Guest Writer Matt Monks, Delaware 105.9 Talk Show Host
see your eyes rolling up in their sockets. Let me tell you a story. One that just might capture your heart and mind, changing your view of the World Cup. When I was a boy, and I mean little. Probably around the time I began to talk, I loved sports. Not sports per sey. I enjoyed competition. Like who could put their socks on the fastest or who could finish the entire family size can of SpaghettiO’s. Honestly, and to this day, I have no idea where that came from.
My father, a normal, hardworking, 5’7”, 138 pound man who excelled in literature, earned his MLS,Master of Library Science, was proficient in Cabinet Making, while putting food on the table as an Accountant and later, a Systems Analyst. Emmitt Smith he ain’t. My mother, a Registered Nurse for as long as I’ve known her. 4’11” with red hair and five kids. Mom hadn’t the time to become interested, intrigued or immersed in the world of sports, save for the weekly Cardinal’s Baseball game on TV.
My father was a “by the numbers”, “logical” (think Mr. Spock here), somewhat rigid person while my mother was the Bluebird of Happiness High Priestess.
So Spock … I mean dad … came over on the boat from a little town called Dublin in the country of Ireland. I found out, years later, my father, growing up, was a slight boy. The youngest of the boys, 3 of them, and only older than two of his sisters, 3 of them. But there was a sport he enjoyed playing for a time as a lad, evolving into a regular habit of spectating; soccer.
Being Irish, I began playing soccer before I could walk and was organizing neighborhood games as soon as I could say “soccer”. I knew the basics of soccer, position by position, and I could quickly and succinctly explain the offside rule to anyone.
The bottom line is, beginning at the tender age of let’s say birth, it was all about Matty, that’s me, being a soccer player. And brother, I loved it and I excelled at it! I was so far ahead of other kids by the time we started playing organized ball. I absolutely loved it. Not being forced or anything. I just wanted to do it.
So from basically the age of my conception, my father and I have shared Futbol, AKA soccer. From the EPL, English Premier League, to the Bundesliga, Germany, to La Liga, Spain, we shared an affinity for good, solid, team soccer. That enjoyment extended to our area college soccer teams too. We’d attend games together; rain, snow, sleet or hail. Seriously. I’ve watched LIVE games with my dad, standing on the unprotected and uncovered sidelines, in all of those conditions! That’s how nuts he was, we were.
So every four years – no matter where we were – no matter what was happening – we’d steal time away to coordinate, travel and meet for a few choice World Cup matches. Every World Cup would bring another indelible memory to add to the memory banks of our minds. Somewhere along the line we’d begin preparations for the NEXT World Cup. It was so much fun!.
Dad passed in late 2014. That was the last World Cup we shared, when Germany delivered and made it a World Cup run for the ages. Another great memory. So, just in case you hear me running down the neighborhood streets screaming at the top of my lungs – “The World Cup is Here!, The World Cup is Here! – know that I’m not shouting to be some sort of soccer hooligan. No, it’s just me … talking to my dad.
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