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And Now For Something Completely Different – Soccer X and a half.

[ soccer ] |ˈsäkər| noun, a game in which you actually have to be able to run for at least 90 minutes straight (unlike 'American Football' where they stop 'playing' every 2 minutes) – Urban dictionary definition.

If I believe the scientific grounds of this definition, let me tell you that until 1985 (the year I was born), my dad - Robert Kaladjian - was indeed able to run for a long period of time. He started playing for A.F. Balustres in Marseille in 1977 and for many years, he dreamt of going professional.

I have always wondered why some cities are more prone to live through soccer. In Marseille, a whole identity is built around this sport. Actually, we venerate soccer teams as we would venerate a God. Until the late 90s, my dad belonged to the fervent supporter pack who would travel from city to city to cheer for his favorite team: l’Olympique de Marseille. For years, I have watched soccer games hoping to see him appear on the tube. Needless to say that those hours where fruitless.

But my dad has stopped being a real supporter. In his words “the 70s where the golden years, for soccer. Then came the 90s and the era of business soccer”. He remembers fondly the best World Cup he has ever watched: Mexico 1970.

Former supporters always keep an opinion about soccer. For this World Cup, he was hoping the U.S.A would go further. “At least they played with their hearts. So did teams such as North Korea or even Japan. I have the feeling that others are not aiming at the trophy anymore but more at trying to sell themselves after the World Cup”.

I grew up hearing legendary names such as Boli, Platini or Maradona. No wonder that my dad’s second favorite was Argentina. When prompted to give his reasons, he answered “Contrary to other coached, Maradona always said what he has to say. He has a big mouth and made me laugh”.

Genes must have something to do with one’s taste: I was hoping that Argentina would make it. At least I can rejoice to know that one specific person on the board has enjoyed seeing Germany beat them hollow!


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