Open Letter to Football Fans.

Every four years, I try to be interested in this thing called "the World Cup," not understanding why a fair amount of my friends care so much about countries they're not in/from, or why they care about soccer in general. I'm from the US, and as much as I don't follow sports in general, I still enjoy the occasional game of basketball/baseball/football. Yet I just can't seem to be the least bit interested in soccer. Run, pass, kick. Kick, pass, run. Kick, block, run. For 90 minutes, or however long, sometimes even with no goals. And if there's a tie, the games ends in a draw. Why does a game where everyone wants a clear victor have an "everyone's a winner" mentality?

The whole world (except for the US) has a passion for this game, and I just don't care one iota about it. Maybe because it's so simple is why I can't get into it. From what I can tell, this game has barely any rules. Just a bunch of guys running back and forth, trying to put a ball in a box. Maybe I don't care because my country doesn't have a fighting chance, and there really aren't any Americans who seem to care about that. I'd imagine those two points probably aren't mutually exclusive. Maybe it's because I never played as a kid. Well, that's not true. I think I played one AYSO game when I was 5 (even practiced and everything), and by the end of that game, I learned that soccer's not fun.

I read Pia's blog every day (well, every time she updates), and she LOVES soccer. If you aren't a regular visitor to her blog, she moved to Korea to teach English to young, elementary-age students. Having only been there for less than a year, I can see the honest enthusiasm she has for the Korean team in her words. She wants them to win. If I spent some time in a place where soccer was enjoyed by everyone, say in the UK, I could see myself being bitten by the soccer bug. Maybe it has something to do with being surrounded by people how are into it.

Now you hooligans out there, don't get your panties in a bunch. I'm open to the idea of liking soccer. I just don't like it. If anyone can make a case for soccer, I'll listen. I'll be glad to. I mean, any sport that unites people on a global scale can't be that bad. Once this World cup is over, I'll be nearly 30 by the time the next one comes around. Maybe I'll care then.



Pia said...

Hmmm . . . I always thought my World Cup posts were boring.

I'm going to address this tomorrow, promise.

But I understand why Americans aren't too passionate about soccer. It's not fast paced, and unless you have a lot of patience, you have to be happier with great plays than points.

But if you're a Lakers fan, Jeff--well, that I can't tolerate!

Jeff said...

Like all Lakers fans, I like 'em when they're winning. I will say this, tho. I don't see any one player on the Kings scoring 81 points in a game. I think I'm gonna get behind the Clips when the season starts up again.

Pia said...

Yeah, my Kings haven't been doing so well. But I'll continue to ring those cowbells . . .

Nick I. said...

I also think the excitement with the World Cup is that the game has sort of a history with the world, similar to the olympics. I know that sounds pretty goddamn obvious, but think about it for a second. Unlike that bordello of consumerism, though, the Cup seems to just be really exciting, especially for the smaller populated countries.

The reason the fans go absolutely ape-fucking-shit-bananas over any game their team plays is because they don't have that same oversaturation of sports leagues in their countries as we do here in the United States. We have gender-divided leagues for Basketball, Baseball, Football, Dodgeball (Minneapolis is the headquarters), Softball, Soccer, College Sports, and even totally written-up "sports" like rollerjam and WWE. Shit, we classify making hundreds of left turns on a race track a sport!

I think that if you had one huge-assed sporting event that came around every four years (that didn't suck like the olympics) that also made the highly resourceful and heavily funded countries look like fools (in this case, the U.S.), how could you not get swept up in the frenzy?

Me? I watched one game, and thought it was a lot of fun. The fact that you have people that get as crazy as your standard NFL wackjob all over the world gives me hope. This may be due to the fact that I'm always trying to look so effing awesome whenever I can, but I think I might even like it.

KPL said...

First of all, let's get it straight: It's football! Help me understand the egotistical mentality of the U.S. for a second. "Um, the rest of the world calls it football, because that makes fucking sense, but fuck the rest of the world, let's call it, um, I don't know, um, SOCCER! And then let's make a sport where you use your hands and call it football, because handball is already taken!" Smart. Real fucking smart.

Second, football is the greatest sport ever played. It actually requires major athleticism, skill and intelligence. There are no huddles and time-outs. You have to be on the field, constantly thinking of strategy and the next play. You have to be in great shape. You have to think and play on the fly.

Third: Yes the World Cup is huge, but football fans don't only live for this tournament. They live and breathe football year-round, while their team battles it out for annual tournaments. Most people from the U.S. don't get the sport, because one is never enough. They have to have more. They need 28-7 games - Why do you think that a touchdown is worth so many points? I remember back in high school when some of the "American football" players would say that "soccer" was a pansy sport. Well I'll tell you right now, the only protective gear I ever wore were small shin guards. My shoulder is attached by three titanium clips. I have a thigh muscle that is rolled up, because it snapped off. If I tear either of my hamstrings AGAIN I have to have surgery. I have arthritis (before 30) in my hands from playing goalie for four years (a season of which I played with sprained thumbs). I've see bones snapped out of skin. I've seen kneecaps on the wrong side of knees. I've seen a toe 5 times its normal size, green and purple after playing with it broken for almost a whole game. I've taken a goalie to the hospital three times in one season for concussions. You play through this, because the game is thrilling, brilliant. These athletes have dedicated their lives (almost literally) to this sport. That alone makes it exciting.

If you think it's boring (this is not directed only to you Jeff) then don't watch it, because you are missing the beauty of the game. You just won't get it, because you're not allowing yourself to. You are a product of capitalist propaganda that tells you that a tie is failure. That 1-0 means that you won, but you're not that great. Just let us football fans watch our sport in peace. Let us drink our beer and revel in the battle. We’ll leave you alone during baseball - way alone. That way we don't have to suffer through the real Barry Manilow of sports.

Jeff said...

I was hoping you'd chime on in this one.
Thanks, Kevin.

I can't call it football and take it seriously. I just can't. Not yet. And for that, I'm sorry.

It's like I said, anything that unites nearly the entire world isn't be a bad thing. Maybe I'm just a product of capitalist propaganda that tells me that a tie is failure.

And all that shit with all the soccer casualties is revolting. Kudos to you and yours for having that much passion for something. I honestly don't mean that sarcastically.

And I'm with you on not knowing why a touchdown is worth so many arbitrary points. That's always bothered me.