Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Soccer is Un-American & The Most Boring Spectator Sport in the World



Americans have little native skepticism. Our collective naivete takes many forms. One kind is a certain receptivity to foreign ideas, especially when they're presented as pleasure, or play. 

I expect to get a lot of flack for posting an Anti-Soccer diatribe, which would be wonderful. We need a national debate about this backward foreign sport, before it overwhelms our home-grown, and much more interesting and enjoyable, sports attractions. 
 
Soccer is the stupidest popular game ever invented. Accounts of its origin go all the way back to the Ninth Century in Asia. It was refined in the British Isles--from where it was exported all around the globe during the latter period of England's centuries of colonial dominance. 
       


In America, we have baseball (invented here in the late 19th Century), American football (a superior hybrid form of European football, adapted and refined in the 19th & 20th Centuries), basketball (invented in the late 19th Century in America), and ice hockey (refined and adapted in North America from earlier versions played on ground surface in Europe). These sports are known as the "big four" in common parlance, and command the lion's share of fan support and interest in America and Canada.

It's unclear why a sport based on the exclusion of the use of the hands and arms (except by goal tenders) would become popular. Human physiology developed from quadrupedal locomotion, and our pre-human ancestors began to walk upright when they "dropped out of the trees" to occupy their place as eventual masters of the earth. Three distinct physiological advantages made this possible: The enlarged brain, the opposable thumb, and the use of our fore-limbs to manipulate objects (rather than just walking on them). In other words, our arms and hands are to a large extent, what makes us human--as opposed to dumb animals. Four-legged animals, and some two-legged animals and birds, are generally faster and more agile ground creatures than man. In sport, the use of the hands to manipulate objects and engage opponents is what makes contention, in effect, "human." 

Why would humans invent a form of play which thwarted their primary asset in the physical world? To frustrate themselves? Why not a game in which the only "weapon" was the head, in which players butted each other like mountain goats cracking their horns together? Or one in which stepping on the opponents' feet to control or disable them was the object? Why not wrap the arms about like a constrained mental patient, or tape the mouth shut to prevent speech?  

Setting up artificial resistances is part of what we might call game theory. Good team sports involve the coordination of bodies towards a goal. The best aspects of human intelligence, coordination, force, endurance, and manipulation of an object are brought into play, in order to achieve a desired end against a defending opponent. All the major (4) North American sports express these principles. They are all tributes to our ingenuity, physical agility, and strength. 

Soccer, on the other hand, is much more fluid. The ball is more or less continuously in play. The primary contenders are not allowed to touch the ball with their hand, but must move it about primarily with their feet. Alignment is in a state of constant flux, with players constantly shifting position in anticipation of a change of possession or the forming and reforming of strategic phalanxes. Very little scoring generally takes place, because the movement of the ball is so difficult. This frustration, this thwarting of the human ability to hold and manipulate, to move the object, creates an overall sense of impatience. Impatience and frustration, in fact, seem the primary emotions one sees in the players during soccer matches. Why? Because they're striving against an artificial limit, one that prevents them from expressing their true human potential. If a man (or a woman) is "athletic" and possesses great gifts of coordination, agility, focus, concentration, etc., preventing them from using their hands and arms, hampers them from expressing their human abilities, forcing them down, to this degree, the evolutionary ladder to a position of an ambulatory bird (like the ostrich), whose wings are merely vestigial appendages. 

The movement in America to expand soccer in the schools and professional venues is regressive. Believing, perhaps, that soccer is more fashionable and "universal" than our homegrown sports, middle-class parents and public schools have allowed soccer to shoulder aside traditional sports. Everywhere you look today, you see stripe-shirted youngsters running in circles in the grass. Hardly understanding what's happening, they spin around and dart back and forth, aimlessly, as the parents and "coaches" scream instructions to them. 

People will say that children get more exercise playing soccer, but exercise per se has never been the main point of sport in general. And for players in childhood years, soccer participation lacks focus, as the tots wander from place to place on the field, trying to understand how to engage in the action. Because it's a game more about "position" than engagement, anticipation and accident are more important than any kind of physical skill. 

