By ELLEN LEVITT
Last night my family and I went to the very first professional soccer match staged in Brooklyn, New York. I just couldn't resist buying tickets for this game because they were affordable ($15 each) and the stadium where they played the game was close to our house (MCU Park in Coney Island). And I do have a curious side that wished to indulge.Confession: I am not soccer fan. I don't play soccer. The only times I had ever seen a soccer match were two or three college games back in the 1980s. I attended Barnard College in Manhattan, part of Columbia University, and during my time there the Columbia Lions soccer time was doing very well. (And featured some cute players.) These matches made barely a dent on my memory, to be honest.Soccer has not been very popular in the US, although it has slowly garnered more attention. I suppose it has inched up in popularity due to immigrants who support their teams. In some neighborhoods I have seen people gather in bars and eateries, to watch and cheer for soccer games they watch on TV. (And my younger brother is into soccer, as well as other team sports.)But for the most part, soccer bores me, really really bores me. The few times I tried to watch soccer (okay, FOOT BALL to everyone else in the world, right?) on TV, I was bored. I found it difficult to watch. I was stuck watching one of the first televised World Cup matches in early June 2010, when I worked at a sub-par high school in northern Brooklyn, because another teacher decided this was a worthy cultural activity for the students. I remember the inane roar of too-many vuvuzelas in the audience. I remember that I could barely follow the game. Blah.As far as being a spectator, I do enjoy certain sports. I have loved baseball all my life, and enjoy watching games live or on TV. I like basketball a lot. Although it took me years to come around, I do like American football, to some extent. If my local ice hockey teams are doing well (as they have been lately: the Islanders were defeated in the first round of post-season play, but the Rangers are still in it, so GO RANGERS!) I will cheer for them. Occasionally I like to watch diving and swimming matches. After that I lose interest, however. (Golf on TV? Snore. Tennis? I am underwhelmed. Gymnastics? Worth a few minutes of my time.)So why did I jump at the chance to go to this soccer match? As I said before, tickets were available at a decent price, it's near my house, and I figured my daughters should be exposed to something different and at least nominally fun. And also because it was the Cosmos, or a rebirth of the Cosmos, the New York team of the 1970s and 1980s. As in Pele and Franz Beckenbauer fame. So we went and cheered and watched the game. We were entertained by the hyperactive antics of a group of fans with banners and chants. We got free key chains, stickers and bottle openers. We cheered when the Cosmos earned their goal, booed when robbed of another goal, and cheered when they won. (They beat the Ottawa Fury.) My husband and I had fun. My older daughter followed the game and said it was okay. My younger daughter spent most of her time watching videos on her cell phone. She also nagged us to take her to a big nearby candy store, after the game, which we did.I know that Israelis seems to love soccer. I checked the Wikipedia page "List of Football clubs in Israel" and it is indeed lengthy. The last time I visited Israel I bought myself a soccer shirt and a soccer team drawstring bag. And I know that much of the world is gaga for soccer. But like many stubborn Americans, I'm just not that into it. I could tell you about several famous Jewish baseball players. I read about a Jewish college football player who got picked during the recent NFL draft. I know about famous Jewish pro-basketball players and boxers. But I am, uh, underschooled as to famous Jewish soccer players. All right, school me.
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