World Cup Overshadowed by LA’s adicup
It has been said that victory in the World Cup is the highest honor known in football (or soccer to us Americans) and that the victors can lay claim to the title of best in the world. But with team USA’s reprehensible record of only one 3rd place ranking in 17 world cups it’s obvious that we’re the bottom feeders once again in this year’s tournament. So with no one to root on I pretty much lost interest in the 2006 games and, hell, soccer in general.
Perhaps if there were hopes that some underdog could fight their way out of their bracket, make it to the big game, win in penalty kicks and then celebrate by ripping off their shorts and falling to their knees in just jock straps and shin guards I’d be interested but till then my interest was gone. Gone until this weekend brought me back. This past Saturday marked the birth of a new generation of football in LA; the birth of adicup.
Adicup is a soccer tournament to cease all soccer tournaments and the only way I could rekindle my love of the game. Having success with a similar tournament on the East Coast Adidas decided to bring soccer back to LA. 16 teams consisting of 6 co-workers from companies around LA would be eligible to play. Not being one to turn down a challenge I decided to not only compete but to win.
So after a quick search of my company’s employee database I had the starting line up for Team Mullets. In goal would be Katie AKA The Enforcer, a former UCLA goalie who may have been a few years out of practice but she sure as hell wasn’t letting anything past her. On defense would be Tod AKA Sanchez and Reich AKA She Hate Me–they never played in a competitive league but that wasn’t about to stop them. On offense, Jesse AKA Badunkadonk. You can imagine his strengths. Brian AKA Brian was our ringer and only hope of real talent on the field. Rounding off the team was none other than me, Ryder AKA Easy Ryder or Femullet. I hadn’t kicked a soccer ball in ages but I sure as hell wasn’t about to let this ragtag group down.
We went into the tournament with the following mantra, don’t lose, don’t let the other teams see us sweat and don’t turn down the free beer. Now is as good a time as any to mention that one of the many amenities that the tournament held was free Tecate and Bud Light. Seeing as how when we were little our mini van driving moms would force orange slices on us before and after games we decided to go for the Tecate thinking the lime would somehow have similar effects to the orange slices of our pasts.
Another important thing to mention was that our team was named after one of the most revered hairstyles in football of all times, the Mullet. So in honor we decided to rock mullets ourselves. Sanchez was nearly kicked out of his house by his wife for actually cutting his hair into a mullet so the rest of us safely donned wigs for the occasion.
At first glance around the field our competition was as we expected but looking again we saw something we had all feared: Europeans. Son of a $%*!
Can’t a few American’s play some soccer without Europeans coming along and showing us how much better they are at it? Is it so wrong to ask that American’s just get to play with sucky Americans sometimes? Well, now all we could do was hope that our groupings wouldn’t pair us with any of those teams until the finals.
Our first game against The Bagavagabonds started out great but after a cheap goal in the last few minutes of play by our opposition we were left with our first loss of the day and zero points on the board. Not what we had expected. So we decided to energize with a few limes and an ample supply of free Tecate.
Our second game against The STD’s went a little smoother–plenty of trash talking but no goals for or against. We now had a tie under our respected belts and 1 point. Not great but we weren’t going anywhere…except to the player lounge for a few more free beers. This was probably around the time when we realized that we were the only team taking advantage of the free alcohol; a shame really.
Our third, and potentially last game of the day was against a team who will remain nameless. This is because they were so humiliated by us kicking their butts 1-0. That’s right baby, our first win of the day. And that was all we needed to move into 2nd place in our group and the quarterfinals. There we were in true underdog form ready to prove our worth. Soccer never felt so right.
The fourth game of the day for us brought us back up against our nemesis The Bagavagabonds but this time we were ready. With our bellies full of beer and our hearts pumping with pride we ran our little legs off. They scored 2 quick goals but we answered right back with a goal of our own, 2-1 with plenty of time to go. Our mullets blew in the wind like flags waving our team pride. We were intense but they were relentless and they finally finished the game by scoring one last goal to beat us 3-1.
The weight of the loss fell on us all. We had tried our best but there was no victory celebration waiting for us, no reason to flash our jockstraps or sports bras. Like the good sports we are we watching the final matches noting that all 3 international teams took the top 3 places while we took 6th. We clapped for their big prize, muttering obscenities under our breath like the respectful players we were.
We started to pack up reveling on how great the day was even with a loss. We had shown that we did deserve to be on the same field as some of these semi-pro teams. It felt like an accomplishment that would help us get over the next few days of being really, really sore. But just as we were about to leave we heard adidas announce one more awardâ€¦
“And the award for Best Team Spirit goes toâ€¦The Mullets!!”
We HAD won something. The thought of winning free stuff clouded the loss from our heads and we were ecstatic. Damn it feels good to win. Ha suckers you lost and we won. To be a winner again I felt alive. Who was I kidding? There is only winning, losing is ok and all but winning feels tremendous.
I will forever be thankful for adicup for reminding me that there is a place for soccer in America, sure we shouldn’t go out and play other teams around the world because they are a lot better than us but staying at home, where we belong, we are kings of this damn sport.
Till next year, adicupâ€¦