Soccer is a ridiculous game, regressive and idiotic. Audiences typically become so frustrated and angry that fights and mob riots frequently occur (abroad). Do we really want to adopt this Old World anomaly as our national pastime? I earnestly hope not. We already have four of the best team sports in the world. We don't need soccer.                                                  


34 comments:

Ed Baker said...

seems to me the Aztecs or some other South American nation invented soccer..

it was a game played using the decapitated heads of
captured wnwies...

and I think polo was invented by Genghis Kahn and his band of merry men who used cut-off heads of those they captured similarly..

etc..

golf is another stupid game...

etc...

J said...

it was a game played using the decapitated heads of
captured wnwies...



Let's return it to the Aztec roots, ese!

Soccer may not entertain many Americans, but it does require great stamina and running skills. A fast-moving game, ala Espana vs italia can be quite exciting, though there is a mob-appeal. East El Lay verges on riots when Mexico wins big.

It's not just about pumping iron, taking steroids, and smashing into people. So I'd rate soccer a bit lower on thug-scale than 'Merican football, or even bas-setball.

Baseball is the technique game in ways, but with overpaid jocks, as with all of 'em.

Ron Dowd said...

I came to the same conclusion as you at about age 6, when my father attempted to get me interested in playing, in New Zealand. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. As an adult, I get anxious on the rare occasions I see the game being played on tv. Maybe that's why the Brits love it - a comforting reminder of childhood anxieties.

Kirby Olson said...

I like soccer a lot. You don't have directions from a coach as in football, where you are forced to follow a diagram. I was all-league in high school and played in semi-professional games a few times. I enjoyed it quite a bit. My kids all play soccer.

I really hate football. I can't stand the idea of colliding with someone three times bigger than me, and having my brains knocked out.

Heading is a source of brain damage at the highest levels, because the ball gets hit so hard.

I think we might need to demand headgear to protect the brains of professionals. At the amateur levels the ball rarely gets going so hard and so fast.

I thought this post was a lot of fun. Scoring is low, and that's a problem for attention deficit Americans who grow up on car chases and guitar solos.

But it's tremendous fun and you do get to run a lot. I think we should scrap American football. It encourages American obesity. You can't get too big like that in soccer as there's too much running to do.

I wish they would have soccer, and badminton, on TV more often. I'd also like to see more televised chess, and water ballet.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of the North Korean giant parade-dances. That seems to me to be the one really good thing they are doing over there.

Anonymous said...

Can't tell if this is a satire. Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

You are clearly homophobic or have some sort of affinity for anyhting where you can use your hands. The simple fact that you cannot use your hands is only one part of the game...during the run of play you are constantly using all parts of your body to gain a competitive advantage over your opponent. It takes mental toughness and agility to be a good soccer player. Also its not goaltender the proper term for the position is goalkeeper. Its obvious that you have a complex about this game due to your inability to understand its basic and simple rules. The worst part for you is that the game has now established itself in this country over the last 20 years and will continue to grow into one of the dominant sports in this country. If you want proof then look no further then June of 2010 when the world cup will be played next, this country will become enthralled in this sport for those 4 weeks and there is nothing that you and your cohorts can do about it. Please if you don't like the sport that is fine, but do not use your stupid blog to post trivial and worthless ridicule.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear anonymous:

This is excellent.

It's perfectly obvious that one's cultural upbringing determines to an overwhelming degree what one loves and hates in life. People in Europe and the Third World go gaga over soccer, because it's really all many of them were given as spectator sport. In Spain you have bull-fighting...wow. In many Third World countries, that's all there is. Let them cheer their heads off, tear each other limb from limb. Terrific.

But in America we already have 3-4 dominant sports, each one unique, home-grown, and fascinating. And each one, I'd argue, more interesting as spectator sport, than soccer. These feelings are frankly partisan, just as yours are.

How would you feel if, as a Brit, you were obliged to entertain American baseball as your national "pastime" sport? Wouldn't that seem a bit disorienting?

