Go Ask Daddy: World Cup Edition

photo credit: Kiwicanary via photopin cc
photo credit: Kiwicanary via photopin cc

I spent Father’s Day much the same way I spent Christmas – sick on the couch.

But unlike Christmas, I had the World Cup to occupy my waking hours. Jesus is just all right and all, but a month of soccer? It was just what the doctor ordered between whooping coughs and snotty noses. Even Jesus could get behind this.

Elise, as she did last time, got sick at just the same time I did.

This time, we could binge on soccer matches. Last time, it was a marathon session on Bones, season 1. I took a course from Dr. Kathy Reichs at UNC Charlotte. I saw things that haunt me to this day. She’d show up slides while she ate a sandwich.


This time for our dual sickness, Elise noticed something interesting – the herbal tea bag I just used had a fortune on it. YOUR CHOICES WILL CHANGE THE WORLD. Peace. Accord. Preservation of natural resources. And end to homelessness and hunger.

Elise doesn’t just succumb to germs like her daddy. Apparently, she thinks like him too. This is the text she sent me after we’d contemplated my choices.


So, I’m starting with the man in the mirror. And my World Cup, which runneth over with kid questions like these:

1. Is there a World Cup for girls?

photo credit: Dimmerswitch via photopin cc
photo credit: Dimmerswitch via photopin cc

In two years, it’ll be y’all’s turn.

The FIFA women’s World Cup is played every four years, like the men’s. The U.S. beat Norway 2-1 in the first women’s final. The field is half the men’s – 16 – and nations must qualify in preliminary rounds, just as in the men’s game.

FIFA says there are 29 million women and girls who play soccer worldwide. That’s a lot of ponytails. And Hope Solo is one of them. That’s her there, on the left. Now that’s change I can get behind all day long.

Japan is reigning champ; Germany and the U.S. have won the tournament twice each. The next one is in Canada in 2015. So Elise, you’d better get to work – that’s a mere 351 days away.

2. Do they broadcast games in other languages?

photo credit: zinjixmaggir via photopin cc
photo credit: zinjixmaggir via photopin cc

You can hear this World Cup in at least three languages. My favorite, though, is British. Just the expressions they use to describe the events.

“It was a moment of panic for the back line, as they feared the opposing side would have an opportunity early.”

“Another chance goes banging to the bleachers!”

“When it comes to the crunch, he’s there with scoring.”

It’s cool to listen in Spanish, too. Even a wayward pass or routine throw-in sounds crucial when you roll your Rs.

3. Who is the oldest and youngest player in the World Cup?

photo credit: Tomas Caspers via photopin cc
photo credit: Tomas Caspers via photopin cc

Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon (above) checks in at age 43, a good 4 years older than his nearest competition. He’s just a little bit older than me. He’s not too old to be on The Twitter, apparently.

Cameroon’s Fabrice Olinga could be Mondragon’s son, at 18 years and one month. His nickname? Happy Feet. See him in this video.

4. Do soccer referees have to know the languages of both teams?

photo credit: Live And Basic via photopin cc
photo credit: Live And Basic via photopin cc

Some soccer language is universal the finger wag, the stop sign, and a hand up with a yellow or red card in it leaves little to interpretation.

Nothing says chaos like an Asian official sandwiched between an angry Frenchman and a combative Honduran in an African football stadium. Many international players know more than one language. Expletives of all languages are easy to pick out.

For this World Cup, all officials had to pass a written and spoken test of English. What a disadvantage, if American goalkeeper Tim Howard gets a little hot under the collar and lets loose a tirade of blue language that a Swedish official might hear.

He could see una tarjeta rojo.

5. Do World Cup players watch other games?

photo credit: Robert_Ball via photopin cc
photo credit: Robert_Ball via photopin cc

It’s doubtful. You don’t see a lot of profilin’ when the cameras scan the crowd. They’re back in the hotel fixing their hair or playing xBox.

And you don’t expect English star Wayne Rooney (left) to hit the bleachers with Australian fans, for instance.

