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Me: It’s taken all season, but my fantasy team1 finally won a Gameweek.
Him: Seriously? How many people are in your league?
Me: Thirteen! I won because I was the only person who picked up Theo Walcott befo—
Him: Oh, I don’t need the details. I just wanted to know if any other people actually played fantasy soccer.
1 That’s right. My team is called The Villas-Boas Constrictor, although now I sort of regret not naming it The Van Persiecat Dolls.

Me: It’s taken all season, but my fantasy team1 finally won a Gameweek.

Him: Seriously? How many people are in your league?

Me: Thirteen! I won because I was the only person who picked up Theo Walcott befo—

Him: Oh, I don’t need the details. I just wanted to know if any other people actually played fantasy soccer.

1 That’s right. My team is called The Villas-Boas Constrictor, although now I sort of regret not naming it The Van Persiecat Dolls.

Hand of God, Nose of Tony Montana

We’re eight days away from the opening ceremonies of the World Cup, which begins next Friday when tournament host South Africa takes the pitch against Mexico. Their opening coin toss kicks off a solid month of soccer that won’t end until one country’s profusely sweating captain is holding a thirteen-pound gold trophy over his head. I’m less familiar with soccer than I am with cold fusion or full-time employment, but I’m still reasonably sure that America isn’t winning.

Since Team USA will be leaving Johannesburg with the international equivalent of “Participant” ribbons, I’ve been looking for another team to follow for ninety-minute increments. After hearing coach Diego Maradona announce that he would run naked through the streets of Buenos Aires if his team takes the championship, I immediately scratched Argentina off the list. Although his playing career made him legendary, he’s spent the past two decades looking like the “Before” pictures in those P90x commercials. Fortunately for Argentina’s collective retinas and gag reflexes, Maradona’s schizophrenic strategies and two-line coaching resume don’t exactly guarantee a World Cup win.

—This week for NBC Sports - Out of Bounds, we talk about Argentina’s formerly cocaine-addled, currently unhinged coach, the legendary Diego Maradona.

If you read it, leave a comment or drop me a note or otherwise let me know what you think.  I CRAVE YOUR ACCEPTANCE.

Last summer, we watched helplessly as a spaceship stalled over South Africa and countless armor-bodied aliens descended into Johannesburg, leaving one section of the city littered with empty cans of cat food and spent rifle cartridges. One hundred twelve minutes and countless political allegories later, the credits rolled on Neil Blomkamp’s ass-kickingly good District 9, and the overgrown crustaceans headed back to their home planet.

This summer, the same sun-drenched city will be invaded by something infinitely more terrifying: soccer fans. On June 11, the World Cup returns after its regularly-scheduled four year absence and — given the choice — I’d take the aliens. Despite the language barrier and the fact that they looked like pissed off dinner specials from the Rusty Pelican, at least I understood their motivations. Soccer fans, though, I just don’t get.

—from my column this week for NBC Sports - Out of Bounds