I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to the finals of the Women's World Cup for soccer this Sunday. Three reasons:
1. I'm American, and Sunday we have a chance to be the best at something. If it were tiddlywinks, I'd watch.
2. I have a 13 year old daughter that plays soccer for one of those "high level for her age" soccer clubs, so by rule this means I have to watch with her.
3. If the U.S. women do win, I'm giddy to see how many ways I'll be told the world is going to change because our women won something. I mean, weren't we all supposed to be reporting to female CEO's by now after the American women won in 1999? What? That hasn't happened yet? Oh.
So the "loving America" part is easy. I love America every day. But sporting events are at the apex of sports fan stimulation when you combine undying love for one team with rabid hatred for another. Frankly, it's been a while since I've had to hate Japan with respect to anything athletic.
(Point of clarification: I don't literally hate nor want to literally hate the Japanese women. We're talking "sports hate." Preemptive disclaimer for the inevitable "guy who takes me way too literally.")
Seriously, I racked my brain trying to think of when I've had to direct extreme vitriol at the Japanese for athletic purposes. Hell, if anything, Mr. Myagi in 1984 singlehandedly made me want to apply for honorary Japanese citizenship after the The Karate Kid.
Then, it hit me. As usual, the path to truthful feelings passed right though Stamford, CT and the WWF (the old name for WWE before the World Wildlife Fund got litigious).
Back in the early 80s, there was no more hated WWF tag team duo than the Japanese villains Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito (maybe Afa and Sika, The Wild Samoans, but they were more feared than hated). Managed by The bombastic Captain Lou Albano, a rather hatable old cuss in his own right, Fuji and Saito held the WWF tag team titles on multiple occasions. Rarely did an important match of theirs run its course without the rulebook being completely pissed upon by the Japanese tandem.
So, back to 2011. Now, through the magic of YouTube, I realized I can achieve sports fan maximum stimulation by cranking up some old Fuji and Saito chicanery on the video stream. So, here you go, Fuji and Saito using some good ol' fashioned Japanese cheating to win the tag straps from Tony Garea and Rick Martel.
Assuming you haven't watched a Japanese team compete since 1982 (like me), you are now formulating your expectations for Sunday based on that video. I know I am. I am now fully expecting the following come Sunday:
1. The Japanese coach will be wearing a green kimono, a headband and sandals like Captain Lou Albano, which would still make him or her the second most compelling coach in the game behind the Pete Carroll lookalike that coaches our ladies.
2. Whenever the referee's back is turned, expect plenty of underhanded tactics from the Japanese because as the old school WWF taught us, foreigners are, by and large, devious cheaters who will take a mile when given an inch. (Pay no attention to he fact that Garea is from New Zealand and Martel from French Canada. They're de facto Americans because they look like us.)
3. Salt. There will be a shit ton of salt this Sunday. Seriously, the Japanese ladies are gonna throw so much salt in our ladies' eyes, the field is going to look like the bottom of the McDonald's French fry bin. Seriously, I love how throwing salt in your opponent's eyes was clearly an effective tactic back in the day, yet only Japanese wrestlers employed it. What, Nikolai Volkoff wasn't capable of tossing a handful of salt in Hacksaw Jim Duggan's grill?
4. If the Japanese women win, they will celebrate by not celebrating at all. They will walk off the field expressionless and cold, as if they just finished assembling a bookcase from Walmart.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
I just went back and watched the video again. Watch it all the way to the end to the point where Vince McMahon sounds he's ready to fight Fuji himself over the whole salt thing.
Indeed, Vince McMahon, voice of reason. It's SO on this Sunday.
Hell yeah. I "sports hate" you, Japan.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Sporting News Radio (Sirius 94, XM 208) and 1560 The Game from noon to 3PM weekdays, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.