Even if his team is mathematically eliminated.

I’m just glad the cameras don’t pan from the action to show Julianne Hough and Kerry Washington in the stands to promote “Dancing With the Stars” or “Scandal.”

6. What was the lowest-ranked team to win the World Cup?

Rankings have been in effect only since 1992. That’s older than Happy Feet, but way younger than Faryd Mondragon.

France in 1998, at a World Cup it hosted, won as the FIFA rankings’ No. 18 team. Playing on your home grounds is a key ingredient for the recipe of a champion. Before Le Bleu, five other nations (Argentina, England, Italy, Uruguay and West Germany) won at home.

7. How much is a World Cup ticket?

Got 90 bucks? You’re golden. Kind of.

That’s the minimum for a standard World Cup ticket, $10 more than the lowest price in 2010 for the South Africa tournament. Brazilian students and seniors have access to $15 tickets. Opening match prices for Brazil vs. Croatia were $220 to $495.

Feeling like a champ? That’ll cost you $440 to $990 if you want to see the tournament final. That’s a lot of taco-truck tacos.

8. What are FIFA rules for substitutes?

photo credit: Bernzilla via photopin cc
photo credit: Bernzilla via photopin cc

I like that FIFA calls its rules laws. Sounds so authoritative. Yet, most laws are “subject to officials’ discretion.” It’s where the “because I said so” rules apply. Or, laws.

Teams are allowed three substitutions per match in the World Cup. FIFA rules – I mean, laws – allow for as many as six … at the official’s discretion. A player may not re-enter a game after he leaves, giving him time to find Wayne Rooney and Julianne Hough.

9. How do they pick the kids who come out with the players?

Wouldn’t it be cool if they tried to find a kid who looked like the player?

This is done not only in World Cup matches, but many games. Kids are usually picked from local leagues. Especially in rivalry matches, maybe players would think twice before talking blue-language smack in the tunnel if tender young ears could hear.

It is untrue that the winning team gets to take the children home afterward.

10. I know why they cover their groin, but why do male players cover their boobs on free kicks?

Have you ever been kicked with a soccer ball in the nipples?

Oh. Never mind.

When nipples and nuts are kept out of the equation … a free kick can be a thing of beauty.

And one more video, by request, to teach you how to do the Colombian victory dance:


  1. Stephanie says:

    I started smiling at “y’alls” – and I’m going to let my soccer playing daughter read this…you answer the questions way better than I could. Also – I thought the SportsCenter video was going to end with the kid asking if he washed his hands after the bathroom. We know he didn’t, you can tell by the flush. Poor kid. (I may be overthinking this one.)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Up early or late, Steph? Thanks! I got so many World Cup questions – mostly sitting here sick with Elise – that it warranted a Go Ask Daddy of its own!

      You know, you’re right on the flush … and then he held the kid’s hand, didn’t he? We boys are kind of gross sometimes, aren’t we?

      Hope Solo would have washed her hands.

      1. Stephanie says:

        Almost any girl would have. At least in this house.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Boys are gross.

  2. “Because I said so” – isn’t that usually MOM’s LAW?

    We get to see the games commented by our own Swiss sports guys. But I know what you mean – the British are a class of their own – commenting, not playing soccer as it turns out. Hockey neither:

    Feel better soon, double E – Elise & Eli! Oh, and while you change the world for the better, would you mind putting some vitamins into Coke Zero?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That IS mom’s law – forget rule!

      My kids have never seen a good English team. It’s a sign of the times. They also know Michael Jordan only as a tepid team owner, not the greatest player ever.

      We’ll do our best to get on the mend … right now, we’re a matching chorus of coughs, we two. And what are you talking about Tamara?

      Coke Zero is loaded with vitamins and iron, and is part of a complete breakfast.*

      *-along with toast, eggs, fruit, milk, and juice.

