Friday, June 23, 2006

Confessions of an American Heathen: Soccer is Not a Sport

Quick programming note: Next post will be next Wednesday (6/28), when this blog turns 2, as in two-years-old. Then, I am saving my energy for my July 4 stem-winder. Now, back to soccer.

Lots of interesting things happening in the world, i.e., a terror ring busted in Miami, another senior jihadi nabbed in Iraq (good thing there are no jihadis there), the House okays the line-item veto, the Demos in '06 have found their theme: Run on Cut-n-Run, evidence found of WMD in Iraq (good thing there were none of those, either), etc.

But let's talk about something really important -- soccer. Why talk about a game? Well, dear reader, this is not a game. It's a religion. And I take great personal risk by criticizing it.

Let's be honest. After all, if you can not tell when something is ever going to end (does the game clock mean nothing? Who mercifully calls the game "over"?), if there is no scoring, and if only the faithful understand the majesty and mystery of the enterprise while the majority looks on in disbelief and complete befuddlement, then what you have is much more akin to a bad sermon than a sport.

Let me just say that I always pull for our American teams, and I certainly wasn't hoping for the U.S. to get eliminated from the World Cup by Ghana ... GHANA!!! How does America lose in anything to Ghana?!! Ah, more proof that soccer is not a real sport. If it's a real sport, America cares enough about it to win. And we never lose to Ghana.

Take curling for example. Now that is a sport -- clearly-defined objective, easily understood, scoring occurs, and Americans are good at it. The Canadians are tough, but there is nothing like watching a pair of husky Minnesota girls work those brooms at 90 mph. At any rate, as you can tell, I am a big curling afficionado, and I digress. My apologies ...

The silver lining in the American elimination from the World Cup is that perhaps we will get less soccer evangelism here now. We can only hope.

I know I have breathed heresy on this blog now -- finally -- by daring to criticize soccer. I know that my simpleton American mind doesn't get the beauty of a bunch of foreigners running/jogging (it's great exercise, you know, and you couldn't do it, anyway ... try getting banged on the dome with a soccer ball) all over a large green field and occasionally kicking/running into a ball. WILL SOME ONE GRAB THAT BALL, AND RUN OVER THE GOALIE AND SCORE?!! AT LEAST DRAW A FOUL!!! DO SOMETHING!!!!!). Why does the goalie get to wear whatever he wants, any way? And then ... all of this aimless running around is on rare occasions interrupted (once a game, if you're lucky) by some one knocking the ball into the net. (This, too, apparently happens on accident with some frequency.)

And then some foreigner rips his shirt off and runs around the field screaming. I don't get it. I know, it's a beatiful mystery and I am an obtuse lout.

I don't understand the beauty of the insurmountable 1-0 lead.

I don't understand the passion that necessitates the throwing of blood and urine bombs at soccer "matches". There's another strike against soccer. It's a "match", not a game.

I don't understand a sport where you knock some one over and they give you a "card". I mean, in a real sport, you take out one of our players and you get hit in the coconut with the ball, taken to the deck, or taken out of the game.

I don't understand soccer hooligans. In soccer, the baddest guys don't even play. Is it the "passion"? No, just more insanity associated with soccer. But I am still interested in who will take the "Hoolicup". At least the hooligans have the sense to interrupt a soccer MATCH with some excitement.

I don't understand why soccer people can't just let this baseball/football/basketball fan be. I love a football field. It's marked in yards. And a baseball diamond ... it's marked in feet.

I'm wondering ... Are these soccer people the same ones that were peddling the metric system in America, telling us that we would be left in the Dark Ages if we didn't imitate Europe and the rest of the "civilized" world?

I don't understand why all those soccer people feel the need to schedule their religious services (er, matches) on Sunday mornings. Never mind.

I don't understand how you can't express dissent about soccer without getting some version of soccer evangelism shoved at you. I mean, if you don't like baseball or football, I know something is wrong with you. I don't need to tell you about it. Just like if you are soccer fanatic, you have told me enough. Say no more. Stop preaching and show me some of that European-like relativism.

I think these soccer people like soccer because America is not good at soccer.

But that's okay. I just think the fact that we're not good at it and the nation shrugs when we get eliminated from the World Cup shows ...

Soccer doesn't matter.

But I am just an American heathen.

Photo courtesy of World Magazine.