January 28, 2003

***SPOFI LOCKER ROOM INTERVIEW*** WorldCup2002: "I feel weird about this, but OK. I'll play along." It's time to turn the mic and have the interviewer become the interviewee. Meet the man named after a Sporting Event that took place more than six months ago, WorldCup2002.

posted by Ufez Jones to navel gazing at 04:12 PM - 41 comments

Q1: You're obviously a soccer/footie fan. You also seem to favor Tennis and Sailing competitions. Is this a result from the (unnamed) former British Colony in East Asia that you came from? And part B: can you explain in your own words to the non-converted why soccer is so much better than the U.S.ian sports?

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:14 PM on January 28, 2003

My god, man! Do you want to blow up the database?! The soccer thing was definitely a part of my growing-up. We kids played soccer anywhere anytime. On the thread-bare, sun-baked field to the smooth concrete floors by the school tuck-shop, to our friends' mum's well-manicured (and soon-to-be-totally-trashed) front lawn. Before school in the hot sun, after school in the cool evening, during P.E., on weekend and holiday afternoons in pouring monsoon rains. And we got to watch delayed forecasts of English soccer and German soccer on the weekends, and occasionally, the sponsors be praised, live matches from the Euro Cup, World Club final, or the World Cup. This is not counting the local leagues. part B: I know not where to begin. Perhaps because American sports are for the most part too expensive or cumbersome to play. All that stop and go. All that equipment. In the old days (shout this like you're half-deaf) we played with anything resembling a ball, it didn't matter. We even kicked around a Tupperware container if it would move fast enough. I had to go to the principal's office once because I broke a school window with a Tupperware rocket-shot. And we didn't bloody need shoes. We played in bare feet. Oh, the joys of stamping about barefoot (or sliding in for a tackle) on a muddy bog in the middle of a warm afternoon rain ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:07 PM on January 28, 2003

Tupperware rocket-shot would be a great name for a band, but that's neither here nor there. Q2. What are your thoughts on the MLS? Is it going to do any good for the development of U.S. Soccer? What would it take to put it on par with the EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A, etc? Any thoughts for this upcoming season?

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:36 PM on January 28, 2003

Gosh, you ask the big questions. The one key thing that the MLS lacks is history and a tradition of soccer-loving fans. I think they did many things right in reviving pro soccer in the States -- starting up on the back of a very successful World Cup 94, capping salaries, promoting an equitable financial distribution among teams, and seeding teams with local stars. A very clear effort to avoid the failures of the NASL. They also had a much better-developed and growing fan base due to the burgeoning of soccer among the US youth. There's going to be an increasingly knowledgeable and dedicated fan base as we move into the next decade. But to get on par with the EPL et al, it's going to take a consistent stream of spectacular homegrown talent, and the corresponding success of these players with the national team and abroad. The fans will come along. (For example, the US performance in the World Cup 2002 didn't hurt.) The real magic act, however, will be keeping enough of the good players at home so that MLS doesn't turn into a feeder system for those other leagues, or, conversely, turning into a grotesque version of MLB that eats itself to death. How will the whole MLS financial system (salaries, contracts, prize money, sponsors, ticket prices, merchandising, etc.) have to evolve to ensure continued and balanced growth for the league? As for this season: No thoughts. I don't really follow the MLS. Sorry.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:47 AM on January 29, 2003

I don't really follow the MLS That's kind of what gets me. I don't follow it either. I was going to try to go to some Dallas Burn games this year (and I may still) but they left the Cotton Bowl and are playing in some stadium that will take me about 45 minutes to get to. Bastards moved out to the suburbs. Q3. (last one about soccer, for now): If the already established soccer fans aren't following it much, is it hopeless? And, would you be interested in a MLS fantasy league? Aside from that, the whole world is aware that you are a Liverpool supporter. Who else do you like (throughout Europe). Anyone that you truly despise cough cough, Man U?