      1. The day I’ll have milk for breakfast… well, just forget it.
        I’m so bummed they removed the pancakes at my supermarket. The ones you could warm up in the toaster. It didn’t sell enough, they said.
        So to cheer me up, I wanted to ask you to add a video of the Colombian team doing the victory dance, I thought that was quite a choreographic performance last night!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Is that wrong in Switzerland, milk for breakfast? I think you just need the Ultimate Coach Daddy pancake recipe. Not toaster-friendly, but still awesome.

        I’ve found a how-to video that I’ll add to the post now. Better warm up first!

  3. rsrote says:

    Sad that you had such a crummy Father’s Day….Happy Fußball was there to entertain you…my family watches the British too–that alone is fun! Some soccer language is universal-like a Pepe’s head butt. Super post =) Hope your feeling better.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Like Christmas, though, there was a silver lining – back then, I got to watch whatever I wanted to, which might or might not have included multiple episodes of Veronica Mars.

      Yes, Pepe’s head butt! I wish I was David Letterman because then I could steal that idea and write it in as my own. Zidane’s head butt still sets the standard!

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    Dang, I’ve been beaten to the post. Hi Tamara. Well mate, I think you’ve answered every question one needs to know about the World Cup. I returned to England in 2002 and was in my home town when England lost and grown men were crying in the streets. I’m sure the suicide rate goes up when this happens. Now there’s a question for you. I certainly know that Croatians are prone to overexcitement at soccer games. When I worked at the jail a local Croatian team came in to play against the inmates. man didn’t they cheat. We had to escort the referee to his car and the spectators rushed us and tried to stab the ref. Phew. Great post by the way.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Took too long with desert tonight I suspect, mate. I tried to cover it all with the cup, except for explanations of flopping and why Landon Donovan isn’t in Brazil.

      There’ve been a lot of grown men crying in the streets in England, what with the football first of all, and then One Direction. Oh, you said grown men.

      I fear for officials’ lives after every Brazilian match in these games. You can chalk it up to passion to an extent, but when it becomes crimes of passion …

      Thanks mate. Let’s you and I try and keep the peace around here, at least. This crowd is squirrelly at best, but hardly ever unruly.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Mate, don’t go missing out on the beauty sleep. Too much dessert? Well they say to feed a cold and starve a fever. I love that, One Direction. You’re funnier when you’re sick.
        Soccer violence is never good, thankfully there hasn’t bee anything happening in that direction for a while now. I’m still knackered after the BBQ, I’ll leave it up to you to sort this squirrelly mob out.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I say feed sickness of all kinds.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Unless it’s a fatty burger and you have a gall bladder attack and then it’s blu………………………………..rk.

    2. Yeah, I was wondering where you were this morning, Laurie? In line at Immigration maybe? Yes, the “other countries” line? Where you’re not supposed to play with your mobile phone, but could spend your time eating that apple. Just so they don’t take it from you..!

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        It wasn’t the phone they were worried about, or the apple. It was the whipped cheese covered crocodile steak in the Esky that Eli didn’t get around to eating. Then they figured my mower was a weapon of grass destruction. That set me back down the line. I leave my hat outside on the bench at home and it attracts a small, black spider now and then. Well, when they saw that I was manhandled off my mower to the accompaniment of rubber gloves being snapped on. I had to crouch over my seat for the rest of the trip home. 😦

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Sounds like you could have had a return blog post based on your return home, mate.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Mate I could’ve spun it out to the nth degree. It’s amazing what pops up when you start thinking about it. It would be a brave guard who went anywhere near my bum after a BBQ like that. Those crocs take some digesting.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        He was probably catching Zs under that hat.

  5. laurie27wsmith says:

    Hope you’re feeling better, nothing worse than a cold.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The nice nurse practitioner here gave me drugs. I’m feeling good.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Way to go!

  6. ksbeth says:

    changing the world one hot wing at a time…..

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      that needs to be a t-shirt, beth. you in on the revolution?

      1. ksbeth says:

        i’m in and i’ve been a strong supporter of this cause for years!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        i think we first need a national holiday.

  7. Totally hoping both of you are feeling better and nothing like a dad and daughter being sick to share the World Cup together!!! Hell, neither my husband or oldest or sick and they still can’t get enough of it in my house either 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’ve definitely made the most of being germy, Janine. She came with me to work today so she could watch the Italy match!

