What the 2010 World Cup Draw Means To Me
On Twitter last night, I asked readers last night two questions: One, were they excited about Friday’s World Cup Draw and two, was this the first one they were going to experience?
The answer to the first question was an enthusiastic yes. People are extremely excited. And the answer to the second question was mixed. For some soccer fans, especially those who fell in love with the sport because of the 2006 World Cup, this was going to be their first draw. For other soccer fans, who were veterans, this was just another one. They were still excited though.
For me, the World Cup draw is an incredibly special day. It’s like waking up on Christmas morning and seeing several presents under the tree for you. It’s a day when men become children. It’s an event that conjures up so many wonderful memories.
In previous years, I have been known to take the day off work just to be able to see the draw on television. However, the World Cup draw hasn’t always been televised live on US television. I can’t remember the history, but I vividly remember being upset on a few occasions in the past when no US broadcaster thought it important enough to show live. I may be incorrect in saying this, but tomorrow’s World Cup Draw by ESPN is the first time that a US broadcaster has devoted as much time to the draw ever. The program begins at Noon and ends at 3pm ET. Three hours of glorious programming.
That said, the three hours will certainly become an opportunity for ESPN, FIFA and the World Cup sponsors to create a ton of hype for the tournament and their organizations or companies. Don’t be surprised if you scream at the TV set “get on with it” a few times during the television broadcast.
By the time they get to the actual draw itself, the suspense will be unbearable. It’ll feel like a mixture of the Academy Awards (where they tease you before opening the envelope to announce the winner) and the FA Cup draw, where they pull the balls out of the machine to announce whether your favorite team will be playing Manchester United or, as is often the case, more likely to be Rochdale.
After the draw is completed, expect all hell to break loose around the world. Friends will be texting each other. Bloggers will be frothing at the mouth as they write about how their nation is doomed or has an easy group. Soccer fans will be happy with glee and posting all over the blog comments and message boards.
The one thing I don’t like about the World Cup draw is the aftermath. Specifically the seven months of pundits and soccer fans pontificating how their country will do in the World Cup. Arguing about which is the group of death, which group is easy, how the United States will get knocked out of the first round, how Brazil will win the World Cup, how the English press will say England will win and so on.
To me, I’d rather there may a ban on all discussion until the World Cup actually kicks off and the players on the field do the talking. Of course this would never happen and the next seven months are part of the hype and appeal of the World Cup. And the debate will definitely get non-soccer fans interested in finding out what this big deal that we call the World Cup is all about. For that, I’m thankful.