Sunday, June 20, 2010

Viva Football!

So what's with the big stink about soccer? I don't think I've ever seen America more united on a subject than their apparent hatred of a single sport. Why soccer?

Is it perhaps because you can't push one easy button and have a dinner ready in three minutes? Or because there are no awesome car chase scenes or cars knocking helicopters out of the sky, Die Hard style? Perhaps it's the lack of apps to buy or flashing, colored lights... Maybe it's just because in this one area, America is not dominant. Or maybe it's like Glen Beck, a conservative talking head, says: “It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us. It doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.”

Soccer is not a thrill-a-minute game with non-stop action and slam dunks and huge hulking men clashing helmets. It's a game that shows skill and a lifetime of dedication. I'm an American, and guess what-- I like soccer! (sorry, Beck. I'm not a part of your America) The second half of this blog will detail why I enjoy this sport...

Why I Like Soccer

-I like soccer because of the passion I see. Passion in the players, and in the fans.
-I like the unity brought around-- countries around the world close down stores and schools, and huddle around televisions to watch. Collective moans at a missed shot, cries of outrage at a perceived bad call, the excitement felt by so many... all over the world.
-It's one arena where it doesn't matter how big a country is, or how much money they have-- in the end, the best team wins. (Need I remind you of the USA-Slovenia game? Slovenia has the population roughly the size of Houston, Texas...and still gave the US a run for their money!)
-The commonality you suddenly share with someone when you discover you both are watching the World Cup. Or that you play soccer... and it doesn't matter what language you speak or anything!
-How silly things like vuvuzelas can create a buzz all around the world (teehee- pun completely intended)
-I've played soccer. Okay, I am no pro. But I played for about four years when I was younger, in a youth league. Stuff like that gets under your skin... And can create a love for a sport, especially when you know what it's like to play.

So come on, America. This world is so much bigger than you! Instead of whining about how exciting it isn't or completely trashing something you don't understand, join the rest of the world and learn something new. You might find you enjoy it.

Yeah, it's not all like this-- but things worth having are the things that are worked hard for!


  1. Well, I admire your pluck, Ms. Mast, but I have to disagree with you. But I won't use up any more cyberspace to explain why... my initial post was too long anyway!

    I like the blog though ;)

  2. haha, I can't believe you called for America to conform with the rest of the world.

    however, you are right. People watch hockey, for goodness sake....and the national spelling bee.

    I used to laugh at soccer. For the same reason I gave up on hockey: there wasn't enough scoring.

    But then I played soccer...err futbol. And I learned it. Maybe I've just matured a bit and realized that offense isn't everything. Maybe I've grown to appreciate the skills it takes to pass the ball across the pitch, to trap balls, dribble around guys, head the ball properly....

    There is an unexplainable thrill from watching someone kick a dart in a corner of a net.

    And where aggressive scoring fails to exist, aggressive defense-especially in the form of a slide tackle-does exist.

    Soccer is a universal game, but ultimately it has two problems stunting its popularity in America:

    1) it is futbol....and we have football. We like football. We love it. We don't want to replace it.

    2) it wasn't invented in America. So we don't like it as much.

    The point of your post is spot on, but I have to disagree with your point about US vs. Slovenia. There are perennial powerhouses in World Cup Soccer. Yes, they can get surprised (see Argentina and Brazil), but many of the same teams are dominant every four years.

    Perhaps I'm just an arrogant American, but American Soccer gets leftovers after all the major sports get their athletes. We made it to the quarter-finals with mediocre athletes, by America's standards. With top-notch athletes, American Soccer would dominate.

    That is all.

    Go Ketchup!