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Cherry-Popping the Becks

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David Beckham’s historic first game as a Major League Soccer (MLS) player is now over. At a loss for words, I have decided to take a cue from the Chelsea Soccer Club fans that often relate soccer to sex and am going to do doing the same here. Having paid for a $120 ticket to see Beckham play for 12 minutes was sort of like visiting a sex worker and being charged a whole ten dollars for every minute of pleasured disappointment. I bragged all day long that I was going to get lucky, that I was going to go participate in the fan-bang that would pop Beckham’s MLS cherry. But now that the deed it done, it feels just like any other deflowering – it was painful, underwhelming, and expensive.

While Beckham’s stint on the field was significantly shorter than I had hoped for, I can say that he has an undeniable magnetism and a powerful soccer field-as-stage presence. He definitely puts on a good show, even when just doing his warm-up exercises. He teased fans with sideline lunges and stretches that caused the crowd to scream, yell, and beg. While this made it clear that the Galaxy fans deeply lusted for their Becks, their level of enthusiasm was not nearly as intense as the impassioned Chelsea supporters, who covered in blue and booze, undulated collectively, threw celery sticks, waved banners, and chanted songs that have been passed down from generation to generation.

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This Chelsea fan was kind enough to teach me the Chelsea United Celery Chant: "Celery, celery, if she don't come, I'll tickle her bum, with a lump of celery!"

Beckham himself was cautiously awkward as he tried to protect an old ankle injury from further infractions. Just a few minutes after he started playing, he started to display a pained wince on his face as he limped between plays. Clearly he should not have been on the field at all in order to prevent further physical damage to his ankle, but the Galaxy fans were too hot and bothered for some wild Becks action, and he was undoubtedly pressured into losing his MLS virginity before he was ready. He probably thought that the Galaxy fans would not love him anymore if he didn’t put out after they had spent so much money to be with him.

Ultimately, with or without Beckham, Galaxy did not stand a winning chance against Chelsea. The two teams were so mismatched in talent and ability, that Galaxy was doomed from the start. It was really great to see such a high level of skill from the Chelsea players at the Carson Center, but ultimately, the inherent unfairness of such a pairing is a little bit depressing. Seeing the Galaxy share a field with an established European team made it clear that Galaxy has a long way to go before the rest of the world will consider their games watchable.

I know it is the sleazy thing to do but I probably won’t call the Galaxy back, or visit them again. Yesterday’s game was just a one-night soccer stand. I selfishly used Beckham for his soccer skill and his ability to make soccer history. The 40 minute wait to get out of the $20 parking lot just makes a relationship with the naive Galaxy team much more of a commitment than I’m ready for. I'm looking for a take-charge kind of team that really knows how to play possession-style soccer.…I just got out of this bad relationship with the New York Red Bulls, you see, and I’m just not ready to get involved with another naïve American soccer team. I need time to play the field, maybe check out a few Chivas USA games, you understand, right?

Photos by Mialka Bonadonna for LAist.