Tag Archives: World Cup

Dallas Stadium? For real … ?

A mild bit of grumbling can be heard in some North Texas communities over the temporary renaming of AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The place — known colloquially as Jerry World — was named over the weekend as a semifinal site for the 2026 World Cup soccer tournament. The locals had hoped the place would become a site for the finals. But … no dice.

FIFA, the World Cup governing body, doesn’t like to have corporate names on its venues, so it demanded they take down the name of the telecommunications giant. The new name?

Dallas Stadium!

The name has rankled some folks. I tend to agree with their hurt feelings.

The place is 30-some miles from Dallas. It’s closer to Fort Worth than to Big D. I can think of several non-corporate names one could have put on the place other than Dallas Stadium.

North Texas Stadium. D/FW Stadium. Arlington Stadium. They all come to mind. I’d even settle for Cowboys Stadium.

It just ain’t in Dallas. I get that FIFA wanted to have a name associated with the largest city in the region. That would be Dallas, with its towering skyline full of gleaming office buildings. Then again, Fort Worth has its share of cowboy glitz and glamor, too.

I should point out as well that the Dallas Cowboys, the pro football team that calls the place home, hasn’t played in Dallas since the team’s founding in 1960, when they played their home games in the Cotton Bowl. They have since moved to Irving and then to Arlington … where team owner Jerry Jones built the place now known temporarily as Dallas Stadium.

As for the grumblers, well, I’m with ’em.

Feeling pain for Iranian team

Rarely do I ever comment on matters involving soccer, as I am not a fan of the sport. Hey, it’s just me … or maybe it’s an American thing.

Still, I am left with a feeling of empathy and dread for what might await the members of Iran’s national soccer team, which lost to the U.S. team 1-0. The loss eliminated the Iranians from the World Cup.

What now? Well, members of the Iranian team refused to sing their country’s national anthem the other day, drawing scorn from the ayatollahs who run the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian soccer team now must return home.

What will they face? Imprisonment? Or worse, for God’s sake?

The athletes were expressing their support for the demonstrators who are rebelling in Iran against the government’s treatment of women. The only way they believed they could make their feelings known would be to remain silent when they played the Iranian anthem at a World Cup soccer match.

Do you recall when sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 during the playing of our national anthem to protest the plight of Black Americans? The public response in that moment wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, but the government took no action against these men. The sprinters are now considered heroes for the courage they demonstrated at the time.

Not so for the Iranians. The potential reaction from their government is frightening.


Soccer or football? Still a foreign game to Americans

I don’t know when — or even if — soccer will ever catch on in the United States the way it has in much of the rest of the world.

Indeed, the game we call “soccer” is known as “football” in places like Mexico, Brazil and in most of Europe. The Spanish term for “football,” by the way, is “futbol.” Get it?

The World Cup is over. They’re going nuts throughout France, which defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final game. I’m glad for the French. It’s their second World Cup title.

To be candid, I remain decidedly lukewarm toward soccer. It just doesn’t thrill me the way it would, say, my extended family members in Greece, where soccer is a big deal, too.

I’ve been exposed once in my life to World Cup fanatacism. It happened in June 2006.

My wife and I were in Copenhagen, Denmark. We caught up with some friends from Amarillo, Texas, who were in Copenhagen attending the same Rotary International Conference as my wife and me. We were strolling through the city looking for a place to eat.

We would stick our heads into this or that restaurant. They were full. Everyone was watching TV. Oh, what were they viewing? A soccer match between Denmark and (I believe it was) neighboring Germany.

The Danes were screaming their lungs out at every move their national team made on the field, er, pitch. We could hear them from everyone eating establishment up and down the street.

The four of us had difficulty that evening finding a place to eat. We finally did, though.

My point is that I had never witnessed such soccer/football fervor. It consumes Europe, Latin America, as well as portions of Asia and Africa.

I still get worked up over the Super Bowl and the World Series. The World Cup? Not so much. I’m afraid to tell my soccer-loving friends that at this stage of my life, the World Cup isn’t likely to hook me.

Brazilians show class in defeat

Just when I thought the world had spun off its axis and that a great Latin American country had suffered from collective apoplexy over the defeat of its national soccer team, I came across this story on CNN.com.


