Your Guide to the World Cup

It’s World Cup time, and all across America, various Americans are showing their support for their favorite “football” team by wearing NFL-licensed gear to NASCAR races.

It seems like only yesterday that whoever won the World Cup the last time around was celebrating. The 2014 World Cup is a historic occasion because it is the first time the Cup has been held in a year in which the four digits would make a five-card straight if you drew a three.  That should generate interest among poker fans!

1938 World Cup Final: Final score, 4-2. Weird, isn’t it?


Here’s a handy dishwasher-safe guide to enhance your enjoyment of World Cup 2014, in case your exposure to soccer ended when your 20-year-old child played Kinder Kick:

Q: Why don’t they just pick up the damn ball?

A: Good question. The rules of soccer, which the rest of the world calls “football,” perversely require players to use their feet rather than their hands, unless their name is “Diego Maradona.”

Diego Maradona: “That’s the Hand of God, not mine.”


In “American-style” football, the only person who touches the ball with his foot is usually some guy from a foreign country who grew up playing soccer.


Q: I’ve checked the schedule, and there is no team from Antarctica. How can they call it the “World Cup” when they leave off a whole continent?

A: Unfortunately, residents of Anarctica rarely travel to World Cup games, and tend to spend less than fans from Cameroon on souvenir hats and rear-view-mirror national flags that are a dead giveaway to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

On the other hand, America has a “World Series” that seems to be held every four years in New York, so go figure.


Q: I heard an announcer say the final score of a game the other day was “one nil.” What’s a “nil,” and what did the other team score?

A: “Nil” means “nothing” in soccer speak, so the score of the game you watched was one (1 + 0 = 1). “Being and Nothingness” is a work by Jean-Paul Sartre, who coached the French team to victory in the 1942 Michelin Cup Escargot race.

“Why even bother talking to you when you keep looking up at the score?”


Q: You mentioned Cameroon. Yesterday we were served Macaroons for desert. What’s the difference?

A: Macaroons are natives of Macaron, which was disqualified from World Cup play for installing “cookies” on the computers of FIFA, Simone de Beauvoir’s miniature poodle.

Vintage poster of Bibendum, the Michelin Man


Q: If the World Cup is about football, why don’t the players wear helmets?

A: Why don’t you wear a helmet all day and see how you like it.

Kansas City Wiz dance team bares their midriffs.


Q: I understand Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer changed its name from the Kansas City Wiz because “wiz” is a euphemism for “urinate” in some areas of the country.

A: Correct. In the south and the northeast, a lady says “I have to wiz” rather than “I have to pluck my eyebrows” when she needs to excuse herself to relieve bladder pressure.

Q: I’ve read that the Brazilian “paradinha” has been banned for the World Cup. Can you tell me what that word means?

A: In Portugese, “paradinha” means “the penalty kick of love,” and refers to a Latin dance similar to the tango, the salsa and the bachata. The male and the female clasp each other tightly, the man breaks away when he espies a more attractive dancing partner, and the woman hesitates briefly before kicking him in the derriera for fear that she will ruin her espadrillas.

With Ultimate Sacrifice, Dad Sends Daughter’s Soccer Team to Disney World

DALLAS, Texas.  When she was younger, 14 year-old Indira Singh was content to spend sunny afternoons indoors reading in the comfort of her parents’ air-conditioned home.  Then she saw the movie “Bend It Like Beckham,” about an Indian girl who falls in love with the game of soccer over the objections of her parents.

“It totally changed my life,” she says.  She began to play on Dallas-area youth teams, unhindered by parental interference that created the film’s dramatic tension.  “We want her to be with her friends, and have a normal American childhood,” says her father, Sareesh Singh.  “Except for the Hannah Montana booshwah.”

Indira’s ultimate destination is indeed a long way from Dallas.  Her team finished first in their Metro U-15 league and are on their way to a national tournament at Disney World–if they can come up with approximately $25,000 to cover airfare, hotels and meals for the girls while they stay at the Orlando, Florida resort.

At present, her team is nowhere near meeting that goal.  “We’re finding there’s a lot of ‘giving fatigue’ out there,” says Cindi Stephens, mother of Indira’s best friend Courtney.  “You know, an earthquake here, a tsunami there–people get tired of charities asking for handouts and just say ‘no’.”

So after the girls tried bake sales, car washes and other standard teen fund-raising techniques without much success, Sareesh Singh came up with an idea.  He will auction off the right to crush him beneath the Juggernaut, the manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu as Krishna.

The ceremonial rath of Lord Jagannath which was flagged off by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Ludhiana on Saturday

“I think if you offer people in the Dallas area something different from a raffle or a walk-a-thon perhaps we will have better luck,” says Singh, a wiry 52 year-old who works at Dell Computers.

The Juggernaut shrine is traditionally placed on a moving platform called a “ratha” which is pulled by hand as part of a Hindu festival.  The rathas are so large that over 4,000 men are required to move them, and it is considered an act of piety to throw one’s self beneath their wheels.  Because the Hindi population of Dallas is small, the winning bidder will be permitted to power the ratha with an SUV.

“If you don’t want your car washed, we’ve got something better!”

Mr. Singh, like many Hindus, believes his sacrifice will guarantee him a place in heaven.  “I am sure that this sacrifice will bring me my eternal reward,” he says.  “If not, I will remind Vishnu that I did it for my little girl’s soccer team.”

Singh is right about one thing; the unusual nature of his donation is drawing interest that extends beyond the immediate circle of the girls’ parents and relatives.  Joe Don Mooney, a successful Dallas-area real estate broker, says he will open with a bid of $15,000 for the right to push the ratha with his Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, and is prepared to go higher.

“It sounds like a fun thing to do and it’s for a good cause,” Mooney says, “plus its tremendous publicity.  If I win, I’m gonna put ‘Joe Don Mooney Real Estate’ right on the front of that big ratha, just like a NASCAR driver with a ‘Home Depot’  decal on his hood.”