Lots of American parents think it's so chi-chi, so chic, to have their kids play soccer. So elegantly exotic, so pan-world! Nonsense!

Baseball is ten times more interesting than soccer. American sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey) are all more well-designed contests of skill and bearing than soccer.

It's not that soccer is a bad game, just that it pales in comparison to ours. And we don't need it. Keep soccer in Europe, but don't let them "colonize" it here. Take your bloody tea and sail home!

nomorespinsports said...

No one is forcing anyone to be a soccer fan. This is America, if you don't like a particular sport you have multiple other options to look at. Soccer only adds to that dynamic.

Also, being a fan of soccer doesn't preclude one from being a fan of other established North American sports at the same time. It's not a zero sum game.

To be a soccer fan, you don't have to grow up with a background in the sport. I grew up watching baseball and football (pro and college). I'm a big fan of college basketball as well. I became a soccer fan of my own volition after watching the 2002/2006 World Cups. No one in my family that I know of really pays attention to the sport. The world is more complex than tradition. People go outside of their cultural backgrounds all the time.

By the way, soccer is the most popular sport in Europe as well as the rest of the world. That doesn't mean it is the only sport that people in these areas care about. Basketball is rather popular. The Olympics are rather popular. Tennis is rather popular. Hockey has popularity in Europe (especially Eastern Europe and parts of Scandinavia). Baseball has popular support in some areas of Latin America as well as Japan and Korea. The popularity of sports throughout the world is much more complex. Don't unnecessarily simplify it.

Finally, this looks an awful lot like satire to me. Have you been reading Jonathan Swift a little too much lately?

Curtis Faville said...

"Unconscious" satire?

Naw, but I'm not being super serious either. My views are personal. I really don't expect to convince anyone who likes soccer to change their mind.

What I do wish is that the American middle class not (unwittingly) shoulder aside baseball and basketball and football in favor of this fashionable import. You may not realize it, but baseball diamonds and city parks are being torn up all around the nation to make way for the hordes of cretins who "need a field" to play soccer on.

To a large degree, the field of sport IS in fact a sum game--not zero sum--but definitely isostatic--in other words, there are indeed only so many actual "fans" out there. Baseball in schools has been on a steady decline for the last three decades, to the extent that the pool of possible American players rising through the amateur and professional ranks now means that pro teams must hunt in Central and South America for talent (as witness the huge influx of Spanish surname players now working the majors).

I would hate to see soccer squash our native American sport contests. The rest of the world has soccer--more power to them. Let them keep it. We have our own games.

nomorespinsports said...

Baseball is losing support in the United States. I completely agree with with that statement. However, it is losing support because football has replaced it as the national pastime.I really don't think soccer is contributing to this phenomenon. Personally, if there is a popular desire within a particular community to convert a baseball field into a soccer pitch I don't see a problem with that. If soccer is more popular in that area, it makes sense that fields for other sports might change purpose.

Baseball players from Latin America have been a part of the game since the 1930s. This only increased in the 50s and 60s. There are more Latin players now than there used to be, but the difference really is not significant.

Soccer is gaining popularity. But I don't think it's going to come anywhere close to threaten baseball, American football, or basketball. Also, don't confuse the popularity of youth soccer with the popularity of professional soccer. Just because a kid plays soccer on the youth level, doesn't mean that child will grow up to be a soccer fan.

Curtis Faville said...

"I really don't think soccer is contributing to this phenomenon."

You might be right here. But I do think that these audiences aren't discrete entities, with unlimited potential. I think there's really competition among them. If, for instance, baseball is losing share to football, then it's just as possible that both baseball and football might lose share to soccer. Something about the irrational rabid nature of soccer fans--it's weird.

Build it, and they will come. Changing opportunities has a predictive, self-fulfilling aspect. If they stop building baseball diamonds, where will kids learn to play it?

"Just because a kid plays soccer on the youth level, doesn't mean that child will grow up to be a soccer fan."

I disagree here too. There's a clear connection between games played in childhood, and interest in the games as adults. If parents keep pushing their tots into soccer, interest in our national sports will wane.

