Alas, it is over, I'm sad to say. It's been a beautiful month filled with memorable moments and stories. A few final notes as we say good bye to soccer on the blog for a while:
*I went to my World Cup Finals watching party rooting for, above all else, a competitive, dramatic match. We got that, for the most part, and while I would have preferred for one of the two teams to have gone ahead with a goal in the extra time, I was pleased that the outcome of the match was always in question.
*Was there anything -less- predictable than Zidane being ejected for a head butt? The most veteran of veterans gets rattled with just 10 minutes left in the second over time period? Huh? Stunning... I have no idea what exactly happened out there to provoke Zidane, but I do know that the -last- thing I expected was to see a Zidane red card today.
*I think one of the things that had previously prevented me from being anything more than just a passive observer of soccer was the fact that the hardcore American soccer fans were rather possessive. It's sort of been an elitest intellectualist club that outsiders weren't particularly welcomed into.
Score another victory for blogs. This year, by virtue of the great work from our friends at Dodgy, RBR, Braves and Birds, and (surprise, surprise - is there anything Brian can't write well about?) MGoBlog, I've begun to learn enough to watch the games with a better appreciation for what's happening on the field. I may not reflexively call it a pitch just yet, but I certainly have a better understanding of the game, its players, fans, and traditions. Enough, even, to take a rooting interest in a club team or two. A heartfelt thank you to all the bloggers out there who've contributed to the education of the newbies.
*The next World Cup will be a gathering of nations in South Africa in 2010. Who would have thought that for the next four years, this would be the lasting image of this year's Cup?