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Soccer soccer soccer soccer soccer

May 31, 2006

The Flip Side received its first hate-mail comment yesterday! It was a good one, too, on an older blog, so click here and go to the bottom to read the nasty things Macker has to say about me.

Of course, it was one stupid sentence about soccer that set this nut off. I'll get to the reason for that "of course" in a bit.

What I wrote was a one-sentence response to a friend of mine who suggested I explain why I don't like soccer. I wrote "I don't like soccer because it sucks."

Now, for the sake of the rest of this blog entry, let's pretend that what I actually wrote was "I hate soccer because it sucks." Changing "don't like" to "hate" helps my column here a bunch, and on The Flip Side such things are allowed. (I could have very easily wrote "hate" anyway.)

I hate soccer because it sucks.

That statement would only be half true. Soccer does suck - but I don't hate it. When the Lobos made their run in the NCAA Tournament this season, I was packed into Boston's and Saggio's for the last two games, cheering with everyone else. And the upcoming World Cup should be a blast. Last I heard we were ranked No. 4 in the world (is it 5 now?). That should make for some pretty heavy drama.

And that's precisely what soccer needs to be intesting: pretty heavy drama. Because on its own, this sport is as fun to watch as that horrible Christopher Columbus episode of The Sorpanos.

Chuck Klosterman hates soccer so much he wrote in his absolutely phenomenal book "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" that he would rather his son grow up selling meth than playing soccer. Klosterman argues that soccer is a sports for outcasts. Pro-soccer psychos will point out that for elementary school-aged kids, soccer is the No. 1 sport in America. Klosterman says in his book that soccer is participated in most widely because kids at that age are being forced by their parents to choose some sport, and soccer is the safest pick for little losers who will grow up to ignore sports completely and shop at Hot Topic.

Think about it. If you stink at baseball, any time on defense is spent praying that the ball is never hit your way. Stepping up to bat is even worse. Bad baseball players can pile up four or five strikeouts easily in a game. In basketball, you're forced to dribble and maybe even shoot. Get fouled and the game will actually stop so you can step to the free-throw line and airball two wide-open shots. And football is completely insane for kids that stink at sports (they probably spend enough of their time dodging hits from bigger kids).

But in soccer, all you gotta do is knock the ball away. You can play an entire game and touch the ball once or twice for maybe five seconds. Kids all over the country ride out youth soccer until they get to high school, when it's finally just fine to smoke on the corner of the parking lot or hang out at the mall all afternoon.

(Again, that's all Klosterman, who has fast become my favorite human being on the planet. I would chop off both my pinky toes or sit through an entire MLS game to be drinking buddies with this dude.)

Ah, say those of you annoying soccer buffs who survived your youth soccer experiences and now play twice weekly and won't shut up about how lame the NBA is, soccer is the most popular sport in the world.

That soccer is the world's most-watched sport means absolutely nothing. The world is stupid about stuff like this. Is "Baywatch" the greatest show in the history of television? Last I heard, it was the most popular damn show mankind has ever seen.

What I see are lulls. Constant movement of the ball back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth and around and back and forth) for 95 percent of the gametime, waiting for exactly the right moment to pop the ball in the goal. I would never want to watch a movie or TV show that spends its entire running time SETTING UP for one or two climaxes that could never come.

And this is professional sports! I watch basketball and football for the explosions that burst from the legs of superhuman athletes. Suppose Game 7 of the NBA finals comes down to a shootout between Dirk and Wade. They're trading buckets for the last six minutes, swapping the lead 20 times until it finally gets down to one second and a buzzer beater to win it all. That's action. What is the soccer equivalent to that? Vince Young had 200 yards rushing and 200 throwing in the Rose Bowl. What's the soccer equivalent?

If you play soccer - enjoy soccer and watch soccer - then great. Good for you because there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a fan of anything (except "Grey's Anatomy"). But most of us think it sucks, and with good reason.

What does everyone think? Is soccer more mainstream than I think? Is it about to blow up in America (like they've been saying for 10 years)? What makes it so great or so boring?