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:59 AM on January 29, 2003

Hey, can we all ask questions or just ufez? MLS FANTASY LEAGUE! I AM THERE!

posted by StarFucker at 11:37 AM on January 29, 2003

MLS hopeless? Good question. The US has a huge fan base just in the country, and young good-looking talents like Donovan and Beasley who got wonderful international exposure with the World Cup. Highly marketable talent, on many fronts. I was impressed by the likes of Reyna and Donovan (and Agoos?) who gave fluent interviews in Spanish to Telemundo and Univision during the World Cup. This is one global aspect of US soccer that other US sports will find hard to beat. Like I said before, we just need more continuous success and exposure at the world level. If Freddy Adu turns into the superstar he's all hyped up to be and spends some time in the MLS, well then, you never know. MLS fantasy league? No. Sorry. Other Euro teams beside Liverpool that I like? I used to like Bayern Munich, when they had Rummenigge and were Euro champs. Now I don't follow the Bundesliga. Juventus was pretty cool when they had Paolo Rossi. They have cool kits, those Italians. But I don't follow Serie A either. Teams I despise? Man U is too easy. Yeah. Man U. No questions from StarFucker. ;-p

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2003

No questions from StarFucker. ;-p Well, then. On with the interview... Q4. What else do you do besides talk about Liverpool with StarFucker? Family, hobbies, work, etc.? We want answers!

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:07 PM on January 29, 2003


posted by StarFucker at 12:12 PM on January 29, 2003

You can ask questions, SF. Don't get all sulky now. Hee hee. See, this is the weird part. I guess I'm not much about talking about my private life on the web. Well, I work. And yes, I have a family. A sweet wife and a little boy. My hobbies are limited by, well, my sweet wife and my little boy. But mostly my being tired after work and running round after the kid. And all the stuff that comes with being a responsible husband and a dad. It's not all bad like I'm making it out to be. I just don't like putting it out on the web. I'm in website development (can I say that without getting laughed at?). I'm an information architect. Don't ask what that is. My peers can't even agree. Something about boxes and arrows. Mumble mumble. But, you know what, I'd much rather be writing football match reports for the London Times. Or something like that. Maybe football stories, or childrens books. Or cartoons. I'd like to be like Charles Schulz or Dr. Seuss or Bill Watterson (the Calvin & Hobbes guy). But I like my life. And I love my wife. And I love my boy.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:58 PM on January 29, 2003

I'll do one more, SF, and you can do the last five. Q5: How did you come to SpoFi? Are you a member of any other online communities?

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:06 PM on January 29, 2003

I used to read MeFi a lot, which is how I got here. MeFi wouldn't have me for a member (well, they were always closed out unless you paid). I got tired of the deluge of links and overall weight of subject matter. And the pedantic and snippy arguments, too. SpoFi is perfect. Small. Focused. Easy to grok. Fun to participate in. I've really got my writing jones on because of the SpoFi. It's the only online community I really want to be a part of. How could I go without my daily dose of StarFucker?

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:39 PM on January 29, 2003

How could I go without my daily dose of StarFucker? Like any hard-drug, it does you no good, but you'll feel a lot better when the habit has been kicked.

posted by BigCalm at 03:00 PM on January 29, 2003

allright, fucker, he's all yours.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:37 PM on January 29, 2003

jesus world cup you're getting passed around like a hung stripper at a bachelorette party

posted by vito90 at 10:05 PM on January 29, 2003

Damn. If only. I were hung. And at a bachelorette party. Damn.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:24 PM on January 29, 2003

Very funny BigCalm... Hey Ufez...i just want one question...i don't want to hijack...

posted by StarFucker at 08:27 AM on January 30, 2003

It's cool man, do what you want to do. Let me know when you're done.

posted by Ufez Jones at 08:55 AM on January 30, 2003


posted by worldcup2002 at 09:23 AM on January 30, 2003

HEY WHAT?! Q6: You're married?! Well i was going to ask you what that was like, but you don't seem to want to talk about it. I have no problem talking about anything... So here is my question. I have been working on a theory that the reason Soccer isn't popular in the States is because the Corporations that rule us won't allow it. There is no room for advertising. Think about it, a regulation Helmet Football game is 60 minutes yet it takes almost 4 hours...that means you are watching 3 hours of commercials! And thats the way they want to keep it. And don't get me started on Baseball! It is systematic brainwashing by the corporations. They even pay off sports columnists of major newspapers to say that soccer is boring..."un American" etc... Well, how can anyone even take that seriously? Soccer is boring?! And this usually comes from some idiot tobacco chewing, baseball hat wearing, Bush loving troglodyte...just spewing the latest opinion he read or heard that he now claims as his own...as he gets up to get another Bud Light during the 107th timeout, or two minute warning, or the changing of a pitcher... So what do you think worldcup? What are the reasons Soccer can't make it here?

