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Soccer Poet

EBOLA.  Day 105

EBOLA. nbspDay 105

It’s 11 P.M. You may be thinking, aren’t you supposed to be asleep? Well, here’s the thing. By and large I slept until 4 this afternoon. And I’ve got to be awake at sometime I reckon. So 11 P.M. it is.

One silver lining to this Ebola thing is that I’ve been having these really vivid (and wonderfully bizarre) dreams. The other night I had one that I was returning to Bethany to play one more year of college soccer. My college coach, JC, was still the coach. The program was in trouble so I decided to move back to West Virginia to help them out (because yeah, like I’m the solution). So I met with JC and told him that I could help, but I had one demand. My legs would hurt so agonizingly bad after practices or games that I required post-soccer leg massages or else I wouldn’t be able to walk. It just got worse from there, because although my demands were being met, I still could barely walk, and often I couldn’t walk at all. I would try so hard to move my legs but they just wouldn’t go anywhere… which could have been part of the reason I was failing my classes. The remainder of the reason was threefold: 1) I could never find my class and usually ended up sitting in the wrong class; 2) My professors hated me because, well, they just hated me; and 3) I was always completely unprepared. I couldn’t find my books. Couldn’t find my assignments. And when I did manage to stumble into the proper class, I realized I had no idea what anyone was talking about. And I mean NONE whatsoever. The subject matter was completely foreign to me (so let’s assume it was some type of math). And just to throw a cherry on my sundae, all the other students hated me and no one would speak to me.

But the real highlight of the dream was the game. I was going to play college soccer again, so that gets a big WooHoo! Except, in a town of 1,500 where I spent five years, I couldn’t find my own soccer field. And when I did, there were only five minutes left in the game. It completely sucked.

It was the most frustrating dream of my life. When I woke up, everything was all too familiar. I’ve had all three pieces of that dream before – the aching legs that just won’t move; the academic ineptitude; and the missed soccer game. But I don’t think I’ve ever had all three at once. It was my nightmare Triple Crown. I’m no Freud, but I’m going to wager a guess. The three notable qualities of the dream were immobility, unpreparedness and frustration. Sounds like a guy without a vehicle who is stuck on a couch with the holidays approaching and a heckuva lot to do. Feel free to mail me my Ph.D.

The 2022 World Cup is going to Qatar. Yes, that Qatar. The one in the desert. The really hot desert. Where temps will be hovering near 130�. So yeah, that should be fun. Allegedly the organizers are going to build state-of-the-art air-conditioned outdoor stadiums for the event, which must lead any rational person to ask, How is it actually possible that there is poverty in this world? HOW!!! Doesn’t it just make your head hurt?

In August of 2009 I was on a boat that toured around Miami and gave us a look at the homes of the uber-wealthy. Of all the amazing things we learned about these estates, my favorite was the guy who had an air-conditioned backyard. On an island where the residents are forever trying to outdo the Joneses (and the Jameses and Winfreys and Cruises), I thought it was a fabulous and untrumpable display of unadulterated, shameless excess. I don’t care if Bruce Springsteen did play your kids Bar Mitzvah. I’ve got so much money I can literally watch it blow away. Game-Point-Match. I mean there’s pretentious, and then there’s just plain over-the-top, sensationally ostentatious. To be certain, cooling your backyard - in Miami - falls into the latter.

Here’s the thing… Just installing the system cost the guy $18,000, and his back yard wasn’t very big. I mean it may have been roughly half the size of an 18-yard box. Mind you, that’s $18,000 before anyone even turns the thing on. I’m no expert on this but I’m gonna guess that cooling a back yard in Miami is gonna run you a pretty penny. And Miami’s summertime high temps usually peak out in the low 90s. That would be forty degrees cooler than Qatar… which makes you wonder if they really even need AC in Miami. Seems kinda soft by comparison.

So anyway, I’m not even going to try extrapolating that backyard into 12 full-size stadiums, because let’s face it, I can’t. Then, just for kicks, let’s tack on the $18 million Qatar has given Zidan Zidane for being the point man for their bid. You can see they’re racking up quite the tab. Point is… can’t we, and by we I mean everyone, find a way to end hunger? To end poverty? To cure cancer? Do we really need 12 air-conditioned stadiums for an event that will last 30 days???

Well, considering the temperatures, apparently so. But still.

I dunno. Just seems silly. We’ve got so many real problems in this world, I’ve never understood why we spend so much on sports and entertainment. Yes, I know, we’re not the ones building the stadiums; Qatar is. But you’d be making that argument from a glass house… one with wafer-thin glass.

22% of American children – that’s more than 1 in 5 – are living in poverty. And that’s just the children. There are over 650,000 homeless people. 564,000 Americans will die of cancer this year. But instead of getting them sorted, let’s pay Jim Carrey $20 million for, of all things, The Cable Guy. He got paid $20 million dollars… FOR. ONE. MOVIE. Let’s pay Alex Rodriguez $250 million for playing baseball. Everyone okay with that? And by all means, let’s for God’s sake build 12 air-conditioned stadiums – on the sun - for one month of soccer!

C’mon. Surely someone can back me on this, yeah? Doesn’t it seem our priorities just a little out of whack? I mean, do you think if pro sports and Hollywood studios capped their salaries at $1.5 million per, would people stop playing ball? Would actors stop acting? Or would some of them just stop acting like fools?

How much does someone really need? How many houses and cars and toys can you possible want? At a certain point isn’t it just overkill? Isn’t there a certain point of wealth that not even your great grandkids can dent? When you reach that point you have the ammunition to help solve some really big problems. So why not do exactly that?

Mark Zuckerberg could give away $5.9 billion and still be a billionaire – that’s a millionaire a thousand times over! How many houses do you think Habitat for Humanity build with $6 billion?

Well, quite a few.

With air-conditioning.