Gail Alexander and Joel Julien
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This strange thing called football
Every time the World Cup rolls around, I fall in with the rest of the crowd. I can’t say that I understand much about soccer. For me, football is the American version, which really has very little to do with kicking a ball. I don’t understand why the rest of the world’s football features patrons who burst into song all the time. And I’m beginning to suspect that all footballers—your kind, not mine—are required to take acting lessons.
They certainly behave like drama queens when they’re playing. When an American footballer falls down, he’s likely out for the season with a torn ligament or some crushed bones. American football remains my only cultural retention. I admit it’s strange. I’ve lived here for so long and the one thing I can’t give up is American football. The one thing I can’t get used to is the rest of the world’s football.
I first learned of the rest of the world’s version of football when I was in sixth grade in Lexington, a small Midwestern town in Ohio named after the town in Massachusetts where the Minutemen took a bold stand against invading British forces during the American Revolutionary War. That should give you an idea of how conservative my town was. In sixth grade, a very un-American thing happened: Mr Rico came to teach in my school. I considered myself to be one of the unlucky students who got Mr Rico for a teacher.
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