I am currently polishing my book about the eight World Cups I have covered, enjoying memories from Barcelona in 1982 to the American rally against Algeria in 2010 on a goal by – now here’s a name from the past -- Landon Donovan.
The bulk of the book needs to be turned in by July 1 so it can be published next May, before the World Cup in Brazil.
However, the last chapter is just sitting there, unfinished and unresolved. Right now it looks like the editor could be waiting for the final chunk of copy in late November.
Our Lads are currently in the middle of six finalists from their region. The American team plays its two final qualifiers, against Jamaica in Kansas City on Oct. 11, and in Panama on Oct. 15. But if the Yanks finish fourth, they will have to play a home-and-home series against New Zealand, the winner from the Oceania Football Confederation, in November.
After watching the Americans once again look inadequate in a friendly against Belgium on Wednesday night, I don’t see them dominating their Concacaf region. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team plays his home nation of Germany in Washington, D.C., on Sunday at 2:30 PM in good old RFK Stadium.
The Germans have not called in regulars from Bayern Munich or Dortmund, who played in the Champions League final last Saturday, but I think reserve players from the Bundesliga could infiltrate the American defense.
This generation – at least the version assembled and coached by Klinsmann – is clearly not working out. After watching the defense bumble against Belgium, I am extremely nostalgic for stalwarts of the past.
Whatever Donovan has left, can you imagine how he could open up the field with his speed and experience?
As of now, the last chapter in my soccer book is sitting there, awaiting a conclusion.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)