Posted by Phil Parker at 09:06 AM |

Comments

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Posted by: Totts | May 31, 2006 12:31 PM

Not only is "soccer" more mainstream than you think. It's more than that...THE BEST SPORT IN THE WORLD!

It's never going to blow up in America though (just like Kobe will never be the next MJ ;) And this is why I am even more glad to having met that football, excuse me, soccer loving friend of yours back in England four years ago! There's still some hope in America after all!

WORLD CUP it's gonna be MADNESS! Nine days to go...

Oh yeah, and to me baseball ranges right up there with cricket... and Grey's Anatomy.

Greetings from your European reader!

Totts - playing soccer, enjoying soccer, watching soccer :)

Posted by: macker | May 31, 2006 02:07 PM

Nicely done, and much better: an opinion backed by a cogent explanation.
Wrong of course, but you're one up on Bayless, who usually is wrong and offensive.
I still suspect, however, that you are really J.W. without hair and you have been allowed to write this blog as an act of charity.
(If you don't get that one, have Garcia explain it to you)

Soccer athletic equivalent: Steven Gerrard running on to a ball and one-timing an absolute rocket into the lower-left corner from 40 yards out to complete a Liverpool comeback in the F.A. Cup.
American analogy so you can understand: kickball, and the pitcher sends a bouncer. Run up to it, kick it as hard as you can, and hit the left fielder in the nuts (and the ball must stay nut-high the whole time).

Keep plugging away, grasshopper.

Posted by: Los | June 1, 2006 12:37 AM

You are forever lost, and it's okay. If you had seen the battle my U16s put forth this weekend you'd be a fan or at least a bit more respectful:

11 players (no subs for the weekend) played 370 minutes (more than a marathon), or 5 matches; played the final down a man (red card) for 30 minutes+; used volunteer goalkeepers (one quit, one injured) and then going into OT to lose in the final 30 seconds...IF you can name any other high-drama finale for basketball/baseball/football at the youth level please share...

...take that drama and transpose it to the World stage and view a tournament that goes on for over a month where wars/fighting have actually been known to stop for the duration of a match and tell me that soccer still sucks. But then again, I don't think you could run 90 minutes at pace which is why you'll never understand the rigor involved in the sport. SO easy to judge and call it boring when you've never done it at all...

All your references to other sports have one thing in common: timeouts. I guess some people just need that sip of water and slice of orange on the bench ;) AND I can tell you haven't watched a youth football game recently because the last one I witnessed (nephews) there was a whole lot of dropped passes, RB fumbles, missed tackles, and overall lack of coordination on all levels. But you're right, that sport is "completely insane for kids that stink at sports". Parents put their kids in football to toughen them up and instead the kids come out in full-body armor. It's a joke really. Baseball is even more inactive at the youth level - a whole lot of calorie burning going on when you wait for the ball to come to you, maybe get a hit then run maybe 4 short sprints (home run), and then sit on the bench for your turn. Basketball and hockey at least makes an effort at continuous movement with brief timeouts here and there...but to say that the "outcasts" go into soccer is misguided and you're just as lost as Klosterman...

Oh, and we are all wrong about the hardest sport: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills
You'll be so happy to rant about how boring and weak Hockey is after you visit that link, sucker...

Posted by: Carlton | June 1, 2006 01:14 PM

Good explanation, Parker. Anything to keep Macker from cornering me for 30 minutes is appreciated.

Posted by: cyberplet | June 1, 2006 02:10 PM

Ahh, soccer or actually football. Every sport has it's fans - although I think soccer has got the world fan tied down. So I watch soccer when it gets hot - use to play too, but hard on the ankles.

Soccer s'not bad - it does take a lot of endurance, but excitment level only works if you are actually there watching the game (what ever sporting game it is).

What sucks is watching it on TV, especially with a dead crowd and no HDTV.

