America is a women’s soccer nation.
The USMNT did well to reach the quarterfinals in Copa America. When I see kids on the pitch, though, they’re not in Clint Dempsey or Jozy Altidore shirts. They’re in Barca and Man U shirts, paying homage to Messi and Ronaldo and Neymar.
What about the girls?
They’re in shirts with Morgan and Wambach on the back. They’re imitating Carli Lloyd and Julie Johnston and Kelly O’Hara. Their teams are built like Jill Ellis’. The boys’ teams, the men’s program, they lack the identity of girls’ soccer and the women’s national team.
That’s not a slight on boys or men. I’m one, in fact.
It’s a tough spot for the men’s national team. Our best players can’t supplant the aura of the world’s best. The women, for girls? They’re the best in the world. They don’t have to find Marta or Christine Sinclair or Homare Sawa to follow and emulate a star.
1. Who is the world’s No. 1 women’s soccer team?
Is there any doubt? It’s the U.S.A.
Germany, France and England round out the top four. The U.S. just beat all three of those sides in the SheBelieves Cup, all by narrow margins. Talk about battle tested. Japan, whom the Americans defeated in the World Cup, fell to 7th.
You girls and I talk about how each of you plays like a certain player; Elise, like Hopey Solo. Marie, with shades of Mia Hamm. There’s some Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach in Grace’s play.
Ultimately, though, it’s your own styles that emerge in your play. And that’s worth a No. 1 ranking in my book.
2. Does the moon have anything to do about the time change?
Nope. That’s all on Barack Obama – when we lose an hour, at least.
We gain that hour back thanks to that great American patriot, John McCain. Or was it Ross Perot? The moon inspires poets and causes ocean waves, but it’s innocent when it comes to Daylight Savings Time.
While the moon is busy waxing and waning and photobombing Halloween pictures, we can thank our Canadian friends for implementing a plan to maximize sunlight hours.
Thunder Bay, a town in Canada, first observed Daylight Savings Time in 1908. Germany became the first nation to do it, in 1916 – presumably to get an extra hour of training to catch up with the American women in soccer.
The Romans used it hundreds of years before us, though. And Italy (14th) isn’t even in the top 10 in FIFA women’s rankings. Sheesh.
3. What does ‘schmuck’ mean?
It’s for anyone who doesn’t vote the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 women’s soccer team. It means “a foolish or contemptable person.”
Don’t ask a German; for them, schmuck means “jewelry or adornments,” maybe the gold medals the Americans wear. In Old Polish, it’s a “grass snake or dragon,” which sounds like a fine mascot for a minor-league baseball team.
For the Yiddish, it’s bad stuff, girls. Thought Catalog published a list of 61 Yiddish insults, which feels like it ought to be essential.
4. What are those red things for in football?
Those are the Kansas City Chiefs, honey.
They’re to remind us that not all teams need to win a silly Super Bowl to have fun with their friends on Sunday afternoons. They’re actually challenge flags. American football coaches heave them onto the field in defiance of a call officials made on the field.
Usually, this comes after great consternation from players who think they saw the play differently, and 70,000 drunken fans who watched it right there on the JumboTron.
A head coach can challenge two referees’ calls per game. If both calls are overturned, he’s given one more, perhaps on merit. He must toss the flag on the field before the next play starts. If he’s wrong? His team is charged a timeout.
He can’t challenge if his team has no timeouts left.
Speaking of the Chiefs (weren’t we?) In 2016, their coach, Andy Reid, had his red challenge flag stolen – by an assistant coach. It looked like a pickpocket job, but really, Reid had asked someone to swipe his flag during the final two minutes of a half. Why?
All plays can be reviewed in the final two minutes of a half. If a coach tosses the flag anyway during this time, his team is subject to a 15-yard penalty. Who has time for that?
Someone call security, Andy Reid just had his challenge flag boosted from his pocket pic.twitter.com/3WxnK1GMrj
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 16, 2016
You can also buy them on Amazon.
5. Can you use Hair Club on your face?
I can’t find a single thing on the Hair Club website about beard enhancements.
I can grow something on my face, but not those manicured shrub beards the hipsters love. I saw a dude whose beard was cut into what I can only describe as the end of an elf’s wooden shoe. I wonder what Darwin would have to say about that.
So, I called Hair Club’s 24-hour hotline to ask about my face. Or, dudes’ faces.
The man in the corporate office knew that I’d been online, from the number I called. Creeper. I said it wasn’t really for me, you see. It’s for … my blog.
“I just need to know if you can replace hair on a man’s face,” I said.
“Are you also losing hair on your head?”
Dude. I don’t need you.
He asked what city and state I lived in. Somehow, he didn’t creep that data on me. He found a center in Charlotte, N.C. and advised I call them.
“Hair Club for men, this is Dani.”
“Hey Dani! How are you this morning?”
(Note: When someone on the phone doesn’t then ask how you are? It’s going to be a rocky ride 87% of the time.)
I explained the blog thing and half expected her to hang up.
“I just need to know if you can do your thing on a guy’s face.”
“Psh, kids,” I offered.
Dani put me on hold. Without any music, even. No Neil Diamond, no Sublime.
Then she came back.
“You’re going to have to call our corporate office for that,” Dani offered.
I didn’t call corporate again. I didn’t even think of tossing out my challenge flag, either.