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Loser!

Some games, I suppose, I just wasn't meant to enjoy. For the bulk of the past month I have been gorging on the beautiful, bountiful orgy of international football -- I'm sorry, soccer — that is the World Cup. There are many Americans who may find this habit curious; to them I say, "Fuck off. Tell it to Jim Rome, because this is a beautiful game." But while the rest of the world is able to enjoy this feast as it airs live, and thus dine on their football when it is piping hot, the time differential between Denver and Germany, host of the World Cup, is such that the games take place while I'm here in the confines of the Westword office, dutifully churning out sumptuous copy. And so I must devour my meal cold. Every day, without fail, I record the games, avoid the scores on-line and then watch the games later that night, surrounded by friendly football-philes in similar situations. I even purchased TiVo for this exact purpose, though the wealth of on-demand pornography options are certainly appreciated.

Today, the day of Italy's Round-of-Sixteen match against the Socceroos of Australia — a fearless little squad that has captured my heart — I got to the office early, so early that by 11 a.m. I was in dire need of coffee. I headed to the nearest caffeine peddler, happy about my jump-start on the day, dreaming of great football on the horizon. Then suddenly, a man burst out of the Italian restaurant next door. He had an Italian flag draped around his neck, his faced was painted in the red, white and green of the tricolore flag, and he was blasting an air-horn — an air-horn!

"Italia, Italia, Italia!" the man screamed betwixt blasts.

Being the fan that I am, I knew the game had started at 9 a.m., our time — and this could only mean an Italian victory over my beloved Socceroos. Charging out into the street, overcome with World Cup fever, this man had never once thought about the effect his behavior might have on people like me. He had expected to encounter the typical American street scene during the World Cup: a throng of commuters utterly oblivious to the goings on of international soccer. Instead, he encountered me, el hombre soccer fanatico, and effectively ruined the game. Had I a knife on me, I would have stabbed him in his fat, job-less, fascist, Italian guts. But as I had no such weapon, I suffered my defeat with surprising grace, purchased my coffee and headed back to the office.

Tomorrow is the highly anticipated match-up between France and Spain, a country where I lived for over a year. And so help me God, if some fucking Frog or uppity Spaniard bolts out of a restaurant belching the score through an air-horn, I can promise you this: There will be casualties. — Adam Cayton-Holland


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