It’s a simple game played by more people on the planet than any other sport. If you can kick a ball with your foot, then you can play soccer or, as the rest of the world calls it, football.
For the moment the Euro debt crisis in Europe is on the back burner as citizens flock to pubs and arenas to watch the only thing that matters right now: winning the UEFA Euro Cup Championship.
Last week the tournament kicked off with explosive action that for the most part has gone unnoticed in our fair town: Holland was crushed, Ireland has faded out of the championship, and Germany is powering ahead in one of the toughest competitions on the planet.
But no one here seems to care.
This strikes me as very odd, considering we have one of the largest soccer associations anywhere.
There are over 1,000 people playing soccer in Smithers, with about 750 youth alone. So I ask, why is a town with such deep European roots not subject to the wonders of Euro?
Is it because the Dutch are on their way out? Perhaps. Or maybe that the Swiss didn’t even make it (neither did Slovenia for that matter).
Or is it because there are more important things to do than watch international soccer at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning?
In any case, Smithereens are just not watching enough Euro.
More than half the population of the world play and watch soccer, even one fifth of our town plays soccer, so why is no one watching the Euro here?
Despite the streets running orange with tears, there are still a lot of matches to go.
So I propose we all need to watch a lot more Euro. There are full blown parties at Boston Pizza for the NHL playoffs and the monthly UFC but nothing for Euro. I can guarantee there are way more people watching Euro than the NHL or UFC.
Still, finding a place to watch Euro in Smithers is a futile pursuit.
Nevertheless, soccer is becoming one of the more popular sports in Canada, even surpassing hockey.
That’s even more true now that Canada’s national men’s team is just one game away from qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup after beating Cuba 1-0 and tying Honduras 0-0.
If they beat Panama in September it will mark the first time Canada will qualify for the world cup since 1986. Again, that speaks volumes to Canada’s cultural diversity and soccer’s popularity here.
Once more, why aren’t we watching more soccer?
Despite the tears of orange streaming down the faces of our Dutch friends there’s still a lot of Euro to go and if Canada is making a break for a World Cup berth, then maybe soon enough Canada will be in the soccer spotlight and we’ll all get to see a truly golden goal.