America Doesn't Care About Soccer, Dammit!
There. Somebody had to say it. The entire world seems to be transfixed on what is happening in South Africa with World Cup 2010, except for one big blot on the globe, the United States of America. Every four years, soccermania overtakes practically every country and every time there are smarmy sports pundits asking why Americans don't like soccer...and then proceed to count the ways why Americans don't like soccer. This debate has become a ritual, precious air time and print space is devoted to this topic. If they didn't have this topic, sports programs would be reduced to sportscasters just staring stupidly at each other or we would just see a big fat white area on the sports pages.
Late Night Joke:
"It's a great day for the world, as the World Cup begins. On behalf of all Americans, I'd like to say, 'Eh.'" –Craig Ferguson
Why? I am so perplexed when this happens. Why do so many people care that Americans aren't as taken up by the “beautiful game”? It's not as if there aren't enough people paying attention to the sport. Frankly, I would think that the world would deem it an advantage not to have Americans play. You know how we do things. If we like something we pour money into it, we create a system so that players are developed from a young age to become overpriced but top-notch players and then the only games that we would pay to see are the ones that are played in the US. We would still ignore the entire world. This happened with baseball: World Baseball Classic. Players from their respective countries played on their country's teams and competed against teams from other countries. Team mates from American and National Leagues became rivals. What a snoozerama. Japan won last year and the only reason I know is that I looked it up. I didn't watch the games and nobody I know paid it any serious attention last year.
Now I have seen some soccer games out of curiosity. I have to say one thing that really bothers me is how soccer players fake getting hurt in order to gain an advantage. That's so lame. Really, particular players should receive an Academy Award for the weird acting out that they do so that the other side gets some sort of penalty. It's not very sportsmanlike and it seems so unmasculine. I expect our players in our games to play hurt. Their neck may be broken, their arms might be jolted out of their sockets, blood could be pouring down from a gash on their head, whatever, but American sports players are supposed to play hurt until their coach takes them out of the game, and the only way that hurt player is getting out of the game is when they carry them out on a stretcher with tubes from a saline bottle attached to various body parts. We think it's very noble.
The other thing about soccer that's weird to me is that there seems to be so much energy expended among players over a couple of hours and what do they get for it. Maybe a point or two? Big stinking deal. Really, after playing for two hours, one team wins because they might have scored the only point? And sometimes that point was scored by accident, like when a player kicks and deflects against the opposing player's hand and it unfortunately bounces to their own goal post. That doesn't sound like a sport. Isn't the point of playing a game is to accumulate as many points possible through some sort of skill and strategy not happenstance?
Anyway, I digress. The world seems to be doing fine with Americans not really crazy about soccer. You have plenty of overpriced players that are household names except here in America, and you have plenty of people the world over who wax poetic over the most recent miraculous plays or have profanity laced discussions over the worst referee calls. There's really not much that we can add to the sport. So let's all just relax and be glad for the small number of Americans who do pay attention to the sport...they represent! The sport is growing in our country although, it's really only popular among the rugrat set and the first generation Hispanics. And yes, I know that the rest of the world calls soccer, football but tough luck. Our football got their professional association up first so the rest of you have to deal with us calling your game soccer.
This was too funny!
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