Being in the sports journalism field, people often want to discuss their favorite teams, recent trades, latest NFL domestic-abuse cases, etc.
When it comes to sports, it seems everyone’s got an opinion — and they’re usually more than happy to share it with you.
Once or twice a month, I get together with an old buddy of mine to pound a few beers and talk about the latest happenings in the sporting world.
My friend, who will remain nameless for reasons that should soon be obvious, is never afraid to tell you how he really feels about an issue — often in his own inimitable style.
What he is afraid of is having his name linked to his thoughts in print, since he works for a major sports publication and is bound — in theory, at least — by the confines of good taste.
I, however, have no such restrictions, as regular readers of this publication are no doubt aware by now.
The last time we met, I brought my tape recorder along to one of our soirees. Following are some of his thoughts on subjects ranging from soccer’s World Cup to Japanese baseball. The rantings of a liquored-up lunatic or insightful sports commentary; you be the judge.
— “It’s a shame the Brits and the Germans and all their hooligan fans didn’t end up in South Korea instead of Japan for the first round of the World Cup. Unlike the Japanese, the South Koreans would jump at the chance for a good punch-up.”
— “I can’t wait until the World Cup is over and soccer goes back to being what it has always been in Japan — a minor annoyance.”
— “Somebody should tell Japan national coach Philippe Troussier to lighten up. When’s the last time you saw the guy crack a smile? It’s only a game. And how much pressure could the guy be under? Japan can’t do any worse than last time and he’s already said he won’t be back as Japan’s coach.”
— “I’ve figured it out. Writing about soccer is the art of writing about nothing, kind of a Zen thing I guess. For example, from the BBC Web site: ‘Lester’s clever reverse pass after 66 minutes played Brennan through on goal. But the 24-year-old shot across Bennett’s goal and wide when he should have hit the target.’ Almost 30 words on a missed shot!! As they say in soccer, brilliant!”
— “And that’s another thing, how do you miss a target the size of a small barn?”
— “There are a lot of overpaid athletes out there these days, but in my book midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata takes the cake. The guy cost $26 million and all he does is literally sit on his arse, as they say in England. He’s done squat all season for Parma then feels a slight twinge in his thigh and is given 15 days off. He’s got it better than a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official. But then again, he’s no different from most soccer players, is he?”
— “When those horny Germans come to town, somebody better take down all those posters of schoolgirls in their mini skirts and white socks. Talk about asking for trouble.”
— “I’ll tell you how I’d deal with the hooligans. Round them all up and force them to watch 30 uninterrupted hours of J. League soccer. Bore them to death. It’d be like a mass lobotomy. Either that or call in some trigger-happy Marines and have them shot.”
— “The people who run the World Cup organizing committee in Japan are playing it for laughs. Brazil’s got Pele, England has Sir Bobby Charlton, so who do you think the Japanese choose to be their World Cup ambassador? — Norika Fujiwara. Now, I have nothing against old Norika-chan and wouldn’t mind getting together with her to ‘slot one home,’ but you could probably place all she knows about soccer and the World Cup on the head of a pin.”
— “Japanese baseball is really getting bad. All the best players are heading to the majors and the game is run by a bunch of brain-dead old fogies who don’t know what they’re doing. The only positive development is that that dimwit (Tatsunori) Hara will be the Giants manager next year. With Hara in control, the Giants will be even worse than before.”
— “Don’t get me started on the Winter Olympics. Here in Japan, the only thing we’re going to get to see on TV is ski jumping and speedskating. The only event really worth watching will be men’s ice hockey. Ski jumping? Who can relate to that? When you were a kid, did any of your buddies ever come over and say, ‘Hey, wanna head over to the K-90 hill for a little fun and excitement.’ You have to be some sort of social outcast to get into ski jumping.”
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