International Sport

I have never been a big fan of the Winter Olympics. When I was a kid, the Winter Olympics were a mere prelude to the big Summer Olympic show. The fact is, in the muggy Florida Panhandle as kids, who on summer days woke up, dressed in a swimsuit before putting on any other clothes, we lived for swimming pools and water sports. The only Olympic sports of any consequence were swimming or those that took place in water. We simply had no context for snow or any of those sports played on ice. These days, I still find it impossible to get excited for the Winter Olympics, in spite of a husband who was a child of snow sports. Granted, I did enjoy watching the U.S. men’s hockey team put a hurt on Canada the other night, but that is because hockey is the only winter sport that I know anything about (When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a crush on a classmate who played roller blade hockey at the beach and learned all of the NHL Hockey Rules and memorized the entire roster of the New York Rangers team in a bid to impress him). Plus, as an American, who doesn’t enjoy a rarified opportunity to beat a neighbor to the north in the sport that they supposedly invented?

Although David’s love of snow sports hasn’t rubbed off on me, his devotion to another international winter sport has, namely, watching the European soccer leagues. On weekend mornings, David is an early riser to catch the action in the English Premier League and also see if he can find any Italian Serie A games featuring his favorite team, Inter Milan. I developed a new appreciation for Inter Milan games after I discovered that the coach of the team, Jose Mourinho, looks like this:

I realized that I am getting old because this is the first time that I have found a man that much older that attractive. But combined with his tailored Italian suits and perfect scarf accompanients, he displays all of that Portuguese passion for the game of football, while still managing to look like a reserved and slightly resentful European. The kind of European that overly self-conscious Americans such as myself or Edith Wharton and Henry James characters have been trying to win the approval of for centuries. Exhibit below:

All of that plus the fact he is a devoted family man and father of cutely international children:


What is not to find attractive? Even my male friends that watch the soccer games agree he is a good looking man.

I know this much, I won’t be watching any of the next three Inter Milan Serie A games while he sits out a ban for making this gesture in a game. I love how passionate Europeans can get about a sport that most Americans find too dull because of its low scoring. Americans, we want to win big to care. We need big points. Those Europeans can find so much to care about in something so seemingly uneventful.
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