"Baseball players from Latin America have been a part of the game since the 1930s. This only increased in the 50s and 60s. There are more Latin players now than there used to be, but the difference really is not significant."

This is clearly incorrect. Horace Stoneham--owner of the Giants during their latter New York years, and after they first moved to San Francisco, was one of the first owners to hire players from Central and South America, and Caribbean. This did NOT happen in the 1930's and 1940's. There were just a few stray Latino names in the big leagues before 1955. Cepeda, the Alou brothers, Jose Pagan, Andre Rodgers, Ruben Gomez--these players represented the true first wave of Latino players into the majors.

If you look down the line-ups of most major league teams today, you'll see Latino surnames in well over 50% of the names.

Anonymous said...

doughnut forget Pedro Ramos!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Ramos

gawd the 50's were naive/fun times for American Professional Sports!

lets us now have 10,000
local soccer amateur sock-her fields..\\will make it easier for the local cops to find the Illegal
Aliens then on Sunday we can donfess and get absolved!
and
will make it easier for the drug cartels to launder the money..

J said...

Soccer does not seem nearly as commercial and professionalized as Football, hoops-ball, or baseball. Kids don't need all the uniforms and gear--good cleats, and a ball will do. They must be able to run, not necessarily bench press 400 pounds, hit like Manny Rod. or dunk like a Shaq-diesel. So I'm not completely down with your praise of US Ball, Inc.

Soccer probably offers a bit of an exotic euro-appeal for some suburban 'Merican parents, but that's not so bad. They might pick up some soccer terms, spanish, etc. On the whole soccer's most likely a positive experience for youths, superior to the goon squads of hs and college athletics (which some of us may recall. Nothing like being run over by a 250 pound linebacker-brutha when you're not quite 150 pounds). But chess leagues too would be an improvement over the usual American HS jocko-nightmare.

Jr. fianchetto'ed, dear!

Kirby Olson said...

I enjoyed these arguments. We have lots of people from other countries here now. Mexicans moving north, and bringing their game with them. It's fun to beat them at their game.

I play soccer in my dreams.

I love the game!

Kirby Olson said...

I think if you wrote as your last sentence, "I don't need soccer," this would be fine. I don't think anybody needs sports in general. They aren't a need.

It would be better if people would play sports rather than merely spectate. The professionalization of sports has meant that millions sit on the couch, while a few play.

It's better that everyone play.

I do think if you grew up playing a sport you have more appreciation for it as an adult. I grew up in a mixed neighborhood north of Philadelphia playing soccer every day for hours with Brazilian, Polish, and other kids, and loved it.

It's a good sport for the undersized (I weighed 90 pounds in ninth grade), unlike football, that demands a beef cow on the front lines. Baseball is a lot of standing around, and doesn't require much aerobic capacity.

Being forced to use your legs, especially the leg that isn't used to kicking, is very funny, like having to write with the hand you don't normally use.

It opens up entirely different brain paths, and makes you aware of a whole different world. I can still juggle the ball pretty well at 53. I used to be able to tap it up two or three hundred times without letting it fall on the ground. Now I can get to about sixty or seventy. But then I used to play six or seven hours in a day. Now it's more like two hours a week, if that.

I need soccer.

Anonymous said...

America´s sports are the most ridiculous in the world. Thats why nobody gives a fuck about them. Football (soccer) is the best sport, you need a lot of skills to play it well. You write shit because you don´t know nothing about football. America sucks playing it. Total ignorance, typical of most of americans.

Curtis Faville said...

By "nobody" you must mean yourself, and anyone else who might agree with your sentiment. But how many of you are there? What you say is certainly ten times, or a thousand times, more true, abroad, than it is, in America.

America doesn't need soccer.

Also, your comment us ungrammatical: "you don't know nothing" etc. "Total ignorance" might more aptly be applied to you.

Anonymous said...

Curtis,

There are actually quite a few Americans like you, who have this nativist/nationalist anti-soccer stance, not too different from the brits who started making fun of american football back in the 80's when the nfl tried to enter the british market (and again today with the nfl london series). Its funny how something as simple as a sport can be percieved as a threat and somehow trying to replace the traditional sports which were popular there forever.

