If it's June, it must be time for a soccer column, right?
Yeah, I see your eyerolls, but it really would be a disservice to ignore the World's Greatest Sporting Event(TM) here at the Run 'N' Gun headquarters.
I'm not going to try to convince you about the merits of the World Cup, or even that soccer will somehow take over America. That ship has sailed.
But it is 2010 and the United States has been competing in the these quadrennial championships for six straight Cups, dating back 20 years.
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The good folks at ABC and ESPN have nearly worn out the hype machine promoting this year's event which starts Friday in South Africa.
So, I'll assume most casual sports fans are willing to give the beautiful game a spin at least a couple of times during the next month.
Or, that you've already stopped reading....
Thanks for coming back. I was worried this column would turn more people off than my curling piece during the Olympics. And let's not even mention the Grey Cup fiasco of 2008.
Now that you've decided to watch/pay attention to/leave the TV on in the background during the monthlong tournament, let me answer your big question: For whom should you root?
Let's just assume the first answer to that question is the U.S. team — and really it should be — unless you just happen to be vacationing here from Slovenia.
What happens if Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and the rest of the boys can't duplicate the success of the 1980 Olympic hockey team?
In the slim chance that the U.S. team isn't lining up for the championship July 11, follow my advice for international bandwagon jumping.
There are a lot of teams you can eliminate right off the bat: Countries like Slovakia, Honduras and Cameroon — they're just not going to be around very long. You want your new favorite team to play more than just the three group stage games.
Let's also agree there's just no fun in rooting for five-time champion Brazil. Come on, do we really have to explain why being a casual fan of soccer's Yankees would be annoying?
Plus, with an added emphasis on defense, this isn't really even an entertaining Brazil side this year.
Let's also knock out reigning champ Italy. No one likes a poorly produced sequel. (I'm look at you, Shrek in 3D)
As great as it would be for the sport to see an African team win the whole thing, the continent's best chance took a major hit when Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba broke his arm this week.
I'm not going to waste your time to explain how good he is, but just the fact he had emergency surgery and has not completely ruled out playing in the tournament should show just how much players care about this thing.
How about host South Africa? Sure it's a great story about a country coming together to support a sports team after years of political oppression. But we just saw that movie — and it was about rugby — and it was kind of boring.
Also, the South African fans really, really like to play on these noisy horns called vuvuzelas. Believe me, after watching one game with those things going off in the background, you're going to wish they were playing the national anthem on air horns instead.
What about perennial powers Germany, Argentina, Mexico or France?
Germany is the quintessential boring soccer team your parents warned you about. To cheer for Argentina means rooting for its manager Diego Maradona, who makes Ozzie Guillen seem like a laid-back guy by comparison. Mexico? El Tri is the U.S. team's biggest rival. France? Think head-butting and cheating hand balls. No thanks.
How about England?
Not a bad pick. Always one of the favorites to win, but always finds a way to lose — usually on penalty kicks. Think Cubs, Bills, or pre-2004 Red Sox.
The problem with rooting for The Three Lions is basically you're declaring yourself to be a little bit too much of a soccer — no, football — fan. You're the person wearing the Man U. jersey to the bar on Sunday, wondering if they can turn the NFL over to the English Premier League match on TV.
Hey, I love soccer, and even I don't want to be that guy.
So really, you're left with three options for teams, all of which have never won: Spain, Australia or the Netherlands.
I say ditch Spain, as it starts as the pre-tournament favorite. Plus, I've never gotten over the whole "Remember the Maine" from 1898.
Australia winning would be amazing, because who in sports (or life) has more fun than the Aussies? But the Socceroos are a big longshot, so I say, let's go Holland.
The Dutch have sweet uniforms; they're the only team, along with the old-school Broncos, to make orange look good. They have a history of heartbreak. Their fans are amazing.
There's also a good chance Amsterdam would be a non-stop party town for the next four years. More than usual, that is.
Run 'n' Gun is The Eagle Sports staff's weekly look at the offbeat side of sports.