Jermain Defoe of Portsmouth FC (left), Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008.
I got started watching soccer when I took my young Irish friend, Anna, out for lunch to a local Irish pub a couple months ago, where the large-screen TV was showing football, as she calls it.
Anna is an R.C. nun; but we've talked more about soccer than religion. While I do not doubt her total commitment to God and all that, her eyes really light up about "the beautiful game." Over fish fry and a Guinness, she explained its history and basics rules (but you don't really need to know anything to enjoy watching a bunch of lightly clad athletes running up and down a field).
Anna is abroad for a year, and this afternoon I am here at the pub (it's wireless!) keeping my promise to watch soccer in her honor and write to her on e-mail. I don't enjoy beer or ale when it's snowing out, as it is, so I am having a martini (vodka, straight up, with a twist), which is more warming.
I had to ask the bartender to change the channel to Fox Soccer--the ESPN channel was all about yesterday's Super Bowl.
For what it's worth, I can tell you Portsmouth is playing Chelsea and it's 0-0 at the beginning of the second half. I am extremely proud of myself because I know Chelsea is the team in the blue uniforms. Portsmouth has bright bug-green uniforms.
[Wrong. I've looked up both clubs up on BBC Sports--after first getting nowhere because I forgot to call them "football" clubs--and in this game, Portsmouth is blue and Chelsea is wearing their away colors. Also, this is yesterday's match I'm watching. It was a draw, 1-1. So much for me as a soccer commentator.]
The only problem with this set-up is that the only place to plug in my laptop is a table from which I can't see the TV. Oh, the terrible choices of modern life... I can't be online AND watch soccer for longer than my battery's remaining 3 hours.