The "other-football-bashing" begins in America every World Cup, or really whenever soccer hits the top story section of ESPN (beckham, win vs spain..etc). People like you don't even realize that you are not against soccer as much as you are against a soccer culture displacing a baseball/football/basketball culture in the US. Otherwise you wouldn't spend time and energy trying to convince people that soccer is a bad sport, just like you wouldn't spend time trying to convince people that sumo wrestling is a bad sport.

Funny how countries are so protective over whatever they call "football".

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Anon:

I think the problem here is your misunderstanding of the relationship between the mechanics of any specific sport, and the feelings different peoples have about their sense of identity and possession.

I for instance feel no sense of "patriotism" towards bowling, which is primarily an "American sport" but which I find inherently dull--particularly as a spectator sport.

Also, there's the issue of participation versus audience appreciation. Lots of sports are very healthy, demanding and "mental" but hold almost no interest externally (to someone watching or following "the action").

My sense is that soccer is boring to watch, but ultimately the point isn't about liking an inherently fascinating action versus another, but about roots and identity.

Why not switch sports? England and Europe get to have American football and baseball, and we get soccer and rugby.

What's wrong with this picture?

My point isn't that soccer is bad, or that baseball is better. Context is everything.

But change is painful, and involves re-inventing traditions and relinquishing continuities.

There's a movement afoot in the world to make everyone part of the same paradigm, to wipe away differences and flatten out the human condition, so everyone is more and more alike. Watch the same things, do the same things, hear the same versions of things--perhaps eventually even breeding into a single hybrid "post-racial" human type.

But the variety and mutiplicity of the world is interesting. Difference is interesting. Soccer is just fine where it is, and I see no reason why it shouldn't thrive. But as I pointed out earlier, in media time/share, attention is a zero sum game. If soccer becomes the dominant paradigm in North America, we can pretty much kiss American football and baseball and basketball good-bye, because soccer mania is messianic: Once it takes hold, people get a little hysterical about it. People kill each other in the stands, for god's sake!

Soccer isn't bad. It looks boring to me. But it obviously doesn't look boring to you. That's exactly as it should be. You should love who you are, and what you have, just as I should love who I am, and what I have. That kind of provinciality is quite useful and valuable in the world. It's what gives it its flavor and spice.

Why should everyone in the world go nuts over soccer? Why not have 30 different national games, and everyone loves their own thing?

It's just great that you like soccer. Love it to death. But please don't insist that it become my obsession, or that I fall in love with it. There's no necessity that I do, or that I become more "tolerant" of it co-opting my culture, out of some duty to "diversity," etc.

No one's asking you to love baseball or American football, just don't insist that WE must love all the things YOU do and love to watch, because there's absolutely no reason that we should.

I grew up playing and watching and fantasizing about baseball and football. I resent it when people want to sweep these sports aside in our schools, and have all the kids concentrate on soccer. You grew up playing and watching and fantasizing about soccer--which is exactly as it should be. Why must there be a winner, and a loser, here?

Ron said...

How come so often arguements about soccer as a spectator sport rarely revolve around the sport itself?

I've often posed this question to people I meet here in Miami, which is more of a foreign city than an American one: Could you watch an entire soccer match, from start to finish, if the two teams were "The Blue Team" and "The Red Team," with no national identity or other identity? In other words, is the sport itself entertaining or intriguing to you?

Honestly, I consistently see soccer "fans" realize that I have a point. Also, consistently, football fans realize that, in fact, football truly is that interesting.

In a free market, you have to let me choose to be entertained by soccer, not forced. The game itself is just plain not entertaining. Although my opinion is biased, I do believe, based on the reactions I get from both American and foreign soccer fans, that they really don't enjoy the game, so much as they sport their nationalistic pride. And that's not a spectator sport. That's national insecurity.

You can like the NFL or hate. It's only a matter of one channel away from being out of sight, out of mind. Same goes for soccer. And I won't debate whether I can change my TV channel with anybody.