It turns out the Brazilian soccer fans — stunned beyond their ability to comprehend — cheered the German team that beat their beloved men in the World Cup semifinal match.

The Germans won that game 7-1 in what’s being described as the most astonishing performance in the World Cup … ever! That they beat the host team in that fashion gives extra punch to the Germans now as they get ready to play the winner of The Netherlands-Argentina match for the World Cup championship.

I’ve also been wondering about this passionate love of the sport that seems to transcend anything with which I’m familiar in the U.S. of A. When the Denver Broncos lost the Super Bowl this year to the Seattle Seahawks, did the Mile High City’s fans go into the kind of collective funk that has fallen over Brazil. What happened in Miami when the Heat got blown out by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals? I think folks in South Florida went about their business.

Granted, the U.S. doesn’t have a national soccer team that’s able to compete — at least not yet — on a consistent level with Brazil or Germany.

But the craziness is beyond anything I can quite grasp.

Still, I was heartened to know that despite their grief, the Brazilians had it within them to pay proper tribute to the young men who gave their guys a good, old-fashioned whuppin’.

And yes, the sun rose this morning over Brazil.

U.S. loses to Belgium; back to other sports now

My World Cup fascination is now over, thanks to a 2-1 victory today by Belgium over a valiant U.S. team that found its way to the Round of 16 despite losing previous games.

I’ll need someone to explain that one to me. Later, perhaps.


I’ll go back now to awaiting the start of college football — American-style, the game played by 300-pound behemoths in helmets and pads. I’ll also resume my sporadic interest in Major League Baseball.

Allow me to recall one World Cup memory from a few years ago. I’ve seen such sports fanaticism up close.

During the 2006 World Cup, which was played in Germany, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the country just north of there. We were in Denmark, attending the Rotary International Convention being held in Copenhagen and across the strait in Malmo, Sweden.

Denmark was playing in the World Cup — of course! One evening my wife and I sought a place to have dinner with some Amarillo friends of ours — fellow Rotarians Mike and Vicki Hooten — who also were attending the convention. We walked for many blocks looking for a nice place to eat, have a beverage or two and visit with our friends.

“Hey, this looks pretty good,” one of us said. We stuck our heads in the door. The place was packed with screaming Danes who, as luck would have it, were watching their national soccer team playing a World Cup match with, um, some other team.

Pandemonium ruled the place. As it did in the next place we visited. And the one after that, and after that one.

Cheers rang out through the streets of Copenhagen that evening as we walked through the city on the hunt for somewhere to have a meal. We finally settled on an outdoor place, an Italian eatery if memory serves.

We had a good time visiting with our friends. All the while we heard cheers ringing throughout the neighborhood as Danes cheered their team’s every move toward the other guys’ goal.

I have no clue who won that game. Nor do I have any interest in knowing.

Yes, it’s an international game. Most of the rest of the world is mad about this sport.

More power to them. I’m getting ready for college football to kick off.

Take politics out of … the World Cup

It’s astounding how pervasive politics is these days.

It enters every possible discussion on every possible topic. Take soccer, or as they call it in Latin America and Spain, “futbol.”

Now it seems, according to one blogger at least, that conservatives have a problem with soccer more so than liberals or moderates. They call it boring, I guess because there’s usually so little scoring associated with it.


Radio talk-show gasbag Ann Coulter said something the other day about Americans’ infatuation with the World Cup is a sign of “moral decay.” Huh?

By my way of thinking, a surer sign of moral decay is taking seriously the idiotic pronouncements of Ann Coulter.

But I digress.

I’m not a soccer fan — as in fanatic, from which the word “fan” is derived. I’ve watched some of the matches from Brazil. I enjoyed watching the team from Greece — the home of my ancestors — beat Ivory Coast in a thriller and move to the round of 16. I’ve gotten a kick out of the fans’ reaction when Brazil scores a go–o-o-o-a-a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l-l!

And of course I’m enjoying how our American team finds ways to win while losing and advancing into that round of 16 “knockout” phase of the World Cup.

Is all of this a sign of moral decay? Does it matter what conservative talking heads think about soccer, or the World Cup? Not in the least.

When it ends, I’ll return to watching American-style college football and baseball.

That is, of course, unless the “U.S.A!” wins the World Cup.