CARL: This is Carl Drake, play-by-play commentator for NBS Broadcasting, coming at you live from the NBS Sports Channel 3’s telecast of the Cup of Worlds.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. This is Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting, renewing my objection to the pointlessness of this endeavor while one of the left wings for Transylvania’s soccer team writhes in agony and calls for a priest in a futile attempt to get a time-out.

CARL: We’ve been over this before, Tom, we’re to call it “football,” not soccer, or NBS will stick us on the Canadian National High School Field Hockey tournament in Calgary.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, but I am long past the point of caring on this. “Soccer,” a contraction of “Association Football,” has just as much of an inalienable etymological right to exist as “football.” It’s not even an Americanism; they used it in the UK for 50 years before they began to root it out with the zealotry of a Salem witchfinder.

CARL: That may be so, but all the signs say “football” on the field and in the logo of our sponsoring organization, l’Association Mondial pour la Pratique du Football or AMPF.

TOM: That’s right Carl, but surely you can’t fail to appreciate the perversity inherent in a sport invented in the UK using an affected French name for its governing body, to say nothing of the sport’s name remaining untranslated therein. Linguistic perversity does seem to be a particular facet of this girls’ game.

CARL: Now Tom, you’re not going to tell me that you still hold to that hoary old American stereotype of association football being merely a sport for girls. It’s got a large and growing–and passionate–following among Americans of all stripes. In fact, many have predicted that it is finally getting a toehold in our society.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, but I for one am sick of the implication that not being as nutty about the sport as the rest of the world is a sign of some sort of innate inferiority. It’s a game, and telling someone that they are less of something for preferring a different game is like criticizing someone for not enjoying Super Mario Bros. It’s ultimately meaningless, and only the continued AMPF lusting after American dollars keeps it in the conversation at all.

CARL: Maybe we should continue this conversation at a later time, Tom. It looks like Picodegallo is about ready to drop the charade and rejoin the fray now that the referee has ignored his pleas to be administered the Last Rites.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. Perhaps we’re better off reflecting on the significance of the Cup of Worlds and what it means for the victors.

CARL: It’s certainly worth reflecting upon, Tom. As many of our international viewers are already aware, the winner of the Cup of Worlds–be it Transylvania or the People’s Republic of Katanga–will gain total control over the world’s resources for a year. They will also be granted dominion over the Great Portal, free to invade or demand tribute from any of the scattered realms of the multiverse during their tenure.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. They are both lusting after former champion Riograndia, which used the phenomenal cosmic power of the Cup of Worlds to annex large sections of the neighboring Republica Juliana and to set its president-for-life atop the Throne of Skulls.

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