Posted by: Los | June 1, 2006 05:53 PM

...and Lost Keys (blame Hofman) is not about a guy tied down in a mental hospital. The nurse says, 'a gentleman had an exam today', and the Doc says, 'well, what's the problem?' and she says, 'well, that's it, there is no problem'. He came in on his own admittance, or was dropped off when he was talking about the abduction...then the doc says, 'what happened? tell me everything...' then it goes into Rosetta Stoned...Hofman is the guy who created LSD; therefore, the 'patient' uses LSD-use as his excuse in Rosetta...AND lastly, ESPNHD will be showing World Cup matches :)

Posted by: Phil | June 2, 2006 08:45 AM

I slept like a baby knowing Macker thinks I did a better job this time.

And that shot sounds awesome, but it's ONE SHOT. This is what I'm talking about. If Ronaldo comes to America it won't be a big deal because he's good for, what, two highlights a game? While Reggie Bush and LeBron James and the stars in sports we care about are each good for about a dozen.

And Los, Rosetta Stoned references the hospital, the drugs they give the guy ("needle spooning") but nowhere does it say anything about LSD. And he's using it as his excuse for what? What does he need an excuse for? Not remembering? The whole story in the first place?

I'm sick of every song needing to be about drugs, that's partly why I don't like to think of "Rosetta" that way. Also because that's totally wrong.

Go sports

Posted by: macker | June 2, 2006 02:05 PM

Egads...it's like teaching kindergarten - can't skip any steps.
Gerrard's cannon was the last and greatest play in a match filled with them. Granted, not every soccer game is filled with "Wow!" moments, but that's what makes them even more special when they happen. Anticipation makes realization that much better (insert your favorite inappropriate metaphor here).

Let's break down your comparison. Lebron - a dozen highlights a game - in a game where scoring is the be-all, end-all. The ball goes through the hoop in an NBA game, what, 50 to 70 times not including free throws? Comparing apples to oranges. The argument that soccer isn't as exciting because of the lack of scoring is tired and superficial. See: Hockey.
Bush - a dozen highlights a game is exaggeration. In the national championship game, I can remember one, maybe two. A game-breaker in football, Randy Moss for instance, is good for between zero and a few highlight reel efforts per game - which is proportional to Lebron and co. as football scoring frequency falls between the excessive (basketball) and sparse (soccer, hockey, single Tribune sports desk employees).
Perhaps this is an eye of the beholder problem - we as average americans like watching Lebron do what he does because we've played, or tried to play, basketball and can therefore understand just how special he is.
Take golf - most people who don't play the game think watching it on TV is akin to watching paint dry, but those who play can't get enough of the Tour on TV and can relate to things like Lumpy holding on to win at Colonial while his wheels were falling off on 17 and 18.
The rationale for enjoying soccer as a spectator is similar: without knowing or understanding what goes in to the tactics and technical requirements of solving a defense and creating, much less finishing, a scoring opportunity, It's far less likely you can appreciate the beauty of seeing it done well and with style and athleticism. The Gerrard goal launched me off the couch because I know exactly how difficult it is to strike a ball that well, just as I know from personal basketball inadequacy just how good Steve Nash is.
Soccer is no different than any other sport in that those who have grown up with it appeciate it played well at the highest levels.
The bothersome thing is that Americans have this special animosity for soccer that, I think, is bred not from an inherent flaw in the game, but from a jingoistic bias where it is rationalized that if other countries, whom we routinely kick the snot out of in our "superior" sports, are better than us in soccer, then soccer must suck because Americans are the best at everything.
I am interested to see how attitudes will change as the USA continues to climb toward the top of the soccer mountain (and other countries continue to close the gap in "our" sports - see World Baseball Classic).
The landscape is definitely changing, though - see your package in today's trib. I can see it on the sidelines at the youth games. Ever so slowly, more and more parents have a background playing the game, and share their kids' enthusiasm for it. That is how the game becomes big - 10 more years and half of the parents will have played, and maybe even a few more of the sportswriters, too.
Which reminds me...I'll still find you Carlton...maybe on the soccer field (or at my desk, which better be nice and tidy). Because you played soccer (bringing the grand total of current and former Trib sports writer/soccer players to two). And you like soccer. You are not just an athletic supporter, you are a soccer supporter. Now everyone knows.
Excellent (and serendipitous to this discussion) soccer package in the fishwrap today, by the way...
soccer soccer soccer soccer!

go soccer

I could get used to this blog thing. Except it's killing my productivity at work...

Posted by: Smyler Johnson | June 10, 2006 06:11 AM

Soccer lovers are so hilarious. They rant on about how great their sport is, always putting down those who don't appreciate the importance of their game. Guess what? I have only one friend, out of all of my friends, who cares about Soccer. I got up in the middle of the night, 4 years ago, and watched 4 games. I wanted to get excited. The thing is, it sucked. I wasted hours, that could have been gainfully used by sleeping, just to try and understand the lunacy that is soccer.
The thing is, I have never had a soccer conversation with a non soccer fan. We don't "jingoistically" hate this sport just because it isn't American. The fact is, we just don't care. I love NASCAR and am bored by F1, but not because one is American and one is not. Just like I love the NFL and am bored by soccer, I think most of us Americans just like the excitement that is always there. Whether it is a touchdown or a (minor) wreck, our versious are just more exciting, and we do love excitement. Sure, golf can be fun to watch, so it isn't just about pacing, so I don't really know how to draw an ultimate conclusion. Maybe it's the arrogance that soccer fans have that you just don't find in other types of fans. When I go to a NASCAR race, I know I am with "family". We can all have a great time and feel like we are at a reunion, regardless of which driver you love. With soccer, whoever the other team is (that you aren't rooting for) becomes the actual enemy. I think soccer brings out the absolute worst in people. Maybe that is it. It is much more primitive. You don't have to think about it. Analyzing only makes it more important than it is. Soccer allows, for a period of time, the focus of hate and frustration in a manner acceptable to society. So there we have it. It simply takes us back to our uneducated, basic rawness. Hmmm, it almost sounds like I'm calling soccer fans Neandrethal. Well, I don't mean it that way. Just think about it and tell me where I'm wrong.

Posted by: Kells | January 14, 2008 12:27 AM

Soccer is the greatest sport of all time. Its also the most entertaining sport of all time, that's why its the richest, most watched and most discussed sport in the world.

FACT.

Posted by: Bill | March 19, 2008 12:23 PM

I was enjoying an anti-soccer website because I find the 'sport' so mind-numbingly boring. I came across a link to your article. It seems that most people that chime in their 2 cents get shot down by the soccer die-hards. This is largely because they sound so ignorant when they do it that it sounds like a rant instead of fact. You must back your argument with fact. Please keep in mind you can never refer to soccer as a 'sport.' A 'sport' does not have playoff games that END in TIES! That defeats the purpose of the word playoff. I also will never refer to it as 'football.' That would be an insult to the athletes who play through pain and play real honest-to-God football.

I grew up in Northwest Pennsylvania and I played hockey. To be honest, soccer can’t hold hockey’s jockstrap. There are only two reasons soccer gets played in this country at all. There is the large influx from Latin America where it is literally the only game in town. Who’d believe that? Poor people from other countries WANTING to come to the United States? Unbelievable! Kids in this country play it because their parents (soccer moms) can drop them off, let them run around in circles for a few hours so they are nice and tired, and pick them up later so they can take them home and put them to bed. It’s cheap babysitting - shorts, a t-shirt, and cleats. That’s it. Throw in some extra laundry soap for grass stains and it’s still the cheapest sport this side of ping-pong. It's that inexpensiveness that makes it 'most popular,' not the fact that it is soooo riveting.

It's the ideal Communist sport. Lenin probably played it between revolutions in Red Square. A team from the suburbs can play against an inner-city team and everyone is on equal footing. No one gets a technological advantage unless you count nicer cleats than your opponents as an advantage. And ties? No one gets to feel good about winning and no one has to be upset because they lost. EVERYONE feels disappointed because they ran their behinds into the ground and accomplished nothing! See? Communism.

