Friday, July 3, 2009

USA—Unfortunately Serbia’s Awful

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Serbian soccer team. I do, however, know a lot about being an antagonist and arguing about things in which I’m grossly misinformed. Because of this, it’s much more fun for me to just assume that Serbia’s soccer team is bad. Chances are, nothing is further from the truth. And yes, I am arguing that USA is better than Serbia because we beat Spain. Nevermind the logic, just go with it. Anyway, I apologize for being an idiot. At this point, you should probably be used to it.

Whew. The NBA definitely dodged a bullet. When they kicked me out of the draft, I was understandably bitter about it, but now that the draft was held last Thursday (which also happened to be my birthday), it completely makes sense. You see, the NBA is a first-class organization that has an image to uphold. Sure some of their players have target practice with their handguns in strip club parking lots. And sure some of their players possess so much marijuana, a third-world country could base it’s economy on their stash. But those guys are veterans and have established themselves as good people who happened to make a minor error in judgment. Guys like me are a totally different story. The NBA can’t afford to have someone come into the league who, from the beginning, has no idea how to properly conduct himself. It’s just wouldn’t be a smart move on their part.

In reality, the NBA draft was overshadowed by the passing of a cultural icon on the very same day. Some would argue that a death like this is nothing more than a reminder that celebrities are people too, proving that their lives are just as fragile as the lives of us normal people. While that may be true, of the people that have recently died, few have affected the lives of adolescent boys more than the celebrity passing on Thursday. I’m talking, of course, about Farrah Fawcett and the unfortunate end to her battle with cancer.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m old enough to remember Farrah Fawcett in the prime of her career, but I do know that I am definitely old enough to understand why she had the most successful pin-up poster of all time. She singlehandedly forced parents to have “the talk” a few years earlier than they planned to, all because their sons watched a couple episodes of Charlie’s Angels. She may not have directly affected my adolescence, but I have an idea of how upset I’d be if Kelly Kapowski died, which is why I sympathize with all the middle aged men out there whose only life goal when they were 13 was to keep their parents from finding their pictures of Farrah. Farrah, you will be missed for two perfectly symmetrical reasons.

Oh and by the way, Michael Jackson also died.

While there certainly was sorrow and heartache for me on my birthday, there was also something to be excited about. That’s because the best gift I got for my birthday this year actually came a day early when the United States soccer team beat #1 ranked Spain in the Confederations Cup. I have been following the U.S. soccer team for quite some time and to see them beat Spain after getting dominated by Costa Rica some few weeks back brought a tear to this Yank’s eye. For a brief moment in time soccer was more relevant to Americans than what hair products that dreamy guy from Twilight uses, even though it still wasn’t quite as big of a deal as Nick Jonas’ quest to look like the most coy person on the face of the earth every time a camera is pointed at him. The relevance of American soccer wasn’t what excited me, though. The opportunity to talk trash to one of my teammates was.

For those of you who don’t know, America and soccer have an almost identical relationship as you had your freshman year of high school with that babe that was a senior. Even though you would take a big whiff every time she walked by because you thought she “smelled pretty”, she didn’t even know you existed until you wore a leather jacket to school and punched Captain Quarterback in the groin for calling you a “pansy.” In other words, much like you had to stand up to a bully for Hotty McTotty to notice you, our national soccer team had to stand up to a bully for America to notice the sport as a whole. Before the monumental upset of Spain, though, nobody really paid all that much of attention to soccer, meaning I had to turn to a European teammate if I wanted to discuss the great game of futbol.

A typical conversation between Nikola Kecman, a Serbian teammate of mine, and myself usually begins with me asking him “if he saw the game yesterday” and ends with me running around the gym screaming “GOOOOOAAAALLL” as a way to rub it in his face that my team is better than his. And make no mistake about it, my team is definitely better than his. For whatever reason Nikola (by the way, whenever I want to get his attention I say his name like they say their product name in the legendary Ricola commercial) truly believes that the Serbian soccer team is leaps and bounds better than the American team. I completely disagree, which is unfortunate for him considering I’m always right (something my first wife could never quite figure out).

