You probably thought I’d never leave. Not after 29 years together. But I just can’t do it anymore. Yeah, we may have a backslide or two—a stolen glance at a scoreboard, a drunken tryst on the occasional Monday night—but as a relationship, we’re deader than pigskin.
I know what you’re thinking: this is probably about the parade of concussions and other grisly injuries. Or the slap-on-the-wrist suspensions for wife beating. Or the maybe-racist team nickname. Or the byzantine set of rules.
The mullet doesn’t get much love these days—and for good reason.
But there’s one place it has always enjoyed a warm welcome: the world of soccer. In fact, you’ll still spot a surprising number of them on the fields of Brazil this month. (Look no further than tournament favorite Brazilian wunderkind Neymar, who’s sporting the updated Euro-fied version of the haircut that verges on faux-hawk in front, ducktail in back.) Needless to say, if there were ever a group of people who knew how to make an already flamboyant hairdo even more flamboyant, it’s soccer players.
This isn’t the first time we’ve championed dressing up for a flight, and it won’t be the last, but here’s a perfect example of what we mean...
You’re looking at the Italian National Team stepping off their flight to Brazil for the World Cup. In three-piece suits.
It’s one dapper sight to behold, and unlike Team USA who, naturally, opted for sweatpants—okay, it wasn’t that bad, they wore sleek, Nike-issued warm-ups—the Italians look like they’ve dressed for the occasion. Because it’s not just about getting to the tourney, it’s about arriving on the grandest of world stages and looking like you’re supposed to be there—before even stepping foot on the pitch.
Sure, there’s been a recent rise in the stylishness of homegrown athletes in basketball, football and even hockey, but every four years we’re reminded of the original stylish athlete: the soccer player.
Because it’s impossible not to pick up a few style cues while globetrotting between international clubs, hobnobbing with rock stars and carousing with models. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to look good in a suit when you’re not an outsized linebacker or spindly power forward. In other words, it’s made for some pretty dapper gents over the years.
Wool Worth: An excellent roundup of peacoats for every sensibility and price range. [Well Spent]
Bout That Life: An expose on the infiltration of hip-hop bravado in the newest wave of menswear culture. [NY Times]
Scoot In: A photographer in Tokyo documents the sardine-like work commute on their subways. [Slate]
Cirkus Zlatan: The entire country of England is still in shock from yesterday’s wonder-goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic--which some are calling the best ever. (If you only watch one soccer highlight in your life, let it be this one.) [NPR]
We’d like to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to remind you that the printed word is still alive and well—and to congratulate one of our own. Shawn Donnelly, our resident sports guru (especially on the matter of European soccer) can now add “published author” to his already gleaming resume of “Kempt contributor” and “all-around stand-up guy,” among other things.
His newly released book, Go Get That Scholarship!, written with Nate Mast, the director of basketball operations at Southern Illinois University, is a guide for high schoolers looking for a shot at playing college ball (also: a good stocking stuffer for the Hoosiers fanatic in your life). Of the book’s many nuggets of wisdom, our favorite is one from Kansas coach Bill Self, who explains why he doesn’t want to scout a player on his best day, but rather on a day when the cards aren’t falling his way. It’s a test of character that any modern man can take to heart.
Just as we’ve been noticing the T-shirt-and-blazer look having a moment on the streets of Florence and Milan, this caught our eye...
Ex-Portugal soccer star Luís Figo, in the stands for the Portugal-Czech Republic match at Euro 2012, rocking a national team soccer jersey, jeans and a navy blazer. High degree of difficulty here—we could see a lot of US soccer dorks messing this up—but Figo managed to pull off the look with ease.
It helps when you have world-class hair. And bone structure.
Everything seemed to teeter on a bit of a knife’s edge this weekend: with three places up for grabs on the US Olympic track team, sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third place in the women’s 100 meters on Sunday, crossing the line at exactly the same time, 11.068 seconds. In other close calls, Egypt’s military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, Italy defeated England in a penalty shootout to advance to the semifinals of the Euro 2012 championships, and after 10 years of investigations (and 5,000 years of head-scratching), archeologists claim to have cracked the code on Stonehenge, concluding that it was in fact a monument built to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference.
Have you been following Euro 2012? The European soccer tournament taking place in Poland and Ukraine right now (and airing like crazy on ESPN and ESPN2)? If you haven’t, here’s what you missed: Spain embarrassed Ireland, underwear model/Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo scored a couple of nice goals, and Adidas ran a lot of commercials.
And now that the tourney has reached its eight-team knockout stage (aka Act Two), here’s a semi-in-depth look at what you can expect in the coming days.
Euro 2012—the European soccer tournament that starts today—is a big f**king deal, as Joe Biden would say. It’s basically the World Cup of Europe, and many soccer aficionados actually prefer it to the World Cup because it clears out some of the soccer riffraff from Africa, Asia and the Americas (yes, the US is still soccer riffraff at this point). Plus, all your European pals are going to be talking about it for the next month, and it’s just a fun thing to watch at the pubs.