Last night I finally got to see David Beckham play football. Last year the rumour was he picked a fight so he would get suspended and be able to rest up for the MLS Final so the LA Galaxy came but without Beckham.
For me it likely worked out for the best. I am starting to get an understanding of the game and can appreciate a lot more what players are bringing to the table than last year when sometimes it just felt like I was watching a bunch of incredibly fit guys in shorts and tight T-shirts run around getting sweaty (which does have its pleasures even if you don’t understand what all the running is about 🙂
At first I couldn’t figure out why the lines for the ladies’ washrooms were so much longer than usual. It was a sold out stadium thanks to Becks. But then my friend Rodz pointed out that it was likely not that the female soccer fan population had increased substantially in the last week but that a lot of women had come to the game to watch David Beckham run around and get sweaty! At the end, he stripped off his shirt and gave it to someone. Why would you want some dude’s sweaty clothes? Yuck! And he was sporting some strange mustache that made him look creepy, like he might take off more than his shirt if he got you in a dark alley…
But he DID get a goal! And he’s an old guy so you have to give him a few accolades. But it was Barry Robson who impressed. We are being invaded by the Scots – and it is a fortuitous thing. He’s a new addition to the Whitecaps from Scotland. I am getting better at reading the press releases and understanding more about what they mean but I am still no soccer geek who can yell commentary at the field. And I think I won’t start doing that… I always wonder just HOW good the people on the benches would actually DO if they were out there following their own advice.
But I do know a lot about business. And Beckham is a great businessman! The poor guy got booed every time he got the ball. But I am sure he knows every boo puts more money in his pocket 🙂 It’s interesting talking soccer instead of football. In North America where we call it soccer, Beckham is a demi-god. I never hear anyone talk about Beckham in Europe. He got punted for the British Olympic team because other players were better. In Europe everyone talks about Messi.
So, my first Beckham sighting was underwhelming. But the guy is smart! For world class players outside North America, the MLS is the stuff of dreams. Play in a “real” league, make a name for yourself and then when you get too old to really count against the young kids in the big leagues, sign a deal with a North American team in the MLS where you will look awesome. Becks developed the prototype. Apparently he’s not just a pretty boy. It’s too bad “cheap celebrity” runs so rampant through English speaking culture but Beckham actually seems like a good guy – and his rise from regular East London kid to one of the most famous men in the world is the stuff of dreams. But he should be famous for being a great football player, not for taking his shirt off and posing through a heavily Vaselined camera lense.
But that isn’t his fault. He is only capitalizing on the craziness of the culture he inherited. Barry Robson isn’t nearly as pretty. Or famous. So he is going to have to play good football. His first home match with the new team shows that looks promising 🙂
I don’t know enough yet to be able to analyze one player’s impact on the team but the boys were in fine form last night. Last year the Galaxy came just before they took the MLS Cup home and we looked bedraggled. But last night they were on fire! In the first half it looked like an amateur Spanish team trouncing an amateur Italian team in the EU Final. We lost our way in the last 20 minutes or so. But we didn’t lose! And Barry scored an impressive goal. And certainly seemed to make the entire team better and brighter.
So, give us your cast-off European football league players. We can make good use of them – and give their careers a second act. You should all thank David. But, please, don’t create your own fragrance! Just play football… 😉