Messi and Teammates Celebrating After World Cup Victory
I woke up too late on Sunday morning to watch all of the Argentina-France World Cup Final. But I did see the second half, followed by the two overtime periods and the penalty kicks. And that hour and a half or so was the most exciting sports event I ever saw on television.
Now that pretty much everyone has weighed in on the game and Lionel Messi’s triumph and Kylian Mbappé’s stoic loss, I thought I would say a few words about the act of watching sports event. I am uniquely qualified inasmuch as I rarely watch sports events and have no clearcut team identification in any sport. Moreover, when I was growing up, my father would get so teed off when one of the Cleveland teams lost—and in those years they lost with amazing frequency—that I would have to go into hiding to avoid the paternal wrath.
It is only recently that I have come to love watching two types of sports events which, coincidentally, occur at four-year intervals. I am referring to World Cup Football (men and women) and the Summer Olympics. (The Winter Olympics—Meh!.) I have little interest in baseball, which typically involves a few minutes (if any) of intense action stretched out over several hours. American football, to me, is characterized by lots of starts and stops, followed after the so-called two-minute warning, by another hour or so of play.
Basketball has a lot of action, but there’s a lot of starts and stops there, too, as if the sport were devised with advertisers in mind. As for hockey, I find it too hard to follow the puck across the ice. All I see is the mayhem.
Only soccer football has continuous action, except for times when a player is injured or pretends to be injured. The final on Sunday built up to a pitch of excitement such that I have never experienced with any other sport. There was so much skill spread among so many players that it was a pity that someone had to lose. I would have been equally happy for either France or Argentina to win the game.
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