1) The European Cup brings out the passion and emotion of countless fans, and it also brings out the crazies. Especially on the pitch. Case in point: Mario Balotelli (a.k.a Super Mario or Psycho Mario). After scoring his second goal against a suddenly porous German team (maybe they should bring helium to their games to detect leaks) he frightened children and small animals worldwide by whipping off his shirt and becoming a psilomelaine statue of The Hulk posing for Muscle Magazine. It was like looking at a negative of a steroid-free Schwarzenegger doing a Front Lat Spread.
Speaking of porous, the only other memorable image of him in my mind's eye is teammate Bonucci covering Balotelli's mouth with his hand to shut off whatever crazy was leaking out after his goal against Ireland. Is this what our children will be mentoring now? I fear for soccer's future...and how long I can stop myself from gouging out my mind's eye with a spoon.
2) What's with all the spitting and horking, not to mention the projectile snot blowing, going on in the pitch these days? There isn't a minute goes by where there isn't a shot of some player expelling some type of fluid, of various consistencies, onto the playing surface. A surface, I might add, where they will more than likely be sweeping with their faces and hands over some 90 plus minutes. Whenever I see a face-plant, I cringe, hoping the cameramen won't show a close-up of a booger clinging to an unsuspecting eyebrow or ear. I guess I should just be thankful they don't repeat all the spewing in slow motion...
3) Speaking of slow-mo, can anyone tell me why they cut to a crowd shots while play is in action, and even worse, why they repeat it in slow-mo? Like I want to see some rolly-polly, half-naked fan screaming into his beer while his man-boobs flop around like a couple of hairy Jello molds, instead of watching a potential goal being set up? I could understand a babe on the bleachers distracting a horny young technician, but come on...who is on the camera? Davis Furnish? (FYI: that's Elton John's husband)
4) I make it a point to have a pad and paper near me while I watch the pre-games and half-time shows and write down every sponsor whose commercials are repeated so often that my eye begins to twitch like Chief Inspector Dreyfuss'. I then refuse to buy anything they sell, will soon sell, or are thinking of inventing to someday sell. I know, I know...sponsors are a necessary evil, but the money I save on their products pays for the therapy sessions needed to rid myself of the twitch.
5) Speaking of commercials, I cannot help but lose some respect and admiration of players seduced to do weird-ass ads. Yes, the money must be great, but are they not millionaires already? I know Ronaldo and Rooney need a ton of cash for hair products alone, but the rest of them...not so much. Case in point: Lionel Messi. When I saw him staring at a potato chip, sniffing it provocatively and closing his eyes in ecstasy while putting it into his mouth, I admit, I felt dirty. It was such a private moment (caught in slow-mo, of course) and he was all but quivering in his anticipation. I half expected him to light a cigarette afterwards and blow a smoke ring into the camera. I think he is a great player and probably a nice kid, but after that ad, I could never pass by a (aptly named) Lay's Potato Chip package again without covering my daughter's eyes and rushing past the grocery shelf.
6) My patience has reached the end for diving theatrics. The worst part is, is that some players really do get hurt, but nobody can believe them anymore. No one country or one player is solely to blame (although Cristiano Ronaldo can be felled easily by a well-aimed stare and Steven Gerrard is steady reliable for a well-timed flop). I see games on YouTube where men like Franz Beckenbauer get their collarbone broken in a game and instead of getting a hit of morphine and leaving in an ambulance, they slip their arm in a sling and play the rest of the game. (That man has balls that clang.)
Today, a flick of a finger on a cheek leads to a full episode of Grey's Anatomy on the field, and have you noticed, it doesn't really matter where someone gets 'fouled', they do a double swan dive with a half twist onto the grass and grab their leg? Honestly, I even saw a replay of Sergio Ramos getting a for-real foul on his shoulder and he grabbed his head. They fake it so often, they don't know how to react to real pain. I heard Arjen Robben went in for dental surgery and held out his left foot. Perhaps the only solution to this is to make it mandatory for all 'fouled' players to get a needle...a long needle...to 'help' them heal. That would weed out the Oscar contenders pretty quick,except for Balotelli, who I suspect would fall over even more.
There you go. My first Six. You may not share my views, but I bet you share my Twitch.