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Sports Today: The World Cup is back. Time to give soccer another chance?

The World Cup is all set to begin today, and I’m not afraid to tell you I’m more interested in it than ever. 

That’s isn’t saying much, though, because I’ve never really been interested in the World Cup before. 

(If you’re one of those soccer zealots who doesn’t understand why everyone hasn’t embraced the sport yet and looks upon the rest of us with disdain, you might want to go ahead and stop reading. If you like fun and can take a joke, keep reading.) 

But hey another four years has passed since the last World Cup (a.k.a. The Olympics, But Soccer, or TOBS for short) so I figured I might as well give it a shot. 

The games will be on all day for the next few weeks, and what else is really on anyway?

Although I’ve never gotten into American football’s less-evolved relative, I know it’s a big deal to a lot of people around the world. 

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I can certainly respect that different folks like different stuff, and there’s no denying the game now generates a much more consistent buzz than it did 10 years ago. 

If I can’t completely ignore it, I might as well give it another try, right? 

As for interest in soccer in general, I get it to a certain extent even though it doesn’t speak to me. 

There do seem to be a lot of fun and interesting things that happen between teams and their fans throughout the world no matter the year. 

(So kind of like NASCAR, but international and hands-free. Hmmm... should NASCAR go hands-free? Hold on, saving that for another column…) 

Relegation and promotion are intriguing. 

Regional/continental competitions and crossovers between leagues seem fun. 

As with every sport, there are colorful characters, historic rivalries and people who are just there to get drunk, so I have to respect that. 

  

But eventually the actual games have to be played, and that’s usually where they lose me. 

I might just be unsophisticated, but I find the fake injuries and the general lack of action for 15 or 20 minutes at a time to be a turnoff. 

If you can appreciate the nuance, I’m happy for you. 

I’d rather break down blocking schemes, but there will be plenty of time for that in July and August before the pads start cracking on football fields across the country. 

Between now and then, will this be the year soccer clicks for me? 

Stranger things have happened! 

Maybe I’ll get hooked. Maybe I’ll be momentarily amused from time to time. Maybe I’ll have to make an extra pot of coffee by 11 a.m. 

Who knows? 

That’s the fun of it! 

Time will tell... 

So to everyone — soccer lovers, likers and well-wishers alike — I hope you enjoy the games and I ask that you be nice to those who don’t (you know, as long as they aren’t jerks about it). 

What else do you really have going on, anyway? 

As things get up and running, I am open to any guidance you might want to offer. 

Who should I root for? Which games are can’t miss? What else do I need to know? Are there any fullbacks who could play fullback in the American version? You know, stuff like that.  

I’m taking suggestions at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com

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