Curtis Faville said...

Ron:

Thanks for this post.

I tend to agree that soccer is not an interesting spectator sport. The "tension"-points seem to be lacking. There's a kind of aimlessness while the ball is moved from one side to the other. It almost seems as if the strategic positioning of players towards an approach to the goal would be no more, nor less, effective in setting up a possible try, if the individual players simply chose random paths towards the clustering. This is the "strategy" soccer fans tell me is interesting, but I simply don't see it. With football, you have 22 men in close proximity put into hectic motion for 5-8 seconds, all interacting with each other; this happens over and over again. It's breathtaking. With baseball, each moment of action (the pitch) is fraught with suspense and possibility.

I'm careful to try not to judge other sports by standards that are alien to it. I'm willing to accede officially that soccer is as interesting to its fans, as baseball and football are to me (as spectator events), even though personally I fail to see it as imaginatively engaging.

Ultimately my point isn't about personal preference. You mention the idea that soccer's appeal is based to a large degree on national "insecurities". I would agree that people who want or need to "get excited" about a sport that represents them may play a much larger part in their supposed interest than the regionalism which affects American football (but which seems less a factor in pro-baseball). Americans, for instance, can't generate much "national" fervor in international competitions such as the Olympics. Is that because Americans are more "secure" in their sense of nation-hood that others? I can't say.

I do think that the tendency to adopt soccer in America isn't based on any inherent interest or delight in the game itself, but the sense--among the American middle-class--that it's "supposed" to participate, i.e., it's the "in" thing, or it's so "cosmopolitan" or it's so chic for your kids to be playing soccer instead of traditional American sports like baseball or football or basketball. Its advantage is that a lot of kids get to play, and there's little real violence in the game for youngsters. These kids run, almost literally, around in circles, with little sense of what all the movement means. As a set of possible skills which utilize the motor abilities, soccer strikes me as a pathetic excuse for meaningful physical activity. What we want to train our kids to do is use their arms and hands and psycho-physical neurosystems; a sport which denies them the use of their hands seems quite regressive, on balance.

Anonymous said...

the original soccer was played not with a ball
but with the cut-off head of the enemy captured and slaughtered...

I think that the Incas or Aztecs invented it..

same "ball" was used in ancient basketball
and polo

so we get terms like

"slaughter" the other team (enemy) or
"we murdered them"

or as Vince Lombardi said:
"doesn't matter how you play the game,
winning is everything"

hey, I can be "anonohmus"

so, I am!

Ron said...

Yes soccer is all about national "insecurities", like the national "insecurities" of the great nations of Manchester United, AC Milan, Corinthians FC, Real Madrid...etc. Humans born in countries not named USA get excited about their local soccer clubs because of national insecurities. They also find American football really really exciting didn't you hear? Ask anyone in any country in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America...etc if soccer or american football is more exciting to watch. I bet they'll all say soccer is boring but they only watch it because its the only sport they can beat America in while Americans dominate real football.

Also this made me laugh: "Americans, for instance, can't generate much "national" fervor in international competitions such as the Olympics"...you have got to be kidding. Now I know you're just trolling with your anti-soccer rant.

Curtis Faville said...

Ron:

"I bet they'll all say soccer is boring but they only watch it because its the only sport they can beat America in while Americans dominate real football."

This sounds sarcastic, but I'm not sure what you're getting at. I mean, on a national level, American sports aren't really "regional" in the sense you mean here. Football, for instance, is big everywhere in the country.

I think that Olympic sports tend to be much more popular in countries in which there is a paucity of other kinds of amateur or professional sports (with the possible exception of soccer). Russia, Japan, China, Africa--I think countries like that get very hyped up about Olympic events, much more so than America, where we have already a half dozen big-time sports which are avidly followed by millions of fans.

Yeah, the Olympics come very four years, and everyone gets rah-rah for a week, but on balance, it doesn't have the same pull here as it does for Koreans, for instance.

