I tuned in to the second half of the DC United-LA Galaxy game tonight on ESPN2. I had originally planned to go up to RFK to see this match, because I wanted to see David Beckham. Since joining the Galaxy last month, he has yet to play a match in a league game, due to injuries he sustained playing for England in June. So, there's not really been too much to watch.
I seldom watch MLS play. There doesn't seem to be anything of stake, and the quality of coverage usually isn't that good. There's also no one in the crowd, or at least, there's not enough to make it seem like an event.
Tonight when I tuned in, they had a packed house, with something like 47,000 people there. That's pretty impressive. There were that many people there when I went with my dad in 1998 to see the U.S. national team in their last friendly before the World Cup.
You hear time and time and time again how much no one cares about soccer in this country. So, it's nice to see a packed house. And, it was nice in my cozy house to sit and watch the second half unfold, with DC up one-nil. Beckham was not in yet, but he was warming up on the side. It began to pour with rain, and the commentators (four of them) remarked that the storm did not bode well for him to be sent on.
But, then, he switched from the warmup jersey to a game jersey, and all of a sudden, David Beckham takes the field. The same David Beckham who got sent off versus Argentina in the round of 16 back in 1998? The same one who helped Manchester United win the treble? The same one who got incredibly sick during last year's World Cup?
All of a sudden, the game took on a lot more meaning. All of this history, contemporary history, and it's continuing in the MLS, a league that has really not ever gotten me too excited, except when I lived in DC. Beckham playing on the same team as Landon Donovan. Just absolutely amazing, and all of a sudden, the game became something I couldn't take my eyes off of.
I'm really a very casual fan of this stuff. But, the English Premiership is about to begin again, and I want to pay attention this year. I'm helped out more now by the knowledge that there are some amazing podcasts out there that can help out. There's a guy in Charlottesville who sends in e-mails all the time, so I know there's more people out there who watch this stuff. But where?
To all of you who say the sport is a joke, that's fine. But, there really is a lot of merit to following it, at least to some extent. If Beckham plays at his best, the matches with LA will be truly amazing. There's a great story line, a sports story line, if you can get past all the celebrity stuff. Beckham's just amazing to watch, and in watching, you'll start noticing that the game is really beautiful.
So, yes, him coming here works for me, and has gotten me interested again. Anyone else?