Soccer and Other Sports We Probably Shouldn't Care About
Just Change the Channel Already
As a fat, lazy American, I, like most my peers, prefer my sports with a bag of chips and a gallon of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always found it strange how junk food can be the perfect companion to a day spent in front of the television, watching some of the world’s greatest athletes do their thing. I stuff my face, Kobe Bryant puts up 50 on the Spurs. Colts go for a perfect season, I go up a pants size. As I press onward to inevitable morbid obesity, I find comfort in watching professional athletes do things I couldn’t, even if I had the energy and gumption to get out of this chair. There’s catharsis is in this impending coronary, and for whatever reason, I feel just a little better about myself anytime I can catch a game on the TV.
Of course, the happy contentment of watching sports doesn’t extend to all of them. No, not by a long-shot. There are many televised contests I’m sure to skip over each and every time they befoul my boob tube. What follows is a list of the worst offenders, in no particular order, that make we want to choke on my Cheetos.
It may well be the world’s most popular sport, but I am proud to say that I haven’t seen more than 10 minutes of soccer, association football, or whatever you want to call it, since 1994. I can’t recite the “Laws of the Game,“ I don’t know my Rondaldos from my Ronaldhino’s and I have no desire to ever bend anything like Beckham. I get my daily allowance of idiots blowing horns and screaming like horror movie murder victims all while just driving around town.
Maybe my dislike stems from ignorance. After all, if most of the rest of the planet actually enjoys this sorry spectacle, surely I’m to blame for my lack of “footie” love. Well, not really. Please allow me to offer the following synopsis of every soccer match, uh, ever:
Guy known only by first name gets ball and attempts to kick said ball to another guy. Guy with atrocious hairstyle intercepts ball and attempts to kick to it to one of his teammates. Ball goes out of bounds. Guy with name Alex Trebek couldn’t pronounce picks up ball and attempts to throw it toward an open teammate. Guy from country no one in Western Hemisphere has ever heard of intercepts ball, tries to kick it to one of his open teammates. Ball goes out of bounds. Riot occurs in stands, 200 people are trampled to death. Guy who was orphaned at the age of 2 by Bengal Tigers kicks ball at goal that is roughly the size of a studio apartment. Guy misses everything, ball goes out of bounds. Guy watching at home shuts off TV, ponders driving car into nearest accessible body of water.
I can appreciate the athleticism, and I admit that playing soccer is something I really enjoy, but watching a match on TV falls somewhere between “go on insect-only diet” and “give sensual, full-body massage to Susan Boyle” on my bucket list. The whole thing is just boring, entirely pointless, and mostly devoid of goals. I don’t need that. I already have my life.
Professional bowlers are likely tied with sumo wrestlers in the Guinness Book of World Records for “athletes in worst physical condition possible for a living human being.” I can’t back that up with any hard evidence, but it’s a hunch I’m willing to hedge my bets on. After all, bowling isn’t exactly the most physically demanding sport out there. It’s much more about concentration and careful planning than any raw physical skill, and as a result, the excitement level just isn’t there. But aside from tuning in to make fun of people who look like the spawn of some unspeakable union between Bruce Vilanch and a hippo with a thyroid disorder, why would anyone want to watch this?
I don’t. It’s a proven fact that watching five minutes of bowling causes more drowsiness than a bottle of Lunesta. It can’t be helped, I suppose, it’s just the nature of the game. Bowling is only fun for the bowler, and such a sport doesn’t lend itself all that well to spectators, neither present nor trying to stay awake at home. So maybe the best way to improve ratings and make this sport better for viewers is to jazz it up a little.
Personally, I’d like to see the “Professional Cosmic Bowling Association” come to fruition. Turn out the lights, turn up that Miley Cyrus and prepare for sensory overload! Every PBA tournament would be infinitely more enjoyable if the whole thing looked just like a sixth-grader’s birthday party. Nothing goes with fungus-filled shoes and pants from 1980 quite like strobe lights and the “Stanky Legg.” It probably won’t happen, but a man can dream.
