The World Cup opened play yesterday. One of the best times of the quadrennium is upon us and it opened in spectacular fashion with this truly remarkable opening kick:
That man is paralyzed from the waist down, but technology developed by scientists from all over the world (mainly the US) came together to allow electrical impulses to be read by the brain and transmitted to a set of robotic legs...all in time to show it off on one of Sport's grandest stages. If you like, you can read more about this amazing advance at The Verge and at Grantland.
As for this week's Friday Afternoon Video, well...you'll rarely see me shilling for ESPN, but this commercial is so well done (according to both myself and my 2 year old son) that it seemed fitting. For those hoping for music, I've included a bonus video for The White Stripe's Seven Nation Army, which is of great, if waning, cultural significance to the modern soccer fan.
To continue a topic that has been brought up by both Matthew Tennant and many others, I can't help but think about the US being awarded/rewarded with the World Cup in 2022. First off, let me be clear, all of the reasons that make this so much fun to daydream about are the reasons why the US should have clearly beaten Qatar to host the World Cup in the first place. Moving past that, how would you award the host cities if you were put in charge? While there are some requirements for stadium capacity, I think it's clear that the US already has the infrastructure for this. In light of that, here are the factors that I am considering:
- Try to spread out the 12 host cities geographically and according to population density
- Trying to group those cities by region, attempting to minimize travel for the teams
- Cities that have large (read: NFL) stadia
- Cities that seem like they would be fun for me to visit
- Cities that seem like they would be fun for foreign citizens to visit
In light of that, here are my Pods/Groups/Whatever:
West: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles
Central: Chicago, Denver, Dallas
Southeast(ish): New Orleans, Miami, Washington DC
Northeast: Boston, New York, Philadelphia
Each Pod/Group/Whatever would host 2 Groups. Withing a group, there are 4 teams, 6 matches, 3 matches for each team, 2 matches for each site. This potentially allows for each team in a group to visit every site in a Pod/Group/Whatever, though that may not be the ideal travel scenario. Each site in this scenario would get 4 games in the Group Stage. From there:
Round of 16: Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago Denver, New Orleans, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia
Quarterfinals: Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New York
Semifinals: Dallas, New Orleans
Finals: Los Angeles
Every site would get another game within the next 2 rounds. The advantage here is that fan bases would theoretically have to travel less, or at least wouldn't have to cross many time zones, if their team advanced. For the final 3 games, I tried to put the semifinal sites in the central time zone to make for an easier transition to LA for the winners. These 3 sites would host 6 games instead of 5.
It should be noted that the US has so many large cities and large stadia that they could easily spread the wealth a bit more. If you'd like that idea better, or any other idea, leave your thoughts in the comments.