Thursday, June 19, 2014


I pretty much feel like this ball after watching one of these games...from beating my head against random objects to suppress my boredom.

Did you know that the game we Americans call "soccer" is becoming incredibly popular in the US? Like, it will take over American football (a wimpy sport because it uses pads, like thick pillows basically as the whole world knows) as the leading sport in four or forty years or something, probably, maybe.

For the past couple of World Cups, and even more so during the current one, there is article after article suggesting this very thing, simply because the amount of people watching soccer from the US television market can suddenly be measured in the millions. And of course, as soon as the US team is eliminated from the World Cup, that number goes back to the normal hundreds. Well, as with anything, two main "sides" have developed on this debate. You have the globalists, europhiles, and people who actually claim to like soccer on one side saying it is true and that soccer will dominate the US. On the other are people who are American enough to detest soccer for the crappy sport that it is, and even more how un-American it is...and thankfully this group is the largest.

Then there's the few like me who are even more American, and while hating soccer with every patriotic red, white, and blue fiber of our being still force ourselves to watch the US play in the World Cup, and even watch other matches that might affect the US team's chances. That's how hardcore we are. We're like super patriots or something. We love our country so much, we'll purposely subject ourselves to watching this ridiculous sport for hours just because our country is in it against other countries. It's sort of how all of the events in the Olympics will have Americans watching them, even though, let's be realistic here, there's only a few events in both Summer and Winter that are even worth watching.

But it's time to settle the debate here and now about soccer. Why we hate it, why it's called soccer, why it will never overtake American football in popularity in the US (or even Canada), and why Europeans are ignorant about our sports and Americans in general. This might be a long post, so go grab a coke or a beer or whatever. Go on, I'll wait.

Why We Hate Soccer

We good? Good. I'll start with why we Americans hate soccer. Unless kids play it..but I'll get into that. Soccer as a sport doesn't in any way shape or form fit the American mould of a sport. To start with, it's low scoring. That's really an is DEVASTATINGLY low scoring. They have scores of 0-0 all of the time. I'm not talking about kids games, I am talking about top professional league play in Europe. A normal winning game is 1-0 or 2-1. That's 2 hours or so of only a couple goals scored, if you're lucky. That's like NASCAR with only, maybe a little crash or two. No American wants to watch that.

Baseball is a low-scoring game too, but that is the absolute bottom end of our tolerance for a low-scoring game that doesn't make up for it with some level of excitement. Hockey is also low-scoring. I'm not a fan of hockey, but I wouldn't call it boring either. If you don't see blood in the first couple of minutes in a hockey game, it's probably not actually hockey. Soccer is both low intensity and low scoring. We Americans just can't put up with that on a normal basis. For those of us that watch the World Cup, it literally takes us four years to recover.

And this leads into the next thing: we hate ties. Americans just can't cope with ties in our sports. There HAS to be a winner. We will go 500 innings in a baseball game until one of those schlubs gets a home-run and we can all go home. We'll rewrite every rule in football from college to pros to make sophisticated ways to prevent a tie, AND we'll even make the points system and other rules discourage possibilities of a tie. Even in golf, if there is a tie, the guys with the best score have a tie-breaker by dueling with their 9-irons. Or maybe that last one I just wished would happen.

Anyway, you can just look at the sports that are popular in the US, and you can look at soccer and see that the pace and nature of the sports are just different. Baseball as proven an easy one to export, probably because it is slow and time doesn't mean as much. But our top sport, football, was literally pushed down Europeans' throats and it still didn't take. There is a real difference in culture there between us and the rest of the world (whodathunkit?).

We use these. It's a novel concept, I know...

The next reason why we hate soccer; they have no respect for time. The clock simply fascinates Americans, and we use it in our sports (excluding baseball) as part of the tactics. We love seeing glory happen in the last 3 seconds of a game, or a last second tie so we can go into overtime. I don't know why, but overtime just is more a point. In soccer, for starters they count up, not down like every other sport that matters. And the reason they count up is because the officials will arbitrarily add more time to a match. This is insane. Even if there is a reason to add time (it happens occasionally in football, when the ref tells the clock guy to add time to the clock), these schlubs don't explain to the crowd why, and there is no way to know how much it will be until near the end of the normal time period.

Imagine: your team is winning, 1-0. It's been 1-0 the whole stupid game, but hey you're winning. There are 2 minutes left. Your boys just have to hold 'em off another two minutes and then it's a win against some country you could have sworn didn't really exist outside of a Borat movie. Then all of a sudden the stupid announcers in their prissy British accents vaguely mention that the officials have "figured out the time", whatever that means, and you notice there is another stinking 5 minutes on the clock. It's torture. We don't allow such cruel and unusual punishment in our sports in America there bub. It's even in our Constitution.

One're telling me one guy did all that? Come on guys, at least agree on who's taking the flop.

Finally, they have a real lack of sportsmanship in soccer. Namely, they look like WWE wrestlers as often as they do soccer players. There's enough acting going on in a premier soccer game to win an academy award or two. They fake injuries, then spring up like nothing happened. They pretend they were fouled constantly, and the refs just buy it every time, while the announcers treat it like it was "a good show" if acting is an actual part of the sport. I mean, you see some of this play-acting in football and basketball, but at least the perpetrators have the common decency to be in the same geographical location as the person who supposedly fouled them when they do it. And at least our announcers call them on it in a negative way and the fans frown on it. And at least our refs recognize bull when they see it. Most of the time...

So that's why we hate it. It's really just a cultural thing. We don't like it, plain and simple. Except when our kids play it. It is pretty popular for kids to play. Guess why? Because little kids normally have trouble scoring in sports, and soccer is naturally an "everyone wins" sport because ties are normal. So those goofy suburban parents just love it, because it's such an innocent, cutesy, pansy little sport for their kids to play and never get hurt or upset over. Because it's not a real sport.