  8. Kerri says:

    I love Elise’s choices for change all centered around comfort food. I mean you could change the world to be in peace and harmony but it is better to solve the hunger first. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I don’t know where she gets that, Kerri. What do they say, think globally, eat locally?

  9. djmatticus says:

    England aren’t mathematically eliminated yet! They could be in a couple hours after the Costa Rica vs. Italy game. But, they’ve got at least a little while longer to hold on to the slim hope that they could advance. (Italy victory against Costa Rica today and Uruguay in the final game, and they need to beat Costa Rica in their final game by a large enough margin to have the best goal differential. So, yeah, slim, but there is still hope.)
    Two funny sightings in the crowd stories. Yesterday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was seen in the crowd at the England game. And right after Gary Neville retired from Manchester United, he was spotted in the crowd jumping and singing with the supporters in the very next game.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I shouldn’t have been so quick to bury the Brits! Love what Costa Rica has put together against Italy, at least for 65 minutes. I’ve held onto slimmer hopes than England holds!

      I think I’d be like Gary Neville – it’d be hard to walk away completely. I’d want to get into the stands finally and see it from that side.

      1. djmatticus says:

        Yeah, loved seeing Neville in the stands that day. That’s where I’d want to be too.

        England’s hopes are getting slimmer by the minute. They need two goals from Italy, with less than 20 minutes to go. There is still hope, but…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Outside of U.S., Spain is my rooting interest. They were eliminated the same day my favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, got no-hit.

      3. djmatticus says:

        That’s a rough day for you. As a quasi-Dodgers fan though, and happy to see the death of tika-taka, it was a good day for me. Sorry.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Tomorrow’s another day, my man.

      5. djmatticus says:

        Your burial of the Brits seems somewhat prophetic now… I’m not sure if I want to curse you or congratulate you.

      6. Eli Pacheco says:

        You can always root for the Americans now.

      7. djmatticus says:

        I was rooting for the Americans to begin with. I only root for England because I watch a lot of Premier League, and have some favorite players that are on the squad.

      8. Eli Pacheco says:

        Nice. I tend to go with the underdogs, and the Americans – luckily, they’re often one and the same.

  10. Kim says:

    Bummer to being sick but glad you had good company and good entertainment.
    I haven’t watched any of the World Cup – soccer is one sport that I’ve never really watched.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It wasn’t a bad tradeoff, Kim – I’d rather be sick with good company and entertainment than healthy with a dodgers fan and a musical, for instance.

      Until my kids started playing I didn’t get soccer – at all.

  11. Emotions are riding high around here. Last night we had a bbq for my son’s soccer team, and one of the moms was lamenting because her husband’s beloved Honduras lost (he was home watching the game) which I believe means that they are headed nowhere but home.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If my calculations are correct, Honduras would need to beat Switzerland by at least 2, and France to beat Ecuador by 3, to sneak into the knockout round. Not impossible, but …

      Emotions do run so high. Imagine it’s like being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, and every four years, needing to be better than two of your rivals to move on to the playoffs.

      And that’s IF you qualify to play at all!

      Honduras have maybe the best shirts in their group, though.

  12. Oh my more about the world cup than I ever thought to ask! Now that England’s out, we’re not as all a flutter about it in this house anymore!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Tricia, you know we specialize in stuff you never knew you never knew. With the Brits playing for nothing, It’ll be a test to see if my girls can stay loyal to America on Sunday with the pretty Cristiano Renaldo on Portugal’s side!

  13. MeglyMc says:

    Having breastfed twins for ENTIRELY too long…I don’t question the nipples cover for a second.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I took a glancing shot on one nipple at soccer practice one day. It just grazed me. But it felt like someone rubbed my nipple with sandpaper then set it on fire.

      1. MeglyMc says:

        This is why they give you painkillers post partum. It’s not for your crotch…it’s totally for your boobs.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Why do I have nipples anyway?