Nikola argues that because Serbians regularly play better competition, have more national pride for the sport, and kind of sound like Borat when they speak English, they are clearly the better team. His biggest mistake is failing to ever bring up the fact that Serbians can grow thicker facial hair than Americans can grow regular hair (and that’s just their women!). Nonetheless, soccer matters much more in Serbia than it does in America (evident by the fact that most of you are bored with this particular subject matter), which is why Serbia gets the slight edge in his mind.

What Nikola failed to realize from the onset is that of the twelve things in this world that I love, my country and arguing with people are two of them. I did hours of research on the topic at hand and discovered that not only is USA ranked higher than Serbia in the current FIFA rankings, but we have also been more successful in the World Cup than them. Most of Serbia’s success in the World Cup actually came through the work of the Yugoslavian national team. When Yugoslavia dissolved, Serbia inherited the success (or lack thereof) of the Yugoslavian team, which is bogus because USA used to be known as British America but you don’t see us claiming the 1726 World Cup championship won by the colonists as our own. In actuality, Serbia has only been to two World Cups, but even then they needed the help of Montenegro. Like that’s fair. Since Serbia & Montenegro can apparently form a coalition, I’m thinking we should talk to our buddies south of the equator and enter the 2010 World Cup as “USA & Brazil.” Now that’s a USA team every American could support.

Nikola’s most passionate argument is that soccer actually means something to the Serbians, which makes their fans crazier and in turn makes their team better. Using this logic, Megan Fox would be dating a 16-year-old Optimus Prime fan from Waterloo, Iowa, whose shrine to her is Helga-esque, all because he wants to be with her just a little bit more than anyone else. The real reason soccer matters to Serbians more than Americans is because (all you Serbians reading this, please forgive me) it’s really all they got. Nikola can’t stand it that soccer is 241st on the list of sports we are best at, yet we are still better than Serbia, who puts soccer 1st on the list of sports they are good at. When I think of American athletes, the first ten thousand people that come to mind aren’t soccer players. When I think of Serbian athletes, the first person to come to mind is, well, Toni Kukoc, who actually isn’t even Serbian at all (he’s Croatian). Basically Serbia is sorely lacking in the Quality Athlete Department, forcing them to turn to soccer as their great athletic hope. My point is that Nikola pretends that Serbia is better because he needs them to be better. If USA is better than Serbia at soccer, that means the only thing left in which they are superior to us is playing the role of a James Bond villain.

And growing facial hair.

With the Fourth of July approaching this weekend, I think this is a perfect time for Americans to step back and reflect on everything this great country has to offer. Everything from our fantastic music to our above average sports to Wendy Peffercorn makes this country the greatest in the world. Sure we’ve had some bumps along the way (bad economy, corrupt/immoral politicians, Evan “The Villain” Turner) but for every one of the hiccups, there’s always a beacon of hope like the U.S. soccer team pulling off a miracle. So this Saturday when you’re grilling out and listening to Aaron Tippin sing about the backbone of America, don’t be afraid to call your foreign friends and invite them over for the celebration. Chances are the only thing they having going for them is the success of their soccer team, which is why you should have them over and try to cheer them up with a well-grilled Johnsonville. Especially if they are Serbian. Lord knows they could use the pick-me-up.

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I would like to make it known to the Trillion Man March that the Club Trillion Voicemail has officially been set up. The purpose of the voicemail is for you, the reader, to call me, the writer, and say whatever your heart desires. So far there have been close to 100 calls and about 30 voicemails, ranging from drunk dials to not quite as drunk dials to my mom telling me to make sure I go to all my classes. Keller and I are figuring out how to save the voicemails as audio files and if we figure it out, we will be sure to post the best ones at the end of each blog. Until then, feel free to flood the Club Trillion Voicemail by calling 317-286-2385. I know that you think I just gave you The Villain’s number, but I swear that really is a number to a Skype account we created. If you don’t believe me call it and listen to my mumbling voice give you a voicemail greeting. Ready, go.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: R. Huff, for the third entry in a row (streak of 16 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: B. Truslow, for the sixth entry in a row (streak of 15 losses). It’s just getting sad now, Truslow.

I bypassed the fan submissions for the awesome YouTube to pay tribute to Michael Jackson. Deal with it.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder