Merry Pitchmas

This morning, Toronto feels different. Folks aren’t at work – they’re on the patios and in the streets. They’re watching TVs on their stoops and sharing barbeque and beer with their neighbours. There’s an expectant, optimistic, celebratory atmosphere that I can feel even in solitude in my home. It’s like Christmas for football fans. It’s Pitchmas.

This morning as I made coffee the foamer on my counter-top espresso machine vied for sonic domination but succumbed to the eternal drone of thousands of vuvuzelas. Twenty-two of the world’s finest players danced the ball across the pitch. I cheered and gasped. I was be-goosebumped.

In line with my very personal (or, according to friend and soccer blogger Zach Strauss, shamefully indecisive) approach to the beautiful game, I’ll be reporting on World Cup goings-on in my typically tangential way. I’ll leave the game commentary in Zach’s able hands. Any match that requires auto-defibrillation – twice! – is an hour and a half well-spent. Oh, and also, South Africa’s jerseys are king.

On this first day of Pitchmas I bring you a gift: On June 6, the New York Times ran a story about South Africa’s Vakhegula Vakhegula (Grannies Grannies), a soccer team made up of women between the ages of 49 and 84.

Vakhegula Vakhegula

Vakhegula Vakhegula, photo from the New York Times

Read the story. It’ll take 10 minutes of your time and will fill you with soccer-y goodness. The next 30 days will be a feast of technically exquisite football – the football of demigods. And – lucky us! –  because this game is loved everywhere and by everyone, it will also be a celebration of the football of the people.

UPDATE: Two-page feature, “They kick like grannies, proudly” on Vakhegula Vakhegula from the Los Angeles Times.

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