Sunday, June 27, 2010

We aren't the world.

Let's get a couple of things straight, here:
1) I don't currently have a single dream that the entire nation of Ghana could crush, even if they all tried at once.

2) I have never had a dream related in any way to soccer.
There have always been Americans that loved them some soccer, and that's fine. It's still mostly a free country, and if you want to get all interested in curling or cricket or bocce ball or whatever, then get down with your bad self.

But as far back as the Carter years, when I was in elementary school, a certain political overtone crept into the whole soccer thing. Soccer gradually became more than a game; it became, in certain circles, a badge of something; a sign that one was trying to separate one's self from the dull proletarian American herd and show one's almost... almost... European sophistication by embracing this pastime.

Mariatheproblem comments in an excellent post:
The soccer scolds don’t understand that American football is something that grew up organically, out of a specific culture, at a specific time and place. That doesn’t make it either superior or inferior to soccer, it just makes it our game. Those hundred-year-old chants and ancient rivalries serve the same purpose as all other cultural traditions: they build valuable social capital.

Or maybe the soccer scolds do understand. Maybe it’s just one other aspect of the Kulturkampf attack on American exceptionalism. No wonder NPR has taken up the desparate cry that football must be replaced by soccer.
Personally, I'm not as much of a football fan as Maria; with me, it's baseball. But before the soccer scolds try to come for my baseball, they'd do well to be reminded that it's played with a handy ash wood club.

(H/T to Dustbury.)


og said...

I don't consider it a sport unless there is a distinct possibility of aomething dead coming home with me, which limits things to hunting, fishing, and in extreme circumstances, indy racing. I have never even had the urge, and I don't understand it. It's probably a type of brain damage, but I'm not gonna guess whether I have it, or everyone else does.

To assert that one game is better, somehow, than another, is therefore doubly ridiculous to me. If you enjoy something, who gives a damn, enjoy it and shut the hell up and let others enjoy their stuff.

I do sort of want a vuvuzela, though. Both it's name and the noise it makes sound like body parts, though different ones.

Roberta X said...

"I don't consider it a sport unless there is a distinct possibility of aomething dead coming home with me...."

Zombie-dating is a sport now? OMG! ;) ;)

(WV: "quade." See?)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I'm a full contact croquet hooligan, since 1994, myself.

George said...

I'm not a big organized sports guy, myself, but, I am American.
And, regarding futbol, I could not care less. Another blog said the problem is soccer is it's associated with nationalism and tribalism, and governments (!) Maybe this is why it doesn't work here.

Brian J. said...

The American snob soccer aficionados look down on people who work with their hands. They're very pleased to have found a sport for them.

og said...

"Zombie-dating is a sport now? OMG! ;) ;)"

A guys gotta be fast to get something off a zombie chick. And not catch zombie in the process. Kinda like dating my ex wife, actually, at 78 rpm.

Ed Rasimus said...

Everyone has to have a "sport" which won't damage their self-esteem. When you've got an endeavor that only requires you to run around in random circles, occasionally fall down and whine, has no particular talents required other than seeing a white ball on green grass and kicking at it, and is "won" by a tie you've got a winner. Play it in suburban communities were people are too self-centered to actually invest in real equipment, training and coaching. Encourage girls to play as well as boys because you need a Title IX sport in the high school. A win-win situation. Meanwhile the Rangers are five games in first place in the AL (curse the DH anyway) and TX is ranked #3 in pre-season polls for the fall football season. What's this World Cup thing about?

BobG said...

Around here soccer is played mainly be pre-adolescent boys and teenage girls.
Personally, I don't watch sports, they tend to bore me.

Anonymous said...

Soccer is a perfect to explain the world outside the USA: lots of running around, very little scoring, waiting for the USA to accept them.

No wonder they blow those stupid horns all the game, there's nothing else going on.

It's a little kids game and should be mocked as such.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed playing soccer in high school. Watching it ranks right along with bowling, golf and paint drying.

Like Bob G, I get bored with the manufactured drama and hype.


Kristophr said...

American sports should involve shooting.

American Football is just Rugby with helmets. Turn that grid-iron into a shooting range.

The Euro's can have their futbol ... we'll set up ma deuce in front of our goal.

Moriarty said...

I couldn't care less about American football.

(Unless you mention soccer.)

jbrock said...

For anyone who gives a nutria's nethers about any team 'sport', there's something to be said for one that that doesn't require players to either be 7 feet tall or weigh 300 pounds.

But I'm not particularly a nutria's-nethers-giver. And anyway, there's always baseball, which has the added advantage of using implements that can be pressed into service as weapons.

Miguel said...

As a soccer and football fan, I have to point out that we are talking about two different sports. Why either side want to compare them is beyond me. It is like trying to compare tennis with lacrosse. Silly.

Don M said...

I played soccer in High School, College, and in Germany. An exchange student from Chile stayed with us, and taught "the Chilean". Mostly we played soccer because my High School had a graduating class of 26 and a collision game like Football would have quickly led to Team-Smaller-Than-11 . Once I spent enough practice time on soccer, I could always make a simple trap and volley kick. Still rather boring to watch.

Anonymous said...

"Soccer is a perfect to explain the world outside the USA: lots of running around, very little scoring, waiting for the USA to accept them."