So, not trolling. I'm perfectly serious. Soccer is a bore, and America doesn't need it. Take your stupid soccer ball and go back where you came from. Cut off someone's head and use that instead--then you'd really have some excitement.

F150Driver said...

High school baseball programs around the country have nearly succumbed to the foreign-sports terrorism known as soccer. Young minds and bodies are being wasted by continuing the slide into the soccer abyss. How can we protect our American sports culture from the foreign sports terrorism?

The only way to protect our sport culture is to write long internet articles bashing soccer. That'll show soccer to stop raping and boring us.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Driver:

I doubt whether there is anything that can be done about the soccer craze. Certainly I'm not going to influence the trend by blogging about it. I'm not so vain as to think that what I say publicly on the internet is going to influence events in the world--do you?

I'm just expressing an opinion. Blogs are places to express opinions, and to engage in discussion. Sarcasm is one kind of arguing, but only if it's applied judiciously. Exaggeration, such as "foreign sports terrorism" isn't effective because it doesn't get at the heart of my presumptions.

Media and public events in the modern world aren't rational phenomena. People don't watch and support and spend money on professional sports because it's morally uplifting, or to show community spirit. They do it for other reasons. It's a form of entertainment. Some sports are fun to play, others are fun to watch. Bowling used to be a much bigger deal in America than it is now. They used to televise bowling tournaments on television, but that went away decades ago. Is this a good or a bad thing? We could talk about that. Bowling fans tend not to get as worked up and passionate about it as soccer fans do.

I kind of feel the same way about hockey. We'd end up having the same discussion about why I find hockey boring, compared to baseball. It's partly cultural training, familiarity, and regional preference (if I had been brought up in Toronto, I'd certainly be more likely to feel differently about it).

I'm perfectly willing to admit to cultural blindness. And that would apply to anyone. Do you believe in dog-fighting? In cock-fighting? In some parts of the world, those are very popular.

But the fact that soccer is a "good, clean" sport really has nothing to do with my individual, and admittedly narrow, view of soccer. I find it boring. And I wonder why, given our perfectly satisfactory national pastimes, we need to sacrifice them in favor of a dull replacement. I think lots of people act like sheep. If you tell them that soccer is the next new thing, they'll jump gamely on the bandwagon and watch it, encourage their kids to play it. They think having their kids play soccer is socially chic. It isn't. It's just dumb.

Ed Baker said...

HEY F!%)

I have a 22 year-old (1986) F-150... a little rusty, but still runng good and passes the Emission test every when-ever. I have the extended cab and when my kids were young used to carry 6 kids and all of the baseball equipment around to games

no way would I transport anything smacking of soccer... it s just too violent a game and teaches the kids how to "fight for the team" and "win" the war... at all costs!

I just inheretid a fortune in greenbacks thinking of dumping my "trusty" old F-150 and getting a brand new little Toyota pick-me-up truck!

you know, "they" ain't tellin us about the huge recalls non-stop and more serious defects in them American cars! Besides, most Toyotas are really "made in America" and probably the safest car on the road now.

I paid about $12,000 for my truck in 1986 paid it off in two years...

actual cost w interest? about $17,000 TODAY same truck costs about $37,000 and a 5-6 year loan which comes to a total cost of (abour $90,000 for a fucking FORD! and, I just found out, Henry was an anti-semitic racist pig! AND NEVER EVER
kicked a soccer ball.

PLUS

a brand new Toyota little truck I can get for about $16,000


heck, I can pay cash for that cheaper than my '86 and with how much the dollar is now worth I can use my "old money" and eseentially get the new truck for actually about the price it costs for a ticket to The World Cup Soccer Matches..

so

I am all for soccer... it is good for the economy... American Sports.. The NFL, The NBE, The NCAA, etc are bankrupting America..

I say VIVA ZAPATA !

Ed Baker said...

hey!

"F-!%)" s h o u l d be...

"F-150"

then with this correction every thing that I've ever said or written will not only make sense
but will be utterly
...and more-so

F150 Driver said...

Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe. Soccer is truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation.

