passion for the game. If we play like we did yesterday, I’m afraid he’s going to be totally humiliated. I hope he has the good sense not to wear a flag or paint his face red, white and blue.

    Don’t worry, I’ll most definitely be rooting for Switzerland v. Les Bleus today. Go Nati!

    By the way, I noticed that you mentioned that the Harding University chorus had sang where you live. Harding is my alma mater–small world. Say what you want about us Church of Christ folks, but we can flat out sing! I’m glad that you enjoyed them and were blessed by them.

  9. Brady

    Thanks for cheering for the underdog Swiss. Although I missed the game, son 2 said we did well, though he thought a hand in the penalty box deserved a penalty. But we count our blessings.

    With South Korea taking 3 points yesterday, the European teams in our group are in trouble. Especially if they can’t find the net.

    Loved Harding’s Chorus. The folks here were enchanted. Our local singing was even better because of it.

    BTW, good review of the USA game. Can’t believe those guys would be blaming each other…

  10. Mike the Eyeguy


    I saw the second half of the France-Switzerland game and no doubt, the Nati carried the field and generally befuddled the Frenchies. They had several chances that they didn’t finish though–Gotta stick one of those in the net! Yes, the Koreans find a way to score every time it seems, and I wouldn’t be surprise to find them going deep again this time around.

    The only thing worse than the US performance on the field was the implosion in the locker room afterwards. We really showed our backside to the world in many ways that day. I’m hoping we can salvage some respect against Italy, but I’m not optimistic.

    My sons are 17, 15 and 13yo. How old are yours?

  11. Brady

    Hi Mike:

    Son 1 is 20 this year and is finishing a year in Marseilles before coming back to Lausanne for University. Son 2 will be 18 in a month and has another year before College Studies. Daughter is 16 with 2 more years of high school to go.

    The boys love European Handball, a team sport (even Olympic) that has noting to do with hitting a ball against a wall. Daughter plays Badminton. No football (soccer) players in the bunch.

    Enjoy the road trip. Should be pretty country.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy


    Yes, I’ve seen team handball played, it looks like a blast. Soccer players or not, I bet everyone in your house is glued to the TV watching the action from Germany.

    The trip was great. It was pretty country in western NC, but it took forever to go that last 50 miles into Boone over winding mountain roads following farmers in their pickup trucks doing 25 miles per hour.

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