This one was so preposterous as a mail, I figured everyone should have a laugh! It is no secret that the rest of the world is crazy for football while “America” is not. Instead America plays four sports of which only one is played widely enough to have a World Cup (Ice Hockey).
So it is rather puzzling to see this piece of mail.
Soccer is running America into the ground, and there is very little anyone can do about it. Social critics have long observed that we live in a therapeutic society that treats young people as if they can do no wrong. Every kid is a winner, and nobody is ever left behind, no matter how many times they watch the ball going the other way. Whether the dumbing down of America or soccer came first is hard to say, but soccer is clearly an important means by which American energy, drive, and competitiveness is being undermined to the point of no return.
Soccer or Association Football is based out of the older game that became American Football. It was tamed a lot so that players didn’t get injured since the original game was just violence on a field.
I… I don’t think you grasp football (the sport I am referring to is called football by the entire planet and last I checked? We outnumbered you guys!). At no point during a football match does anyone tell all the kids that everyone is a winner. In fact? There is a clear winner and clear losers in the football match. It’s just that since it is a low scoring game, the matches are closer and more nail biting for it.
What other game, to put it bluntly, is so boring to watch? (Bowling and golf come to mind, but the sound of crashing pins and the sight of the well-attired strolling on perfectly kept greens are at least inherently pleasurable activities.) The linear, two-dimensional action of soccer is like the rocking of a boat but without any storm and while the boat has not even left the dock. Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without any bullets in their guns. Soccer is the fluoridation of the American sporting scene.
Baseball. Seriously? It’s like low scoring Cricket where no one hits the ball and when they do there is little to no control. Put it this way? If you watch the footwork of someone like Sachin Tendulkar who was widely considered the greatest “ever” to play the role of batsman in Cricket and in baseball? There is little to no comparison. To watch someone hit a 100 mile per hour ball with the edge of a bat so that it passes between fielders? That’s interesting. Sure Test Cricket exists, but the purpose of that is a pure game of batsman versus bowling without over constraint.
If you play linear, two-dimensional football then you will get linear and two dimensional scores. This is like giving a dog a sudoku puzzle. It’s only numbers after all.
It’s a man kicking a curve ball. All that trickery with your hands? That’s being done with his foot. We play two-dimensional football because kids don’t learn the finer strategies of football in the same way that kids don’t learn the finer strategies of basketball.
For those who think I jest, let me put forth four points, which is more points than most fans will see in a week of games¯and more points than most soccer players have scored since their pee-wee days.
If you score 30 points a match, then each point doesn’t mean as much. A striker can remember every goal because each one is special.
1) Any sport that limits you to using your feet, with the occasional bang of the head, has something very wrong with it. Indeed, soccer is a liberal’s dream of tragedy: It creates an egalitarian playing field by rigorously enforcing a uniform disability. Anthropologists commonly define man according to his use of hands. We have the thumb, an opposable digit that God gave us to distinguish us from animals that walk on all fours. The thumb lets us do things like throw baseballs and fold our hands in prayer. We can even talk with our hands. Have you ever seen a deaf person trying to talk with their feet? When you are really angry and acting like an animal, you kick out with your feet. Only fools punch a wall with their hands. The Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush was following his primordial instincts. Showing someone your feet, or sticking your shoes in someone’s face, is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Do kids ever say, “Trick or Treat, smell my hands”? Did Jesus wash his disciples’ hands at the Last Supper? No, hands are divine (they are one of the body parts most frequently attributed to God), while feet are in need of redemption. In all the portraits of God’s wrath, never once is he pictured as wanting to step on us or kick us; he does not stoop that low.
I snorted coffee out of my nose when I read this.
I am not good at football. And there are people who simply dance with the ball at their feet. If we tried it? We would be eating grass. The point of football is that the sport is easy to play, easy to explain and cheap.
But hard to master. Most people can kick a ball, but not everyone can kick it with that accuracy under that pressure.
