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so, soccer ≠ dirty?

June 11, 2006

Mr. Angst and I are watching Mexico vs. Iran in the World Cup right now. The game is changing my whole conception of soccer players, though.

Based on my personal experience with soccer boys in college, you see, I thought all soccer players were dirty.

My dorm room was above the men’s soccer team’s locker room. It was sort of a weird arrangement, actually. My dorm was the closest building to the soccer field, so I guess it made sense to put the locker room there. But my dorm was also all-girls and mostly freshmen. (I lived there because I got a HUGE single.) And It wasn’t unusual for freshman women to freak out a little in the laundry room, the first time they would realize that the door marked “locker room” wasn’t a holdover from the building’s history as part of a military academy. Smelly, hairy boys would traipse in and out without shirts on, right past the rows of washers and dryers. Invariably, some unsuspecting young woman would be pulling her unmentionables from a dryer right as a half-naked soccer player sauntered by. Frantic calls to the dorm staff would ensue. (I never could figure out why they didn’t tell the girls the boy’s locker room was down there during dorm orientation. My best guess is that most of the dorm staff were so used to it by then that they’d just forget.)

So, anyway. Soccer boys, in my experience, were always a little dirty. When I’d see them walking to and from the building, they were dirty. When I’d see them around campus, they were dirty. They didn’t seem to shave often. They never got their hair cut. They would shower, but somehow always looked a little sweaty anyway. Their clothes were typically rumpled and their shoes (always black Adidas) were always totally destroyed. After meals in the dining hall, they’d kick the hacky sack around with dirty bare feet. They were always NICE, but always, ALWAYS, dirty.

The Mexican and Iranian players, however, appear to be mostly tidy. Yes, they are sweaty, because they’ve been running around for 45 minutes. But they have (mostly) clean-cut hair and (mostly) clean-shaven faces. Soccer, as it turns out, isn’t a sport for the perennially dirty. It makes me wonder if it’s just the American flavor of soccer that’s sort of unclean. Maybe it’s just college soccer that’s dirty. I honestly don’t know. But I’m glad to know it’s not soccer itself.

Categories: off the beaten path
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