posted by StarFucker at 10:13 AM on January 30, 2003

I'd rather focus on how soccer can make it here. There are ample opportunities for sponsors:

  • jerseys, equipment
  • boards on the side of the field
  • goal-nets could be changed to something like the nets used in the Superbowl (put your logo here)
  • logos virtually projected on the field
  • logos next to the clock/score widget on your TV screen
  • ticker band/ad banner on the TV screen below the game display
But, sorry, no commercials during the game. Please. I don't know about the corporate conspiracy thing. The youth/suburban/middle-class market is just a little too lucrative to ignore. Once again, soccer just hasn't built up a tradition yet. It has to compete with other sports that have way more of a hold on the public. We should study how baseball or basketball became so popular in Europe, Japan, etc.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:08 PM on January 30, 2003

I am not satisfied with that answer.... But i'm done Ufez..take it away.

posted by StarFucker at 01:19 PM on January 30, 2003

I thought it was a good answer, but feel free to toss in your own thoughts, s-f. Q7: Umm, back to your traditional interview questions, What do you look like? What do you drink? (i won't ask the pr0n one, b/c you didn't ask me either, thank god).

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:39 PM on January 30, 2003

I am nearly 6 feet. Black hair, dark brown eyes, lean but not mean. Glasses. Endearing gap-toothed smile. Distinguishing marks: my face. Hahahahaha. Some gym trainer guy once said I had a tennis player's body. Whatever. He was trying to sell me a membership. Anyway. Beverages: I drink water mostly. The occasional mocha. Chai. And, like you, I like tea (there's that British thing again). Preferably not the herbal teas (although those are fine when I'm sick), but some full-bodied Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Oolong, Jasmine, Monkey-picked by the Mountainside (really) etc. As for alcohol, I can't stand the taste or smell of beer, except if it's cooked, in something like beer cheese soup or beer-battered fries (or something like that). So it's wine or mixed drinks for me. I like Blue Hawaiians for their color, and because people will ask "What's that?" (it works well with the ladies) Kahlua and milk, Bailey's and cream are nice nightcaps. Long Island iced teas, made right (so they don't taste like cough medicine) are bloody dangerous. I'm getting light-headed just thinking about it.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:05 AM on January 31, 2003

"I can't stand the taste or smell of beer..." I have lost alot of respect for you worldcup...

posted by StarFucker at 08:32 AM on January 31, 2003

Some gym trainer guy once said I had a tennis player's body A tennis player's body, according to David Foster Wallace in the awesome piece "String Theory" With few exceptions, all the players have similar buildsóbig muscular legs, shallow chests, skinny necks, and one normal-size arm and one monstrously huge and hypertrophic arm.

posted by vito90 at 09:43 AM on January 31, 2003

Thats weird, i don't play tennis that much, but my right arm is definitely bigger...

posted by StarFucker at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2003

Q8: Tell us about some of the food in San Francisco that you prefer. I bet there's some great ethnic food there. MMmmmm. (yes, I'm ready for lunch, ok?)

