Tomorrow officially kicks off World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
However, American sports fans may need a dictionary, a thesaurus and a basic Soccer for Dummies book to not only understand the rules, but also nuances of this beloved global sport.
Known as football throughout the non-American sports universe, soccer boasts its own unique language, eccentric expressions and unparalleled personalities.
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport by a long shot, in spite of its peculiarities and confusing language. For example:
Soccer keeps time in the exact opposite direction of every other sport on the planet.
Soccer matches, not games, are played by men wearing boots rather than cleats atop a pitch instead of a field.
However, this international sport has flourished for generations.
Incredible athletes, iconic coaches and passionate fans cause both the wealthiest and poorest nations of the world to bask in the brilliance of the Beautiful Game.
No other sport flaunts its language with the poetic depictions and eccentric expressions quite like the game of soccer.
Whether it’s a bookable offense for wayward defending, bringing one’s side level in a match or dispossessing the ball from an unexpected midfielder, soccer’s colorful language truly entertains.
I love listening to the liquid gold voice of British broadcaster Ian Darke as he calls a soccer game, I mean, football match on ESPN.
Darke eloquently reports on brilliant services, wonderfully weighted passes, tidy challenges, gentle flicks of the ball, fantastic pace and rapier thrusts through the oppisition’s defense.
Darke’s play-by-play announcing infuses greater life into the already frenetic action on the pitch. He can chronicle a nil nil match which serves as another example of the sport’s unique language. Instead of applauding the goalies for their shut out work in goal, announcers gush over the keepers’ clean sheets.
Sure, you may need an interpreter to follow Darke or a glossary of terms to understand his eccentric and confusing vocabulary.
But, you’ll instinctively know that a goalie’s clean sheet is something to cheer about – if he’s defending your side’s goal.
Just remember that these flowery phrases and poetically depicting expressions add another element to the world’s favorite sport.
And, referencing a goalie’s clean sheet is just one of them.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!