How to Share World Cup Soccer With Your Kids (and Remain a Geeky Parent While Doing It)

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If you haven’t taken notice yet, you’ll soon be surrounded by the fervor of the quadrennial soccer tournament officially known as the FIFA World Cup. Admittedly, sports don’t grace the columns of GeekDad very often; however, close examination of the world’s most celebrated competition reveal an edge that would make any geek proud. For instance, did you know that the 1958 World Cup Tournament was a hoax masterminded by the American government as Cold War propaganda? More recently, we find FIFA trumpeting the Jabulani Soccer Ball as the first aerodynamically engineered soccer ball that “required over six years of wind tunnel research.” We’ll leave the details of this research for a future GeekDad post.

[This post was submitted by legacy GeekDad writer, Warren Packard]

All kidding aside, the World Cup truly is something to share with the family. It’s a month-long, international spectacle of athletic artistry. Many of our kids play soccer, but they don’t get exposed to professional soccer, especially international soccer played at the highest level. World Cup presents an unparalleled opportunity to expose yourself and your young soccer player to the world’s most popular sport. But how do you watch a sixty-four match tournament without getting burned out on soccer or resigning yourself to guessing which matches are going to be exciting?

The answer lies in a new, non-commercial service called Thuuz that has been created be a group of (soccer) geek dads. Thuuz is a service that alerts parents and kids (via e-mail or SMS) to the most exciting soccer matches without revealing any of the results or details of the match. This way, families can record the games on their DVR in the morning and watch only the exciting ones in the evening. In fact, Thuuz specifically notes when these games get exciting so that viewers can jump straight to the best parts of the match. Note: for those with high speed Internet service in the US, you can take advantage of Thuuz’s direct links into ESPN3 which will provide archived streams of all World Cup matches.

Algorithmically, Thuuz predicts that only 15% of the games will be rated Exciting and, on average, only 40% of actual game time within these Exciting games will be in the “zone of excitement”. As a consequence, the 64 games of the World Cup Tournament will “shrink” to the equivalent of ten halves of truly exciting play time, certainly a manageable soccer load for any youngster to consume over the course of a month.

So, kick off the World Cup without fear of it becoming an overwhelming experience. Embracing the World Cup experience will go far to build your child’s soccer IQ and provide indelible memories of truly exciting matches and the best players performing on the world stage. And for those GeekDads out there who are concerned that soccer might inhibit your child’s inner geek, you will quickly observe that soccer is a lot like chess… with the added benefit of slide tackling.

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