If these are your arguments then you are an idiot. The point of a rule restriction is to make the game more interesting. Rugby and Football shared the same roots but went down different ways. Football became a non-contact sport, while rugby continued in the original vein. Maybe it is because the mailer is an American. Maybe he just isn’t exposed to football bar watching children play.
2) Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding. Even its language was intimidating, with bases, bats, strikes, and outs. Striding up to the plate gave each of us a chance to act like we were starring in a Western movie, and tapping the bat to the plate gave us our first experience with inventing self-indulgent personal rituals. The boy chosen to be the pitcher was inevitably the first kid on the team to reach puberty, and he threw a hard ball right at you.
Thus, you had to face the fear of disfigurement as well as the statistical probability of striking out. The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends invited to your home to watch your dad forcing you to eat your vegetables. We also spent a lot of time in the outfield chanting, “Hey batter batter!” as if we were Buddhist monks on steroids. Our chanting was compensatory behavior, a way of making the time go by, which is surely why at soccer games today it is the parents who do all of the yelling.
Baseball is cricket for children. We play it’s ancestor in schools. Rounders. FYI? Old English Sport. We just preferred Cricket.
So there are no rituals and individuality in football? Are you mad? Showboating IS football!
He wasn’t a great striker, but everyone remembers the celebrations and the personality. And it is rather sweet.
Two things Americans have no idea about.
In Cricket? There is something called Sledging. Hey Batter Batter? Is cute. We had sledging, which was verbal abuse designed to break concentration. Often witty.
And you have never heard an entire football stadium of 50,000 people sing songs about how much you suck. Every game has sledging or an equivalent. The only difference is football has taken steps to control it because of it’s association with racism and an attempt to make the game better, social and more suitable for visiting children.
3) Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion, but few people know exactly what is wrong with that. More than having to do with its origin, soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score. Even the way most games end, in sudden death, suggests something of an old-fashioned duel. How could anyone enjoy a game where so much energy results in so little advantage, and which typically ends with a penalty kick out, as if it is the audience that needs to be put out of its misery. Shootouts are such an anticlimax to the game and are so unpredictable that the teams might as well flip a coin to see who wins¯indeed, they might as well flip the coin before the game, and not play at all.
I think you are confusing football for the Mayan Ball game. No one ever is sacrificed to the gods of football.
Most games end in positive scores. In fact? The Team I support (And Ally Fogg too) only drew 5 times in an entire season. And there is a reason why a draw is interesting too. Shoot outs are for one off games that NEED winners. Most games played never use them.
4) And then there is the question of gender. I know my daughter will kick me when she reads this, but soccer is a game for girls. Girls are too smart to waste an entire day playing baseball, and they do not have the bloodlust for football. Soccer penalizes shoving and burns countless calories, and the margins of victory are almost always too narrow to afford any gloating. As a display of nearly death-defying stamina, soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent with insurmountable power.
Basketball by that logic is for girls. And you are against football because boys are idiots? This is one of the arguments that gets brought up a lot. Girls are sensible, boys are idiots. No. We make girls sensible because they have to grow up young. Their childhood is training. Boys? They learn escapism.
I had a female best friend growing up. We played together a lot. My toys were Lego. Hers was a wendy house. One’s a toy of the abstract and of imagination and construction. The only real life skill I learned from Lego was how to put up Ikea. A Wendy House? That’s designed to teach you a life skill that women are expected to have. Her goal in life was set up aged 8 as “home maker”. Now there was no malign intent in her parents. They were both doctors, but the joke is that whenever we played “house” I was always the stockbroker. Aged 8? I had no fucking clue what that was!
Aged 28? She’s the stock broker and is married to a lovely lady in New York. The joke being that was what she always wanted. This is why I think “girl’s toys” should be universal. I think the toys girls play create their ideals while boys are encouraged to play for the sake of play.