      3. MeglyMc says:

        Because all embryos are female until a few weeks in, when the Y-chromosome kicks in (for some, obviously), and differentiates the genitalia.

        Bet you’re glad you asked.

  14. Rosey says:

    Even on vacation (which we were all last week) my husband had these games running, and if we were out he was reading about them on his handheld. He tried to get his name drawn for tickets, but didn’t get selected in the draws. Big boo, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, I guess. 🙂

    Sorry to hear you were sick on Father’s Day!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s impossible to concentrate on life at large while there’s a Cup match going on. To get picked for the draw would have been awesome – I’d have no idea how to get there, but it would be awesome.

      Nice thing is, i can go to a Mexican restaurant tonight in my USA gear and watch them play Portugal. No draw required!

      Even for a germy day, it was a great day to be a dad.

  15. tamaralikecamera says:

    Hoping you’re both feeling good as new. What does new feel like anyway? Like a crying, sleeping newborn? I feel that way.
    I’m deflecting here because I don’t know a single thing about the World Cup and if I had $90, I’d just ask for nine dollars more and go to a blogging conference.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We almost do feel like new. So, maybe gently used? But not like a newborn with no teeth and a diaper. Although we’ve felt that way too.

      I happen to know a stellar blog conference that costs exactly $99,

  16. Sandy Ramsey says:

    I’m sorry you were sick for Father’s Day. That stinks but yes, I bet World Cup games made it a little easier to bear. This is a lot of info….I like it. I’m not really a soccer fan (can we still be friends?) but I’m watching because, well, USA. By the way, you said “y’all” :).
    What brand of herbal tea was that? I’m corny and like little wisdoms on my teabags.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Sandy – a day on the couch wasn’t so bad with my loving girls around. I seem to like to mark holidays with germs.

      The girls asked so many World Cup questions, it had to be done. We did the same with the Olympics. And yes, USA. In the hours before the match with Portugal, I had that anxious coach feeling like I was going to coach them!

      I’ll check on that brand … Elise and I have gone through more tea than a hipster scraping wifi at a coffee shop. (they do that, don’t they?)

  17. Rorybore says:

    we haven’t been watching much here in Canada — I discovered pretty late that the games are televised like WAY UP in the high numbered channels. But I do know that some of the players like to go back to their hotels and skinny dip at night. And Europeans do not have the word “shy” in their languages apparently.
    Tumblr is a beautiful and scary black hole of the web.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think only the ladies’ team is worthy up there, Rore. A lot of bloggers also skinny dip, I hear. I think Europeans know what shy is, it’s modest they have trouble with.

      I’ve never Tumblr’ed … is this what I’m missing?

  18. gina4star says:

    Wow, I learned a hella lot here! 🙂 Bit late to the party (as usual) so hope (sure you are both) feeling much better, but… it’s kinda cute that you were ill together and could World Cup binge together! ❤ The World Cup is amaaazing this year (well, apart from all my teams not being in it anymore England, then Ghana, then Mexico, then USA… 😦 now I'm onto Colombia for no reason other than I saw a funny meme of Shakira with her son "Forget what I told you, Milan. You are not Spanish, you are Colombian.") Also… that picture of Wayne Rooney… well I'm speechless!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s all about the education around here, Gina. She and I are good at getting sick at the same time – and we’ve both managed to injure our right arms, and I have no explanation.

      You’re kind of bad luck to World Cup teams – mind if we ask you to root on Brazil next? Colombia is my favorite still in, and I’ll rest easier when the Dutch and Germans are ousted.

      1. gina4star says:

        Aw bless, hope the right arms get better soon! How strange! Haha, sure thing, just for you… and the sake of football as I clearly am bad luck, I will root for Brazil next. It’s going to be a corker of a game tomorrow! 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks – we just need a little therapy. And by therapy i mean to complain to each other and look stuff up on Web Md.

        Can you imagine the corker had America gone through to face Argentina?

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh and Rooney – so accurate, eh? Even down to the sunburn. Gotta love that bloke.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.