David Hirshey writes regularly about soccer for Deadspin.
Go ahead and report me to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, send me a one-way ticket to Gitmo and let them blast John Mellencamp in my cell 24/7. I will take my punishment like a man, even if, in the immortal words of my old sports editor Dick Young, I behaved like a "commie pansy" this weekend.
What exactly did I do to betray my country? Well, for starters, I watched six hours straight of the kind of football where you can't use your hands. you know, sort of like the Colts' Hunter Smith did on that botched extra point ... but for a whole game. Even worse was the sin I committed at the Super Bowl party I attended. When everyone was yammering on about what a watershed moment of history this was for Dungy and Smith, I interjected, "Let's not forget Becks." The room fell silent, except for the sound of someone puking in the corner, and I think my friend George spoke for everyone when he said "Hirshey, you call yourself an American?"
"Yes, " I said proudly, "why else would I have watched Fulham yesterday?" The joke was lost on the Guac & Gridiron crowd as was my giddiness when Becks appeared on-screen in the "Hanging With Chad" commercial only for someone to mistake him for Janet Reno. Still, I maintain that history will vindicate me when, a year from now, Becks will have his OWN Super Bowl commercial and "Gay, Straight AND Taken" will be America's No. 1 reality show.
(more after the jump)
Until then, I will take comfort in the small joys of life, like the fact that Kinsale Tavern was back in business this weekend after a two-week hiatus for "major renovations." And what a tough couple of weeks it had been for our diaspora of Deadspin soccer weenies, wandering from bar to bar until we could find a place where screaming "Chelsea scum" is taken as a comment on the Special One's band of overpaid tarts, not a disparaging remark about that downtown Manhattan hood.
But Saturday all was forgiven as we returned to the new Kinsale with its gleaming hardwood floor and two hydraulic ice cold taps for Guinness and Stella that are able to pump out a pint in six seconds, meaning that over the course of a game you can conceivably drink 900 pints. And that's not including stoppage time.
Anyway, all the Deadspin Premiership Drunkathlon regulars were there, including Mid-Table Mikey, who had tried two different bars hoping to change the luck of his beloved Spurs after they lost to Arsenal's u-14 team in midweek. MTM's wife had just given birth three weeks ago, so he found it a little dicey sneaking out of the house to catch Spurs-ManU on Sunday. I'm happy to report that he made it to the bar just in time to see Tottenham get dickwhipped 4-0 as Christiano Ronaldo ran through the Spurs defense as if he was the Portuguese Devin Hester.
"That spray-tanned Dancing Queen," bellowed MTM after Ronaldo reverted to the winking, diving, showpony of yesteryear by tumbling in the box after little or no contact. " I won't mind if we broke his leg."
Instead, the Spurs broke Van Der Saar's nose when Robbie Keane took a page out of Stephen Hunt's How To Decapitate A Goalkeeper Instructional Manual and accidentally nailed the big Dutchman in the honker while trying to hurdle him. So relaxed and confident are United these days, however, that Sir Alex first handed Van Der Saar's jersey to Ferdinand who showed off his ripped torso to the crowd, then changed his mind and gave it to pudgy defender John O'Shea, who mercifully did not disrobe. What a contrast Fergie's cool demeanor was to the scowling mien of the Special One, whose depleted Blues struggled to overcome Championship-bound Charlton 1-0. Chelsea started with Sheva on the field, Terry on the bench, Wayne Bridge on for Ashley Cole (is there a more pleasingly karmic image than Cole rolling around in agony after injuring his left knee against Blackburn?) and Lippi in for Mourinho. Oh, sorry, that last change hasn't happened yet, but it couldn't have improved the Special One's mood to hear that Italy's World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi announced last week he was "on the wanted list at a number of big clubs, but specifically at Chelsea." We'll miss you when you're gone, Jose. Honest.
But enough with the foreigners. This was a weekend to celebrate all that is holy in American sports, and by that, I mean the weird and wonderful sight of four Yanks on the field in a Premiership game. Fulham had three of them — McBride, Bocanegra and Dempsey — but it was Gooch's debut for Newcastle that had us hoisting our pints high at Kinsale. Onyewu made his brawny presence felt almost immediately with a couple of clattering tackles that reminded me what a formidable defender he was before the Czech Republic exposed him. There was even one delicious moment when he went up with McBride for a header, the two Americans jostling for position and supremacy on English soil. McBride won the dual only because his 73rd minute strike gave Fulham a 2-1 win, but Gooch was given a 7 out of 10 rating by the BBC for his performance.
When they embraced at the end, all the "commie pansies" at Kinsale applauded.