That being said? When I played doctor as a child? I had a proper stethoscope and real syringes and empty pill bottles.
This man right here. This is the sort of person who ruins sports. This is the sort of person who takes kids leagues too far. This is the sort of person who encourages their kids to hurt other kids because winning is more important than playing. What this man encourages? Is Douchebaggery.
The point of football is power also counts. There are famous players who have power. The statement is that you either have trickery and skill or you have power and force. There are few players that have both. City have Yaya Toure who can provide pin point passes, through balls (AKA a pass aimed so that a running player will run onto the ball without having to stop) while also being fully capable of a shoving match with a defender to keep a ball in possession. The physicality of football is different. It is a semi-contact sport. You do have player to player contact, you just cannot wrestle people to the ground.
Let me conclude on a note of despair appropriate to my topic. There is no way to run away from soccer, if only because it is a sport all about running. It is as relentless as it is easy, and it is as tiring to play as it is tedious to watch. The real tragedy is that soccer is a foreign invasion, but it is not a plot to overthrow America. For those inclined toward paranoia, it would be easy to blame soccer’s success on the political left, which, after all, worked for years to bring European decadence and despair to America. The left tried to make existentialism, Marxism, post-structuralism, and deconstructionism fashionable in order to weaken the clarity, pragmatism, and drive of American culture. What the left could not accomplish through these intellectual fads, one might suspect, they are trying to accomplish through sport.
Bets on the OP being white and American and having no sense of the word “irony”.
And football has nothing to do with Marxism. Seriously? American Football’s opulence needs to get on our level. You cannot use the words Decadence and Marxism in the same category. It’s like saying Liberace had Spartan Aesthetic.
Yet this suspicion would be mistaken. Soccer is of foreign origin, that is certainly true, but its promotion and implementation are thoroughly domestic. Soccer is a self-inflicted wound. Americans have nobody to blame but themselves. Conservative suburban families, the backbone of America, have turned to soccer in droves. Baseball is too intimidating, football too brutal, and basketball takes too much time to develop the required skills. American parents in the past several decades are overworked and exhausted, but their children are overweight and neglected. Soccer is the perfect antidote to television and video games. It forces kids to run and run, and everyone can play their role, no matter how minor or irrelevant to the game. Soccer and relevision are the peanut butter and jelly of parenting.
I played football for 24 years. And I am sad to say, that my skills were harder to acquire than those playing rugby. Americans turn to soccer because soccer beats American football in one way.
It is easy. The ball is the only real piece of equipment you need. It requires very little training to learn the rules. It is satisfying to score. And it is universal. Do you know why we never adopted American Sports in our schools? See our sports is designed for everyone to play. The point of sport is not to break down children and bully chubby kids. It is to make sure we are healthy. We played football and rugby to burn calories and fight obesity. In the USA? Sport is only for the few and elite. Million Dollar Facilities for a handful of students. In the UK? We had school teams, but we all played sports on the weekdays. The weekends were for teams.
And if you think a role is minor or irrelevant to the game? Think again.
Italy’s Goalkeeper is widely regarded to be the best in the world. Buffon’s transfer fees would have been in the 40 to 60 million euro line. For JUST a goalkeeper. The spot usually picked last.
There is a difference between someone who understands the sport and someone who does not is someone who understands the sport realises why a role is important even if it is minor. Let us take Nigel De Jong. Played for City.
When he played it was nearly impossible to score goals because of his disruption of opponent play. If he didn’t play? City were just as fragile as any other team. Just one player in a minor role. All he was doing is making sure players behind the usual goal scorers didn’t get to pass cleanly. A “minor” role that has major impact. Football is like that. A goal is a team effort. Kids won’t understand what a deep lying striker or a target man does for his team. Either dropping in to force defenders to play out of formation or pushing the line up to create space. We have seen rigid football and we have seen “Total” football and this charming man seems to have only seen children play the game. It is like deciding on how basketball is played by watching kids rather than Michael Jordan.
