SIOUX CITY – Been watching the World Cup on the tube, have you?
Been streaming The Beautiful Game, have you?
Been reliving the illegal hand ball goal of Argenitina’s Diego Maradona to beat England in ’86, the now legend “the Hand of God’’ goal, have you?
Been pulling for the United States in the current men’s World Cup in Moscow, have you?
Oops, our guys aren’t even in it Over There.
Perhaps wem being the U.S., need to add more top-notch naturalized American citizens to the red, white and blue side.
The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994 and the competition returns to North American soil in 2026 when matches will be contested in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
If you have been watching “o jogo bonito’’ (that’s The Beautiful Game in Portuguese) from Russia you’ve obviously detected some controversies if you’re a die-hard fan, but not one of those “thin-skinned fusspots’’ from America or “riot-hungry Neanderthals’’ from Europe described in print by award-winning Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.
The one major controversy appears to be some Americans actually rooting for Mexico, which opened with a stunning upset of powerful Germany. It must be that North America thing?
Canada is also absent in Russia and the country has qualified for only one men’s World up, in 1986.
The above-mentioned goal by Maradona in Mexico ranks as the epitome of soccer chicanery on the men’s side, but The Beautiful Game tag first affixed to the sport by Brazilian legend Pele in 1977, has its memorable cheating in the women’s World Cup, too.
Remember the dominant United States women’s World Cup winners in 1999, triumphing in one game when goalkeeper Briana Scurry lunged forward to block a penalty kick and wasn’t penalized.
The rule says you can only move laterally before a penalty shot.
“Everybody does it. It’s only cheating if you get caught,’’ said Scurry at the time.
Makes you wonder if you’ve seen that illegal move made on the local soccer scene in Our Town and its environs.
Tugging at jerseys like a professional taffy-puller supposedly aren’t allowed, either, but seldom flagged, and slight brushes that theatrically knock players to the turf in agony usually signals “play on.’’
So far in Moscow, the howling of fans is as loud as ever, but at least the hooting of the detestable vuvuzelas has been outlawed and we’re allowed the pleasure of not hearing the awful drone from those, I guess, musical instruments.
You still get the stretched out “goaaaaaaaaaaal’’ from announcers when, as Royko once described, “a bow-legged guy named Heinz or Jorge’’ scored a goal to make a high-scoring match 1-0 or 2-1.
And, why is it, that radio and TV guys in the U.S. relate a score as 1-nil? They don’t do that in baseball or basketball?. More likely its 1-zip or 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 even when a basketball game starts with a free throw, made basket or three-pointer.
- A note to add the name of Tanya Crevier to those honored a couple of weeks ago in women’s basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The festivities included the induction of players on the Iowa Cornets women’s professional team in the “Trailblazers of the Game’’ category.
The original Cornets team also included Bishop Heelan and Briar Cliff graduate Mary Schrad.
Crevier, a graduate of old Jefferson (S.D.) High School and South Dakota State is billed as the “world’s finest female basketball handler.’’
No doubt. She can make any and all Harlem Globetrotters envious.
Her family travels the globe putting on demonstrations. She was out of the country performing and unable to attend the Hall of Fame function.
Another Cornets player, the late Connie Kunzmann, was an all-state player at Everly High School and former Morningside women’s basketball coach Rhonda Penquite, was also honored.
- One way to increase attendance at Lewis and Clark Park for Sioux City Explorers American Association baseball?
Come to an agreement with the local Little League administrators to play the youth game in the mornings rather than evenings.
That way, the youth of America can play their games, then watch with their parents at night the many professionals who have competed at the highest levels of the game, including the Major Leagues.
Sad to say, you don’t see many kids at the old ball park.
- In June of 1992 the second-winningest coach in the history of high school girls softball in the United States, brought his No. 1-ranked Ottumwa team to Our Town, his home town, to play in East High’s Black Raider Invitational at Chris Larsen Park.
Frank Huston, a 1961 Leeds High grad, went 4-0 in the competition and when heavy rain fell late the final day, a Saturday, Huston’s team boarded the bus hastily for the five-hour trip back to Southeast Iowa.
In the haste. Huston forgot to turn in his all-tournament ballot and not one of his players was selected.
Evidently the other coaches were blind to the drubbings their teams got from Ottumwa.
No harm was done, but a volatile Friday night confrontation occurred when Ottumwa played sixth-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Tempers flared among fans, coaches and players from both teams.
Huston didn’t think so, although he didn’t bring his team back to his home town until June of 2006 when it went 3-0 in the Western Iowa Softball Shootout hosted by North High.
Earlier this month, Huston, in his 52nd year of coaching, guided Ottumwa to a win over Sioux City North, his 1,800th victory.
Frank’s nephew is Kirk Hinrich, the West High and Kansas University star who spent several years in the NBA before retiring.