Soccer penalizes manly contact and burns countless calories, and the margins of victory are almost always too narrow to afford any gloating. As a display of nearly death-defying stamina, soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent with insurmountable power.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Driver:

I think soccer DOES INDEED produce excess frustration. There's a sense that you want to use your arms, but you can't. That's certainly a frustration. Like playing with both hands tied behind your back.

Old television game shows used to dream up ridiculous stunts that people would play for prizes. Like launching ping-pong balls into the air and then catching them in your mouth, or something. Really idiotic. That's kind of how I feel about soccer. Who would dream up a game where you couldn't use your hands? Just dumb.

F150 Driver said...

Yes indeed, soccer is played with feet because foreigners don't realize that the very essence of being human is using your hands.

Soccer is a liberal's dream of tragedy: It creates an egalitarian playing field by rigorously enforcing a uniform disability, that it is football played with the foot. Anthropologists commonly define man according to his use of hands. We have the thumb, an opposable digit that God gave us to distinguish us from animals that walk on all fours. The thumb lets us do things like throw baseballs and fold our hands in prayer. We can even talk with our hands. Have you ever seen a deaf person trying to talk with his feet? When you are really angry and acting like an animal, you kick out with your feet. Only fools punch a wall with their hands. The Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush was following his primordial instincts. Showing someone your feet, or sticking your shoes in someone's face, is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Do kids ever say, "Trick or Treat, smell my hands"? Did Jesus wash his disciples' hands at the Last Supper? No, hands are divine (they are one of the body parts most frequently attributed to God), while feet are in need of redemption. In all the portraits of God's wrath, never once is he pictured as wanting to step on us or kick us; he does not stoop that low.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a good laugh. You said "In America, we have baseball (invented here in the late 19th Century)"

The rules may have been ammended in the USA in the 19th century but derives from rounders (which is mostly a girls game in schools in England). Mentioned in one of the Bronte books many decades (centuries) before Baseball ever showed it's head.

Anonymous said...

WAOOW! WAOOW! What are you Americans scared of? what? you all seem worried by the fact that FOOTBALL (as the rest of the work call it) requires skill to use the ball with your feet, hence FOOTBALL you got it. And if the game that you call football, when all you do is catching a ball and stops every 5 seconds all supporters to get stuff with food( obese nation!!), was a man's game WHAT'S UP WITH ALL THE PROTECTIONS, THEY SHOULD MAN ENOUGH TO TAKE KNOCKS AS WE DO IN RUGBY, NOW THAT'S A REAL MAN'S GAME. take off all that gear sh** and fight like a man if that's what you call yourselves. No protection.
the american media is trying to do everything to stop Football (Not yours, ours) to grow in the US but there is nothing you can do stop the sport to grow over the pond and Believe me it will take over every single one of your boring sports. You don't play a sport or force your kids to choose a sport because you are patriotic, that's mental!!!Your kids love FOOTBALL (the rest of the world one.)And there is no stopping it. You guys need to get out more (Of the US)to understand What's happening around you. Don't just sit there and believe what your media feed you with. THINK, ANALYSE you have brains to do so. Thanks.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Anon:

You sort of missed the point, here. My criticism of soccer isn't based on patriotism, though one might find worse reasons for supporting one's team. Actually, that side of it often gets out of control, as those notorious riots in the stadia prove.

We could argue about the inherent values of interest of the sport, or we could argue about why you think it's necessary for everyone in the world to be playing and watching the same activity. Whatever happened to variety and indigenous invention? It would be as silly for me to insist that you play American baseball in England, as it would be for your to insist we take up rugby.

I find soccer a boring spectator sport. It might be a whole different thing to participate, but most people don't, as you certainly realize. Unless you count the extracurricular hijinks that takes place in the grandstands.

As far as the pace of the game is concerned, I find soccer to be many times less diverting, no matter how continuous the "action" is. Just a bunch of men trotting around, jockeying for position, jostling each other, and, once or twice an hour, trying to kick the ball into the net. So boring!

If conformity's your thing, then maybe you should encourage everyone to get stoned, ad Dylan used to say.