I should know. I am an overworked teacher, with books to read and books to write, and before I put in a video for the kids to watch while I work in the evenings, they need to have spent some of their energy. Otherwise, they want to play with me! Last year all three of my kids were on three different soccer teams at the same time. My daughter is on a traveling team, and she is quite good. I had to sign a form that said, among other things, I would not do anything embarrassing to her or the team during the game. I told the coach I could not sign it. She was perplexed and worried. “Why not,” she asked? “Are you one of those parents who yells at their kids? “Not at all,” I replied, “I read books on the sidelines during the game, and this embarrasses my daughter to no end.” That is my one way of protesting the rise of this pitiful sport. Nonetheless, I must say that my kids and I come home from a soccer game a very happy family.
Football is magic. It is the cheapest sport you can play. All you need is a ball. Any ball. There are people who play football with tennis balls and volleyballs. Anything that can be rolled about. you don’t need the lines, you don’t need 11 man teams. My Nigerian co-workers tell me they used to make balls out of plastic bags. I tell them that Indian street cricketers make their balls out of tennis balls and insulation tape (tennis balls bounce too much and don’t swing or spin as much)
Football’s heart and soul is in children playing with rolled up jumpers or rocks to mark the goal posts. I may not excel but I played it like this. One side were the bags, the other side was the bins. That was our goals. We all took turns in goal. No slide tackles and roughness because we played on asphalt. The heart and soul of football comes from players of this street game. From the Favelas of Brazil to the cul de sacs of Wembley, we all learned to play this scrappy game with no roles. This is where we learn all the skills. Passing, shooting, defence. On the big pitch? Our individual strengths come in and decide our positions and indeed our roles within that position. .
It is a game that is simple. But it can be wonderful. The talent in football comes from using the simple to do extraordinary things. Like watching Ronaldinho hit a crossbar on PURPOSE to demonstrate accuracy. Imagine throwing a baseball so accurately that you hit a baseball bat. Now imagine kicking it and applying swerve to do so. It is the mastery of simplicity that makes football great. It is watching someone do something that you COULD do as the sum of the parts of the achievement are nothing special. But combined?
Anyone can hit a drum. Not everyone can be a drummer for Dream Theatre.
You will cheer a goal as much as you will cheer a save because the game is beautiful because of the save. The drama, the tension cannot be matched. Games are won and lost over a second.
To denigrate the sport of the common man is classism. It is the boorish classism of people who think that if they don’t do anything common, they will magically be classy. To them the rockstars of the sport are gauche and nothing more than tripe. They are entitled to their opinion. Just as I am entitled to mine.
They will never have stood shoulder to shoulder in the cold to see that one moment of beauty and passion. That one second where physics, physicality, skill and luck are perfectly aligned. To watch Maradonna destroy an entire team’s defence by himself and score is art. To watch the “crazy legs” of Grobellar distract a penalty shot sufficiently to save is art. To watch that inch perfect cross hang in the air while a striker meets it is just art.
I was at the Premier League’s final match two years ago. Manchester City HAD to win. They were losing by 1 goal.
It was high drama. City scored an early goal, a mistake lost them the advantage. And a second goal despite being a man down due to a City Old Boy (Joey Barton) behaving like a dick and attacking two current players. Manchester City were losing. That heart stopping game play is not found in any sport. It was 30 seconds of skill that won a trophy. The first of a club’s in decades. Look at the time at which City Equalised and then Won. In Injury time, they turned the game upside down.
That is football too. That capacity to make your heart stop.
And no other high scoring sport has that capacity. if you are 30 points behind in basketball the game is over. Baseball is slow. American football stops every few minutes and Rugby has the need for special equipment. Same for Cricket. Football has that capacity to turn from slow to fast in a second.
But football? Watching a loser become a winner is just as beautiful as watching your own team lose.