Even if kids continue to play all the way through high school, by then most realize that it is a go-nowhere sport. Maybe they can get a scholarship to play in college. That would be the only realistic 'pro-' I can find for soccer. (They may not be able to get into college on academics. They may not be able to hit a baseball, ice skate, swim, dunk, etc.) But what are they going to do after that? Get drafted by an MLS team so they can play a few games in front of a couple hundred friends and family in a stadium where most fans come disguised as empty seats? Fine. Go ahead. But don’t forget to make sure you have that application in for the Manager’s position at McDonald’s for the off-season. You gotta pay the rent somehow! Even if they were good enough to get to play over in Europe, they’d mostly be playing in stadiums that double as cow-pastures for the rest of the year. Look at the stadium that the Giants and Dolphins played in this season. Famous Wembley Stadium had turf that made Heinz Field look good! They’d be playing in front of fans who are rowdy alcoholics first and soccer fans second. I saw a shirt pinned up on a wall in a local restaurant owed by a great couple from Buffalo, NY. It half jokingly stated “Buffalo - a drinking town with a football problem!” It’s also like the classic line always used against hockey. “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” Well, the more apt line would be “We went to a street riot with a banner, a keg, a few bricks to throw, and some flares to shoot and a soccer game broke out.”

Believe me, I have tried to watch. I just can’t credit a ’sport’ where you are offsides for being faster than the defensemen. It seems like every time the offense gets the ball and has a breakaway on the goalie - IT’S OFFSIDES! Apply this silliness to hockey and it would take away every single breakaway that ever was! People always ask me why a hockey team has never put some big 400-pound behemoth in as a goalie. I respond with "why doesn't a soccer team put a few in on defense? Any time someone runs past him, play would be dead anyway because it would be offsides!" That, and the fact that the line that denotes offsides doesn’t even go all the way across the field of play so the referees are left to ‘guess-timate’ if it was truly offsides or not. This would be like in tennis if the box for serves only extended half as deep from the net with no back line at all and the linesmen (who in tennis are at least stationary to view what they need to) had to judge IF the ball would have been in IF the line WAS there! Totally illogical.

I also think the uniforms are pretty silly for supposedly professional teams, too. In hockey and REAL football, the athletes dress like gladiators ready for combat. Soccer players resemble grown boys in silk pajamas. Also, if you represent a city (or club), put a logo or use the name of the city on your jersey so we can at least tell what team you are and where the heck your team is from - not which variety of beer your sponsor is. I swear, the team names should be the Circuit City Home Theater Systems, the Time-Life Elvis Collectible Dishes, the Minute Maid Frozen Orange Juicers, or the Tampax Panty-Liners based on what you see on the uniforms. Advertise on the field or something and provide some recognition for the city you supposedly represent. The owner of the New England Patriots also owns (or owned) Gillette (the razor company). The team plays in Gillette Stadium but the team doesn’t have to advertise it on their uniforms. Uniforms should be sacred - not billboards for hire. A little Nike swoosh, Reebok symbol, Champion “C,” or Adidas stripes are one thing. A corporate logo that covers the entire front of your uniform? Sacrilegious! Given time, a soccer team will eventually be fielded wearing sandwich boards to maximize advertising space.

Do we really have to go into the argument about how “tough” these candy-a**es are, too? It would be difficult to tell an Aussie Rules Football player or rugby player apart from a soccer player by looking at uniforms only due to the lack of padding. But that is where the similarities stop. Those sports have all of the running that soccer does; yet both are so much more physically demanding than soccer. Soccer fans say 'you run 3 miles during a game.' Fine. You run three miles. But just because you can run 3 miles during a 90-minute (plus ’stoppage’ time ;o ) game does not make you “tough.” (That’s 2 miles per hour by the way. You move about that fast walking your dog, people!) A soccer player bends a finger back and writhes on the ground for 10 minutes like someone severed his Achilles tendon in order to get a penalty called and then he is running around again 5 minutes later. Gamesmanship? No. Integrity? No. These players should add another sign on those stupid jerseys. Instead of a player’s name it should say “Fragile” or “Handle With Care.” This makes me think FedEx or UPS would be ideal sponsors for ANY team!

