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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
July 7, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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July 7, 2010

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 7, 2010 lC SPORTS AND I00LE CREAT I 0 N Taylorsville's Silver Buckle A fun way to celebrate Independence Day was at the Sil- ver Buckle Rodeo in Taylorsville, where folks were treat- ed to a series of riding and.roping events last Sunday, July 4. Pictured clockwise, from above: the bareback competition, dummy roping for the kids, bullfighters protecting a cowboy, a bull sheds his rider, and the bar- rel racing event. Photos by Will Farris Football: The rest o00the world's beautiful sa n' Mona Hill Staff Writer Let's define terms: We are the only country in the world that calls soccer "soccer." The rest of the world knows it as football. June 11 through July 11, is the FIFA World Cup, played every four years; this was the fifth World Cup of my marriage. The World Cup is bigger than the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the World Series combined. In 2006, I was living in England and we all ad- journed to the pub for Eng- land's quarterfinal match, Beckham's last appearance for England. The gloom set- tled over the room when England lost in the penalty shoot out. You would have thought the entire team had been killed. In 2010, England planned a different course under their Italian coach, Fabio Capello. According to one newspaper wag, England's group ranking was to be EASY: England, Algiers, Slovenia and Yanks -- in that order. As it turned out, that was the "Dewey beats Truman" headline of the competition. We Yanks came first in the group; England was second. Neither of us survived the round of 16. I've always watched with my husband and his family; they would educate me in the finer points of the "beau- tiful game." I never consid- ered Team USA to be a seri- ous contender because we have no cultural history of football, coming as late as it did to the American con- sciousness. As I was en route to Heathrow, the pilot came on to report that the U.S. had held England to a 1-1 draw (no overtime until the round of 16). Groans from the Eng- land fans: It seems goalkeep- er Rob Green seriously blew it, in effect making an own goal in an attempt to block an easy shot on goal by Clint Dempsey. In Positano, we'd just stepped off the bus near a shop door fitted with a big fiat screen TV. I asked the score, 2-nil Slovenia came the reply. I remarked to Steve we were going home, but the Italian shopkeeper said, no we were playing very well -- this from the 2006 World Cup champions. We sat in a caf in Posi- tano, to watch the match with equally ignorant Amer- icans. In general, we don't seem to understand the physicality of football. As long as a player doesn't have the ball, other players may shove, push, pull and hold at will. "Look, Ma, no hands!" simply means no hands on the ball unless you're the keeper - or Argentina's Diego Maradona. The previous night, Italy had played Paraguay to a 1-1 draw. I knew who scored when because Praiano, where we stayed on the Amalfi Coast, erupted at Italy's goal with cheers and horns and with sighs loud enough to be heard the world over, for Paraguay's goal. We watched in Venice as the semi-pro All Whites from New Zealand held off the Italians with a Kiwi cou- ple, another couple from Spain and the Italian hotel staff. The Italian team are obviously all failed actors -- no one in the world takes a dive quite like they do. No wonder opera is so popular there. In the meantime, the French were falling apart from internal squabbles, their star player having tak- en his ball and gone home when irked by his coach. The other players struck practice in a show of sup- port. We were in Paris the night plucky South Africa played its heart out and handed France its walking papers: Catastrophique! Allors! Scandal! La Guillotine! We were in Devon when the perpetually mediocre English lost resoundingly to the Germans and the U.S. bowed out against Ghana. This has been the World Cup of the little guy, where heart and pluck wins over technique and skill. France, England and Italy are out in the Round of I6, overcon- fidence and arrogance replaced by disbelief and shock. Ghana is the only little guy left. Germany, The Netherlands, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Spain have a great history of football but they also play with a certain cynicism. I hope Ghana wins the beautiful game -- I believe in miracles.