Like an old lover, the World Cup showed up at our door four weeks ago, and was welcomed in with a wink and a warm hug. It was going to be a lot of fun getting to know each other again.
Turns out, neither of us has changed.
By the time Spain had out-waited the Netherlands in about the 118th minute of some dentist appointment disguised as a big game last night, we were only too happy to give the ol' gal one of those ass-out hugs and show her the door.
See ya in four years, baby ... now isn't there some women's golf on the tube, or something?
Last night's groaner between the Spaniards and the Dutch in the World Cup finale is only the latest example of why America will never commit to soccer in any big, meaningful way. Sure, the game has its beautiful moments, but they are suffocated by all the lallygagging, diving, whining, blown calls, and lack of any kind of sustained offensive flow.
You want a better game right off the bat? Get rid of the offside rule. Hell, the refs get that one wrong more than they do right, anyway ...
Truthfully, I'm not sure that would even help.
Besides, I'm wading into territory that I'll wager has already been covered approximately 7,000 times in the blogs and columns on this web site alone over the past month.
And that is pretty much the point, isn't it?
Every four years the World Cup comes along, and the same old question is asked in thousands of different ways: After she goes, will America miss her?
Unless you drive a 16-cylinder SUV, color your hair some version of blondish-gold, and tote your semi-obese, pig-tailed daughters and their 13 friends and cell phones to a Saturday-morning youth soccer league, the answer to that question is an easy, no.
Or it could be you were a fumbling mess in those good, ol' traditional American sports that require true hand (not foot)-eye coordination. Now you tell all your hard-living accountant friends that soccer, and all its hard-to-see nuances, is king, because, really, you are still royally pissed about being picked last in all those choose-'em-up neighborhood baseball tilts.
Or maybe your motives are completely pure. Maybe you actually played soccer at a semi-high level at one point and have a true appreciation for the game.
Otherwise, for the rest of us sports fans, soccer's nice to have around for a month every four years or so. It's sort of like the Olympics. I don't know that I'd want to watch people swim, curl, or run every two or three years, though.
Just as soon as ESPN is done milking the skinny cow for all its worth, soccer will be put out to pasture with only occasional sightings over the next four years.
By the time the World Cup comes around again we will have been through 16 NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL seasons; four Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, and Stanley Cup trophies will have been hoisted; drivers will have made hard-lefts in eight Daytona and Indy 500s; 748 bowl games will have been played; March will have gone mad four times; Tiger Woods will have amassed another billion dollars, nine cocktail waitresses, and at least two more majors out of the 16 that will have been played; LeBron James will still be hated in Cleveland, but will have purchased Fox Sports in addition to ESPN.
The point is, the World Cup will always be a welcome diversion every four years. But by the time her four weeks are up, and the last 1-0 game has ground to a halt, we'll be just as happy to watch her go.
See ya in Brazil, baby. I'm sure I'll recognize ya.