Shootin' Buddy can say him some dumb shit...there's even a special series here at VFTP. But he has his moments, and this is pretty damn good. Funny even, and humor ain't the boy's strong suit.


Tam said...


A true Southern gentleman would realize what he was typing and where, and put a effin' sock in it.

I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Soccer would be exciting if it were combined with "The Running of The Bulls" but, since Europe is run by the same imbeciles who adopted metric, that won't happen.

Still, what would a goal look like when the golie is a pissed off bovine male?

Ulises from CA

Anonymous said...

"A true Southern gentleman..."

It is well for Southern and Northern gentlemen alike to remember that behind the seemingly boundless trove of snark and irreverence lies a real and personal life. Apologies.

"...put a effin' sock in it."

North, South, East, West...always good advice.


Unknown said...

NPR sez soccer oughta replace football?

They've once agains proven the inefficiency of Ex-Lax. No matter how much they take, it doesn't work.


Joseph said...

So, would consider lawn darts a sport?? :)

LabRat said...

All sports bore me save rodeo, boxing, and that newfangled mixed martial art thing. Baseball I can enjoy more than most of the standards- at home, with a book on hand. Every time I have tried to attend a game with full intent to focus, I wound up sleeping peacefully through innings 3-8 or so.

That said, I can at least divert myself for minutes at a time with American football. Soccer is like watching a Kafka novel with a particularly green background.

og said...

"So, would consider lawn darts a sport?? :)" Lawn darts is a game which can result in fatalities, so I guess it kinda qualifies. Jarts was one of the very few outdoor games I actually enjoyed, and i was even not totally sucky at it.

Blackwing1 said...

I always figure that Euroball (aka, "soccer", "futbol", etc.) was simply a plot by the EU-niks to help disarm the US. The quintessential US sports are baseball and football; while soccer is the Euro-game.

What can you do with the skill of kicking a ball around? Not much.

But throwing a football 60 yards, or throwing a fastball at over 100 MPH (and then actually hitting it...with a skinny wooden club) are skills that can be easily translated. No wonder the US won WWII...those boys could pitch a grenade with accuracy.

Try kicking one sometime...

atlharp said...

I played soccer as kid.......yeah that's about it.

Unknownsailor said...

Allow soccer players to tackle the refs, and I'm game.
Especially when said refs blow the whistle and disallow a goal without explaining why.

Robert said...

Football is the only team sport that really interests me. It's like chess, except played with men who hit like a mac truck instead of bits of carved wood. A "near-perfect balance of intellectualism and atheleticism" is a very good way to put it.

The tactics vs. strategy disparity discussed here a few months ago is a good analogy. For sports like soccer or basketball, the strategy involved is about on same plane as squad-level tactics, where as in football it's more like planning a battle.

Will said...

I seem to recall a study that found soccer players develop brain damage from using their heads to hit the ball.
Might this explain some of the stuff that goes on in those soccer crazy countries?

Anonymous said...

I'm an immigrant to this great country. I played soccer all of my youth and follow the sport to this day.

When I first got here, I saw a football game on TV and was bored to tears simply because nothing at all was happening for so long. Does it mean football is worse than soccer or any other such asinine comparison? no, it just means that I had no understanding whatsoever of how football was meant to played and what to look for; I was looking at it through the prism of soccer. Those of you of intensely dislike soccer are probably doing the reverse.

For me, golf is the sport I don't get at all. What a waste of a great rifle range ;-)


Anonymous said...

Tam wrote:
"Soccer gradually became more than a game; it became, in certain circles, a badge of something; a sign that one was trying to separate one's self from the dull proletarian American herd and show one's almost... almost... European sophistication by embracing this pastime."

Sadly, that's true, whereas in Europe, the "sophisticates" consider it the game of the dull proletariat.

There was an article last week (I can't find it again so no link, sorry) which said that during the 20s and early 30s soccer was actually more popular than football here in the US but that infighting of the type that would make the NFL blush brought it all down.


Billy Beck said...

Football (not kickball) can in *no way* compare to the strategic sophistication of baseball.

That's just completely impossible. Nonsense.

Kickball is for children.

Football is for neanderthals.

Baseball is for men.

Michael said...

"Europe is run by the same imbeciles who adopted metric, that won't happen."

Spoken by someone who clearly doesn't have a job that requires math and measurements at the same time.

Sad to say, we are the idiots in this case (I'm looking at you)

Only reason we use what we have is because the masses are comfortable with it and don't want to change their paradigm for the sake of stupid things like science.

Tam said...

If god wanted us to use the metric system, he'd have given us ten fingers and ten toes. The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets twenty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!

Larry said...

6.1 ft/gal? Good lord, what do you drive, a used NASA crawler-transporter?

Matt said...

My dad's advice growing up was "never play a game involving sticks", but he let me play little league baseball anyway. Go figure.

og said...

"twenty rods to the hogshead"

Is this code for something else at your house?

Jus' wunnerin.

og said...

larry: geek cred for doing the calculations.

Tam said...

Actually, I was quoting Grandpa Simpson.

og said...

I know, but I couldn't help but be a snarkosaurus. I'm a guy. I can't read "Rods" "hog" "head" and not take it somewhere wrong.

Justthisguy said...

There is no reason to use silly made-up French units when we have other systems whose arithmetic is actually easier, if you know what you're doing. The computer folks gave up on the decimal system about the time I was born, and I'll be sixty, soon.