An NHL hockey player recently had his Carotid (sp?) Artery severed 3/4 of the way through by the skate of a body-checked teammate falling to the ice. Leaving a pool of blood and a blood trail behind him, he had the presence of mind to skate half the length of the rink to his team's bench all while applying pressure to the wound. He was dismissed from the hospital within a week and will likely be playing again within another week. After witnessing an injury of that nature and the impending return to action after such a short time, is it any wonder why Americans look on with such disgust at a 'non-sport' like soccer where the blatant faking of injuries is the norm?

A friend (from England) in college (in Miami) tried to turn us on to soccer. We tried watching one of his intramural games. His team scored early and took a 1-0 lead. The guys on his team started yelling something like “Play Italian” or some other European nationality. We all thought that meant we were going to have pizza after the game! I guess the Italians (or whoever it was - it was almost 15 years ago) are known for stall tactics or something. His team soon started kicking the ball as far out of bounds as possible so the clock would run off as much time as possible. Brilliant strategy! We used to play “keep-away” in kindergarten, too, but we never thought someone could go professional at it!

Which brings me to my next argument - the clock. Some soccer-aficionados argue that the non-stopping time means non-stopping action. The Heck you say! All it does is allow the game to mercifully be over as quick as possible. Allowing the clock to run while players argue with the referee about whether or not a player was tripped or if he flopped (usually the case), to allow for a ball to be retrieved and brought back into play, or to allow “walls” to be set up on a free-kick (if they’re not ready, that’s their problem - kick the darn thing!)? And this extra-time thing is supposed to compensate for the ‘down-time’? You gotta be kidding me. In 90 minutes of a soccer game there is only like 1 or 2 minutes of ‘injury’ or ’stoppage’ time? Are you joking? That would be like saying baseball only has 5 or 10 minutes of down time. And only one man in the entire stadium knows when the game is REALLY going to end? Ridiculous! Apply this to basketball for a second. We all know that the last minute of a close basketball game lasts about an hour. What if the teams didn't know when the game was going to end? How long would the game drag on then? How many times would a player be caught dribbling the ball, waiting to make a move to try and win the game and the referee ends the game at some arbitrary time? Sounds like a hometown ref would be pretty hard to beat! (”Let’s see, today we need 10 minutes of extra-time so my hometown boys can tie the score and if they can’t, well, I did my part at least.”)

I love some of the arguments put forward by the ‘true-believers’ though. Read a half-dozen postings on anti-soccer threads and you are guaranteed to see at least one of these. “Chicks dig soccer.” This is good only if you like your ‘chicks’ to look like they just ran the Boston Marathon (skin and bones? - you can keep ‘em). Then there is the intellectual/cussing group. “I got a 1470 SAT, 36 on the ACT, and my GPA is 3.97. Soccer is the best, you f*****g p***y wanker c*** s*****g son of …” and on and on and on it goes. Yeah, you sure are a rocket scientist there buddy. This isn’t 2nd grade. Or maybe it is. They do say that 2nd Grade IS the longest 5 years of a soccer fan’s life! Grow up, for Pete’s sake! Who are you trying to impress? I played ice hockey as a kid but I do not feel the need to go onto websites to protect it. The sport speaks for itself. Anyone who feels the need to have to defend their sport, seek out websites like “Soccer Sucks” or "anti-soccer" and chime in with unintelligible foul-mouthed ‘hooliganism’ is only proving the point of the kind of followers the sport has and why so little is thought about it here in the States. You guys are right there with Pro Wrestling fans! But it's "The Beautiful Game." Who gave it that name? Soccer fans? You can call the most ugly girl that you went to high school with "beautiful" but that doesn't make it so. Even if you put her in nice clothes, slather on some make-up, and do up the hair really nice, she still isn't beautiful just because you say she is! Then there is the eternal argument that it’s THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD. Not so long ago, Communism was the most common/popular form of government in the world. Look how that's worked out! Much of the world still conducted bowel movements over a hole in the ground until the last 30 years or so, too. Many still do. That doesn’t make it the best option, though. Most civilized people in the world wipe after a trip to the bathroom but that doesn’t mean we all need to watch it when it happens much less refer to it as a sport! At least we ALL win we everyone wipes. And there are NO ties when it comes to toilet paper!

