I watched Nicholas Nickleby over the holidays with my soulmate.
It’s worth watching, at least according to this romantic. Charlie Hunnam’s performance was uneven—brilliant when confronting his uncle, not so much when mourning the death of his friend. But it was obvious to me after watching it: Charles Dickens is a masterful storyteller. He’s proved it many times over. As have his contemporaries, including Jane Austen.
Upon finishing the movie and while channeling the most formal English I could muster, I commented to my wife, “We gotta go to England! The source of such great storytelling deserves to be honored with our presence.”
Plus, I’m a sucker for Ferris wheels, and I hear London has a rather considerable one.
Bert Williams is 90. You don’t him by name, but he’s the English keeper who allowed a single goal in the team’s monumental loss to America at the 1950 World Cup.
In an interview with the Associated Press this week, he said he was “virtually one of the spectators,” since England dominated possession, but couldn’t “get the ball past” the American defense. “As soon as England played a good ball through, the whole American team retreated to the 18-yard line,” the keeper remembers. “We thought the score should have been 8-1, 10-1 even.”
But it wasn’t. The U.S. won 1-0. Contrary to what ESPN reports, Williams said it was a freak goal that never should have been. “I had the ball covered and it was a deflection off one of their players who was standing in front of me,” he said. “I was going the right way. It just happened.”
What’s more, Williams said the Americans had “no intention of winning,” and even showed up to the game smoking cigars and wearing cowboy hats.
My response: We’ll take it. And have for the last 60 years.
You can blame England—the inventors of the game—not America for the word.
As the U.S. Embassy in London explains, “Soccer’s etymology is not American but British. It comes from an abbreviation for Association Football, the official name of the sport. For obvious reasons, English newspapers in the 1880s couldn’t use the first three letters of Association as an abbreviation, so they took the next syllable, S-O-C. With the British penchant for adding ‘-er’ at the end of words—punter, footballer, copper, and rugger—the word ‘soccer’ was born, over a hundred years ago, in England, the home of soccer. Americans adopted it and kept using it because we have our own indigenous sport called football.”
Still don’t like the word soccer? You can file an official complaint with South Africa, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and a handful of others in addition to the U.S. who all refer to the sport as “soccer.”