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2003

My word, you do ask the big questions. There's so much to eat here. Eat eat eat. And I like to eat. Food I prefer: Chinese: dimsum, noodles (dry and with soup), salt and pepper chicken (or prawns or crab), steamed whole fish in a light soy-and-ginger sauce, I could go on and I'd still only be skimming the surface. Japanese: sushi, sashimi, sake! French: when I can get to it ... foie gras, boudin sausage, duck breast, rack of lamb, various steamed mussel dishes ... sigh. Indian: various flatbreads, but I love that naan. All sorts of curries but I love lamb curry. Thai: Tom yum soup (chicken, veggie, shrimp, coconut, and any variety tou can think of), papaya salad, green curry, red curry duck, fried banana for dessert. Vietnamese: Pho (thin rice noodles in a beef broth, with beef or chicken or seafood or all at once, as well as basil, hot green chiles, bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime juice), paper-thin rice rolls wrapped around thin rice noodles and shrimp and julienned carrots and a little cilantro, with a sweet peanut dipping sauce, etc. etc. etc. Italian: Any thin pasta that comes in a clear mussel sauce, cioppino (San Francisco seafood stew in a tomato broth, variously mixed with fish, scallops, Dungeness crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels and clams, depending on where you're eating), and Puntini (those little fruit-flavored sweets -- "Only 3 calories!" -- I get as I head out of one of my favorite restaurants). There's more but I think I've made my point. You can understand why SF people can be such food snobs. Can I have a witness?

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:23 PM on February 01, 2003

btw, vito90, your description of the tennis player physique pretty much nails me. Except that you missed the part about the pot belly.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:29 PM on February 01, 2003

Where is question 9?

posted by StarFucker at 08:23 AM on February 03, 2003

Chill, boy. It's Monday morning... Q9: What other media do you take in? Music, books, magazines, etc? Any particular non-sports related websites?

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:18 AM on February 03, 2003

Too many to mention. I am a voracious reader. I read too much. Books I have read in the past three month: Links (Barabasi), Emergence (Steven Johnson), Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell; still reading this). Radio: I mostly listen to KQED (NPR) and the R&B stations (98.1 and 102.9). CDs: R&B, neo-soul (icky name) Magazines: I have subs to San Francisco (thanks to my KQED/public radio sponsorship) and Utne Reader. I'll also read eye candy like GQ and those men's mags and ESPN and SI (and, ok, Entertainment and Style) while I'm waiting for my haircut. Or on some plane trip. And sometimes, who doesn't love reading some house-owner porn like Dwell (ooo, nice Subzero fridge ...)? Newpapers: I read the Sunday Chronicle. Sometimes, the weekly paper. And the weekly alternative papers, the Guardian or SF Weekly, if I don't mind getting depressed or angry. I'll read the WSJ or NY Times rarely. Sites that are not sports-related: My Yahoo, Google News, Wired News, BoingBoing, all those info-architect sites.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:46 AM on February 03, 2003

"You can understand why SF people can be such food snobs." StarFucker people?

posted by StarFucker at 11:14 AM on February 03, 2003

Okay, I need one last loaded question. Hmmm. Okay, here we go: Q10: Earlier, you said "I've really got my writing jones on because of the SpoFi." So why not have a blog of your own? Have you considered it? What would convince you/what is preventing you? If you did it, would it be a themed one (do one for the EPL so I can participate in fantasy next season!).

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:01 PM on February 03, 2003

I do/did have a blog. It's a pain in the ass to keep it going. I need the audience participation, the feedback. And SpoFi is the best place for it. I also hate seeing posts all over the blogworld for the same thing - I really don't want to add to that. There's a lot smarter people with great blogs out there that I'm more interested in reading (which cuts into my blogging time, heh). I feel like I'd have to add something unique or not bother at all. I'm just not motivated to do it day in day out, or on a regular basis. I guess I have high standards *sniff*. ;-) But I do really love the audience participation and the immediate feedback here. StarFucker, for all his annoying rants and glib comments, actually makes me smile with his liveliness and playfulness. I think I'm done reporting EPL and the Fantasy League after this season. It's work, and an awesome responsibility that I'm not sure I'd like to do another season. I'd much rather have someone else do it, and just play, add the occasional post, and be in the peanut gallery. I've got to do more stuff offline, too.

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:35 PM on February 03, 2003

Its true, i make this a wonderful place...

posted by StarFucker at 06:12 PM on February 03, 2003

Thankfully, it's big enough to accommodate your head.

posted by worldcup2002 at 08:48 PM on February 03, 2003

thanks for playing along, wc2k2. You can have your mike back now. Go interview some of the founding fathers, will you?

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:21 AM on February 04, 2003

aye. Jacknose if he's willing.

posted by BigCalm at 03:05 AM on February 04, 2003

Beer cheese soup sounds awesome.

posted by 86 at 01:52 PM on March 05, 2003

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