MLS in the Spotlight?

If they win, my friends will make of me a figure of fun.

"The Revs are in the final!" I'll say.
"Who?" they'll ask.
"Snicker, snicker," they'll snicker.

If they lose, I'll sulk alone. "Stupid shootout," I'll mutter. "I hate it when a game that determines who's going to the final ends in a shootout, especially when the Revs lose."

"Who?" they'll ask.

Undaunted, I'll root for the Revolution Sunday. And if they win, I'll do what I've done before when they've made it to Major League Soccer's Championship. I'll invite my friends to come over for an MLS Championship answer to the football-related occasion that will occur on the first Sunday in February.

"You have more than one T.V., right?" my friends will ask. "Because the Jets are at New England that day...and Houston's playing Jacksonville, and in both games the players will be encouraged to use their hands."
"Ha, ha. Good one," one of my friends will say.

"You can watch football in the basement," I'll tell them. "Or if you're afraid the soccer game will be dull, you can bring a book." "If you can read," I'll think.

Major League Soccer is more than a decade old now. Each season fewer teams are owned by the same guy and more teams are playing in new parks where the fields are marked for soccer rather than football. Still...

"Did someone kick the ball?" my friends will ask when New England scores to take the lead in the championship game.

If neither New England nor the Western Conference champion scores during the first minute or so of the game, my friends who have remained upstairs rather than retreating to the basement to watch the Jets and the Patriots will let their heads fall to their chests. They will pretend to snore. It will be a sight gag, so they'll only think to themselves, "That's a good one," unless one of them says it.

Never mind. I'll invite them anyway. I will endure their taunts and ridicule. Because amid the cruel laughter, perhaps one of them will find himself noticing a crafty back-heel pass, a cross re-directed out of the air into the upper left-hand corner of the goal, a diving save...and he will astonish himself by blurting out, "Hey, look at that!" and I will smile, because our numbers will have grown.

This program aired on November 2, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.


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