Why It's Called Soccer and the Brits are Silly

The rest of the world, and by the rest of the world I mean the British, just can't accept that Americans don't like soccer, and are even appalled that we would choose our own version of football over theirs. Besides their well-known superiority complex when it comes to the rest of the English-speaking world, I've found that most Brits are just clueless about American football. That's fine, since most of us are clueless about soccer. But they point they constantly make that just chaps my hide is the one about pads. They claim football is wimpy because we wear pads.

It looks painful, but he's wearing Charmin. It's made of clouds.

Anyone who has ever played football...I mean full contact with pads...can only laugh at such a notion. The pads aren't like Charmin clouds or one of those giant sumo suits or something. They are hard, uncomfortable, and only there to prevent breaking bones. They don't do a thing for bruises and most other impact injuries. Only the helmet really protects like that. The rest of you is pretty open to some major damage, and after a game you sure feel that damage. And of course, unlike soccer, American football is a FULL CONTACT sport. And there are guys...actual human beings that weigh two to three times as much as the average full grown man that are also athletic and strong who purposely run at you and try to take you down.

Put your average soccer player in that situation in his little short shorts. No, really, I'd pay to see that, tough guy.

The Association Game...

Another sticking point with the Brits...they cry about us Americans using the term "soccer". Which is funny, because THEY COINED THE TERM. Really! The actual name for soccer is Association Football. Shortly after it was invented in the 1860s, they took the SOC out of association and added an -er to the end of it to call it soccer or soccer football. The term "football" was applied to a thousand different sports, and soccer was the Brits' attempt at making a codified sport out of them. American gridiron football was our attempt. Canadians chose our style and added their own rules and the Aussies went somewhere between soccer, rugby, and American style football.

Last I checked, it hasn't bothered most Americans one bit that the Brits have soccer and we have football. Leastways I've never lost any sleep over it. But I've seen enough Bits foaming at the mouth over it (metaphorically, I presume, as it was through text on the internets) that it really must be an issue with them. Like...they conquered the entire sports world except for the US and that just tees them off.

British Imperialism...all just a dastardly plan to spread soccer.

This leads to a rather ugly factoid  for the Brits though. In a way, they did conquer the sports world...via conquering much of the actual world through colonialism. And it was at the height of the British Empire that soccer made its debut. The sun never set on the British Empire back then. I'd say it never set on a soccer ball either. And our oblong ball is a gentle reminder that we weren't one of their possessions during the colonialism of soccer. Ha! Take that you Brits!

What They Don't Understand about Why Soccer Won't Take in America

And by "they" I mean the rest of the world, and yeah mostly the Brits. America is different than any other nation. I'm talking about American exceptionalism here (not that we are better than everyone else, although I think we are), about our culture and how it just ticks differently than the old world. And if you think about it, pretty much every other culture is old world. The South American countries stuck with their Latin heritage pretty well with a dash of various indigenous cultural influences, since pretty much Spaniards immigrated to Spanish colonies, and Portuguese to Portuguese colonies and both were pretty overbearing about establishing Spanish or Portuguese lifestyle in their new lands. Most Commonwealth countries, though they'll all deny it, stuck mostly with British customs, the exception being Canada which is heavily influenced by us. European and Asian countries are old world by default. African countries are all, for the most part, still developing in so many ways it's hard to tell what they'll become, but they are so heavily influenced by Europe I doubt their sports will be any different in a hundred years.

Melting pot...

The United States, on the other hand, is unique. We speak English, and many of our ancestors came from England, but nobody would refer to us as English, or Celtic or any other ethnicity associated with England exactly. Because we're also German and Scandinavian, Irish, French, Mexican, and Italian with a whole mess of other nationalities thrown in for flavor. In short, we came from too many to follow any one cultural group and so naturally we made our own. And in doing so, we became independent in a very cultural way; not just as a country that removed itself from a colonial power. And in that spirit, I think we feel a very real need to have our own sports, invented by us and not what Europe thinks is great.

The upper echelon of America has always been obsessed with whatever trends in Europe from art to fashion to cuisine, but sports are the poor man's entertainment, and the poor man, or middle class man even, in America doesn't give two poppycocks for what Europe thinks. So we have this independent streak and have a preference for American things. Our sports are no exception and mainly for that reason, soccer will never take off in the US as a big time professional sport. We just don't have room for it. 

Spicy melting pot...

The opposite is true too though. Our form of football just doesn't jive with most other cultures. For one thing, it's expensive compared to soccer. For another, it's a full contact sport, and most people in the world just don't seem to like that aspect. I think it's one of the reasons for this misconception that Americans are violent. We're not, we just have a tendency to shoot people that try to take our stuff; especially our life and liberty. We guard those pretty jealously.

And we love seeing a 6-foot-7, 250lb line backer do a flying tackle into a 180lb wide receiver. It's not like we want the guy to get hurt, it just looks so awesome. And maybe we like a dozen commercial breaks in a game instead of just one at halftime. I mean, when else are you going to get more chicken wings? During game play? Heck no. That's un-American right there.

Any way, that's my take on the subject. I think these article writers are just plain silly trying to read so much into some Nielsen ratings during a World Cup. I know there are people who truly want the US to become like the rest of the world, almost a surrender of sorts. I think in a very real way, we are a blockade to any real ambitions they have of a globalization effort.

And if our hating soccer and being loyal to our own sports helps keep the globalists frustrated (or at least the Brits, cause that's just funny), then I say bring on the odd-shaped football and the basketball played by giant people and even baseball. Because we're not going to be like everyone else.

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