I do credit two players, though, on the entire field for a soccer game. Soccer goalies must be otherworldly! How one man from each team can keep 9 out of 10 games to a 1-0 or 0-0 score while defending goals larger than the houses that most soccer fans grew up in I’ll never know! It’s inconceivable how the scores aren’t 10-8 or 12-11 with the goals being the size of an 18-wheeler. Try standing in front of your house while your friend races towards you trying to kick the ball and hit your house. Then again, remember - EVERYTHING is apparently offsides so your friend would probably be offsides anyway and the house would remain unscathed. I am old enough, though, to remember the MISL - Major Indoor Soccer League. Now that was an improvement that should have caught on - soccer in a broom closet!

We can put ice rinks in cities like Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami and watch world class athletes play a faster, stronger game with more action in one game than in an entire season of soccer and people outside the US wonder why sports like NASCAR and hockey are still more popular among adults in the US than soccer - and NASCAR doesn’t even HAVE athletes. All they do is drive in a circle (ovals, tri-ovals and street tracks all end where they start - hence, a circle). Of course most soccer players from Third World countries could only approach duplicating that by racing their mule against their neighbor’s.

I'm not a fan of the show, but there was an episode of The Simpson's where Lisa asks Homer to take the family to see an Exhibition soccer game between Portugal and Ecuador (I think). The whole town is abuzz with soccer-mania and attends the game. The game starts with 3 players passing the ball back and forth to each other. They continue unabated for 5 minutes as the frenzy in the stands turns to silence until Homer finally stands up and yells out "C'mon! Do something already!" The crowd is so annoyed at the lack of anything happening that they begin fighting amongst themselves in order to be the first to leave the stadium. Cartoon or not, this absolutely nails America's opinion of soccer - 90 minutes of practically nothing!

As to why America doesn't produce great soccer players, it's easy. The great athletes are playing real sports. Can't hit a baseball? Can't kick, throw, or catch a football? Can't shoot or dribble a basketball? Can't ice skate and stickhandle a puck while someone is trying to knock you on your behind? Go play soccer. Jim Rome once said something to the affect that he will 'give his son a sequined blouse and figure skates before he allows him to participate in soccer.' Why not consider a position as a male cheerleader, as well? That, at least, has some fringe benefits . This may be a LITTLE ‘over the top’ but it makes the point. There are simply too many options here in this country to try before a kid realizes his only chance at athletic participation is to play in a kids' soccer league where everybody gets a "participation trophy" at the end of the year. "Who cares what our record was. I got a trophy for just showing up." Performance is immaterial. It's the Liberal equivalent of a welfare system for un-athletic kids! Throw them into soccer since they can't do anything else, and give them a little plastic trophy and a pat on the back. They feel better about themselves for a while until they realize they still can't hit a baseball, catch, throw, shoot, dribble (not soccer), or skate and they are still going to be the last kid picked for everything else in gym class. They still won't be able to climb the rope, either.

Personally, I’d even watch golf, tennis, or a “Golden Girls” Marathon on TV instead of soccer. At least Bea Arthur and Betty White don’t fall down every 2 seconds faking an injury. Maybe someone should try using game film and do a study to see whether or not soccer on TV really is the cure for insomnia!

If you want a real question, ponder this…
Your TV is broken. The only channels that work have soccer, a shopping channel, and the World Series of Poker. What do you watch?
Answer: Nothing - go rake the leaves or mow the lawn. Better yet, go spend some time with your wife and kids. Even better yet, go get a job and support your family. Watch your soccer while you are waiting in the unemployment line! Although, being unemployed is probably bad enough. Forcing people in line to watch soccer would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment!

Posted by: Benson | April 4, 2008 08:18 PM

Lol @ how culturally threatened americans get by "sawker". They even made a derogatory name for it.

The fact that the guy above me wrote a fucking essay on how much he emotionally loathes soccer and its global dominance just shows how jelous soccer bashers are of the sports rise in america, and our football's failure to grow elsewhere.



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