Mixed martial arts can be sort of a mixed bag when it comes to feelings for me. On one hand, you’ve got real deal tough guys who make just about anybody in my beloved WWE look like a girl scout. On the other, these guys scare me. A lot. One look at the mug on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and you’ll see what I mean. It’s the stuff of nightmares, folks, and I think Mr. Nogueira is one of the nicer chaps in UFC.
Despite the “interesting” looks of many of its’ competitors (and maybe because of them), the popularity of Ultimate Fighting Championship and other MMA leagues has exploded in recent years. In a lot of ways, these promotions deliver exactly what they advertise: white-knuckle brawling and action figures come-to-life in a mano-a-mano match for mat supremacy. That’s all well and good. I just didn’t think there would be so much damn hugging.
I would estimate that, on average, your run-of-the-mill UFC fight contains approximately nine minutes of warm embraces, high-fives, and dreaded “cousin hugs.” If you go on a hugs-per-minute ratio, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson narrowly outpaces Barney and the Care Bears combined. Maybe I’m old-fashioned or maybe I’m expecting too much, but I thought two guys locked in a cage would never be this close to making out.
And that’s not the half of it. The majority of each bout is spent with the two competitors locked into wrestling holds and rolling around on the floor like drunken college kids in Cabo. It’s the sort of thing usually reserved for those movies they keep behind the curtain at the video store. Or so I’ve heard.
Now, I think it’s great that these big, burly dudes are bros enough to bloody each other’s noses, then snuggle up. Camaraderie in combat is hard to find these days, after all. Just remember: there’s a time and a place for everything. Let’s see more punching and a lot less groping. Is that too much to ask?
I have a litany of complaints to levy against racing in general and NASCAR in particular. Where I come from, this is sports heresy of the highest order, but I really don’t care. Just because I live within an hour’s drive from the Indy 500 doesn’t mean I have to like it. Tony Stewart began his racing career in the town I (mostly) grew up in, but this proximity has done nothing to endear him or his stockcar brethren to me. If anything, the familiarity has bred enough contempt in me that I can honestly say auto racing is the most unwatchable sport of them all. Hear that, Olympic Fencing? Turn that frown upside-down.
I'm sorrry, but I fail to see the appeal in hillbillies driving cars decorated with M & Ms and sexual dysfunction drugs around a track, turning only left, and crashing into each other at speeds normally only attained by escaped prison inmates in stolen pick-up trucks. If I somehow found the desire to watch morons drive recklessly in a circle, fail to signal, and come within inches of slamming into a wall, I’d get on I-465 at rush hour.
Now, it’s easy to poke fun at NASCAR drivers and insinuate that they’re all rednecks. That sort of stereotype goes with the “good ol’ boy” image. I think it’s the end of the race, which is pretty much exactly the same every time, that seals the deal and propagates this overgeneralization.
“Yeah, me and Jimmie was headin’ into the last turn back there. He come up on me quick, and I didn’t see him ‘til it was too late. Never meant to put him in the wall like that, but rubbin’s racin’. I think he’s more mad about my sister givin’ him crabs last weekend. Been there, done that, buddy. Anyway, I’d like to thank Jesus, Lynrd Skynrd, the Charlie Daniels Band, John Deere tractors, Redman Chewin’ Tobacco, and Jim Beam for helping me pull through and get the win tonight. Goodnight, y‘all! See ya at the next Pro-Gun Rights meetin‘!”
Call me crazy, but I think Jesus Christ has more to worry about than helping someone win the Coca Cola 400. The other guys? Yeah, they may have had something to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the bravery of the drivers, and I understand the inherent and very real danger involved. Try as I might, though, I just can’t seem to gain an affinity for any of these guys. In light of this realization, I’ve taken to cheering and booing the cars' sponsors.
“Let‘s go, Long John Silver‘s! I can‘t tell the difference between your fish and your chicken, but I freaking love it anyway!”
“You got this one, Bass Pro Shops! Next time I choose to get up at 4 a.m. to go out and try to catch something that’s readily available at my local grocer, I’m paying you a visit first.”
“Screw you, Home Depot! So much for your easy-to-install aboveground swimming pool. You owe me a cat!”
This is what I’ve had to come up with to entertain myself during a race. Works for me, but I strongly recommend just changing the channel.
There’s gotta be something good on somewhere.
Posted June 24, 2010