Tuesday, July 11, 2006

America and the World Cup

There is always a lot of hope after the World Cup that Soccer will catch on in America, and it never does. It will not this time either in case you are wondering. The highest rating of the World Cup was about the same as Friday Night Smackdown of the World Wrestling Entertainment. Hardly an encouraging note, but it was up from four years ago. There are always lots of theories why the world’s most popular game is a big dud in America. Rush Limbaugh thinks it is a political plot by the Left to make us more like the rest of the world. Possibly the motive of some, but hardly the real reason soccer is as popular as paint drying in America. Not that many Americans care about politics (see our voter turn out) and even less think about politics why they watch their sports. The real reasons are simply, and I can boil it down to two.

Reason 1: Scoring is non-existent. The reason that scoring is non-existent is because no one wants to score. The goals are huge, yet many games end zero to zero or one to one, as did the World Cup Final. Just watch a shoot out, and you can see that a goalie has no chance to stop a shot. None. He completely guesses every time, and half the time when he guesses right, he still cannot stop it. Why do they not score like that during the game. Lack of trying is the only reason I can come up with. They too often go backward on the ‘pitch’ or field in order to try and go forward, but the minute they go forward they turn it over. After the turnover the other team almost immediately starts going backward just so the defense can set up and take the ball back. It seems obvious that they do not have a real plan about how to get the ball on goal. Most goals seem accidental, and I really believe that most teams play for the penalty kick shoot out. Americans have a real trouble accepting this sort of game. See Hockey as another example.

Reason 2: The players are wimps and bad actors. Every time someone gets tripped or bumps another player going for the ball, they fall over and fling themselves about as if they were having some sort of spasm. A player that gets kicked in his shin guard will fall to the ground with a yell and hold his shin as if his foot was amputated before anesthesia was administered. It is a common site to see a player hauled off the field on a stretcher and then return the next time the ball goes out of bounds. It is so ingrained in the sport that the announcers do not even pretend that the player on the stretcher with the medical staff is hurt. Supposedly a player taking a dive or wasting time gets a yellow card, but I saw several players roll on the ground without being hit at all, and get free kicks for it rather than a yellow card. Even the Italian who took the controversial head butt flopped around as if he had been hit by a Mack Truck. Americans hate a games based on being a wimp. We cannot stand it when players flop in the NBA, and we really cannot stand seeing it happen every two minutes in a soccer game. I do not believe it a coincidence that the two teams that flop the least (the USA and England) did not win, and are the two countries most willing to stand up in the face of adversity in the real world. Thus, I also believe it strangely fitting that the two counties most known for falling over and wailing at the first sign of trouble in the real world, France and Italy, are the two countries that made the World Cup final.

Americans love soccer as a child’s sport. It is nice for children because they can run around and expend a lot of energy. But, as they grow into manhood, it is appropriate for them to choose a manly sport. Sadly for the rest of the world, this leaves soccer out of the equation.


Andrew Duggan said...

Ice Hockey, now that's a real sport. When a guy get's hit in that game its part of the game, and done well gets cheers from the crowd (at least fans of one team). Sure it has its players that like to take a dive, but there is something satisfying about a good check into the boards.

Too bad the NHL is trying to soccerize the sport with increased penalties and the "shoot-out" for a tie after one overtime, but its still better than Soccer.

Anonymous said...

Yes, hockey is way better than soccer. Much more excitement and action.