90-Minute Nap (aka Soccer in America)

Disclaimer:  I do not hate soccer as a sport.  I played it as a kid, and I had a lot of fun.  I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with the game itself.  Now, please bear with me as I rip it to shreds…

Despite being a huge sports fan, I do not want this to turn into a sports blog.  I have made an effort to refrain from ranting on sports topics, but this one slipped past my filter (even I am not above the filter).  That said, I have an announcement to make:

ATTENTION SOCCER PEOPLE:  PLEASE STOP TRYING TO FORCE YOUR SPORT ON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

I’m not sure how we can more clearly convey to the soccer people that we find their sport incredibly boring to watch.  As I say this, I fully admit that I watch the World Cup.  Why?  Same reason I watch the Olympics.  There is a undeniable sense of nationalism and pride, and it only comes on once every four years.  The rest of the time, I’d just prefer soccer be kept off of my TV.  Let’s explore why most other Americans share this sentiment:

Ties and little to no scoring

A soccer match is 90 minutes long (approximately…we’ll get to that in a second).  That is way to long to sit there and watch a game end 1-0.  This is the Age of Ritalin, and we simply don’t have long enough attention spans to watch a bunch of floppy-haired Europeans kick their little ball around for what appears to be no legitimate purpose.  Is it really a marketable sport if a 2-0 lead is basically insurmountable?  Don’t think too hard, the answer is no.  Also, every other major sport in the world has done away with ties, why can’t soccer do the same thing?  Americans aren’t going to invest an hour and a half of their lives to watch a game when there is a better than average chance it will end in a tie.  It’s like in Little League when everybody gets a trophy at the end, except here we abandon that policy when the kids hit puberty.

"You win!"  "No, no...YOU win!"

"You win!" "No, no...YOU win!"

The old saying goes “a tie is like kissing your sister.”  Well, I don’t have a sister so I’ll assume a tie is worse.

Diving and Fake Injuries

The American viewing public isn’t totally averse to fake falls and feigned sprains.  That’s why we have the WWE…sorry soccer, but Vince McMahon beat you to the American market.  Professional wrestling is a glorified soap opera, but the difference is that we know that going in.  If soccer wants to be taken seriously in this country, then how do you explain this:

This was all from just one World Cup!  Type “soccer dives” into a YouTube search, and you’re provided with 2 hours of instant comedy gold.  C’mon, eight-year-olds are tougher than this!  When your sport becomes 10 times more entertaining to watch when played by children, then it’s lost all credibility as a sport.  The worst part of all this is that the influx of European basketball players in this country has resulted in this pansy behavior infiltrating the NBA.

People who are waaaaayyy into soccer

I like baseball.  A lot of people think it’s boring to watch.  The difference between myself and a soccer freak is that I don’t belittle people who don’t like baseball.  Say something negative about soccer around a hardcore soccer guy and see what happens.  Actually, first you’ll want to back up about 25 feet because they may spontaneously burst into flames.  Always try to have a working, certified extinguisher with you when debating soccer when these people.  Don’t worry, you’ll be able to spot them with no problem.  They’ll be the ones who have an Adidas logo on ever scrap of clothing on their body (including the logo on their tighty-whitey briefs that they drew on there with a Sharpie…don’t investigate this for yourself, the results are horrifying).  They’ll also be sporting the jersey of their favorite club, FC Someplace You’ve Never Heard Of.  Atop their stubbled face, you’ll find one of the two Official Soccer Hairstyles, either the Greasy Stringy Shoulder-Length Hippy Head or the White Guy Perm.  They will refer to soccer only as “the beautiful game” and speak with a stubborn sense of condescension as opposed to actually refuting your arguments about the flaws in their sport.  I guess I’m just another “uncivilized American”.

Crazy rules that exist for no reason

I’m speaking about two rules in particular: aggregate scoring and injury time.  I’d explain what aggregate scoring is, but I can’t because I haven’t been able to make any sense of it.  All I know is that because of aggregate scoring, I’ve seen where a team lost a playoff match 1-0, yet they still celebrated afterwards because they somehow “won” on aggregate.  I’d research this further for the purpose of this blog, except that I figure that learning more about such a ridiculous concept can only result in somehow making me dumber.  Trust me, I don’t need the help.

"I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

"I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

The other stupid “rule” is injury time.  Injury time is where the referee estimates all the time wasted attending to the critically injured floppers during the game (which always results in a miraculous recovery after the whistle) and then tack that random amount of time onto the end of the game.  They’ve decided that the optimal time to do this is right as time is expiring in the second half, meaning that nobody really knows when the game is going to actually end until the referee blows the whistle.  Seriously, how hard is it to stop a freaking clock during the course of play?  If the organizers of a YMCA youth basketball league can do this, then why can’t FIFA, an alleged international sports governing body, do the same thing?

The whole Football/Soccer name thing

I understand that the United States is the only civilized country in the world that refers to the sport as “soccer” instead of “football”.  Allow me to explain why that is.  You see, “football” is an awesome name for a sport, so we simply gave it to a sport that was much more deserving of the name.  That’s all.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t think that soccer should be eliminated as a sport.  What I’m saying is that it is clearly obvious that the sport will never catch on with an American audience.  Just ask the organizers of the NASL, NPSL, ASL, ASL II, WUSA, and the USL (source: quick Google Search for “failed American professional soccer leagues…it didn’t take long).  Get ready to add Major League Soccer to the list as well.  A league with a history of financial difficulties and dismal TV ratings (not to mention a litany of failed predecessors) will have a very difficult time surviving the current economic recession.  They they banked on the fact (to the tune of $250 million) that David Beckham could spark an American soccer revolution, and predictably, we didn’t care.  If Pele couldn’t do it in the 70’s, then a tattooed, spikey-headed Spice Girl trophy husband had no chance.  Time to quit trying.

To end, I leave you with this…

soccerposterBasically that’s everything I just tried to say, only it took me about 1,100 more words.  Guess I’ll stick to my day job.

-ES

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6 Responses to “90-Minute Nap (aka Soccer in America)”

  1. Travis Witham Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. don’t get me wrong, i’ve seen some of the world cup matches, and AT TIMES it can get exciting. but, we’re americans and we want instant gratification and soccer just doesn’t cut it in that regard. same with hockey. i don’t mind watching the highlights of the playoffs, i mean at least fist fights are allowed, if not encouraged. but i’m impatient and i need somethin like basketball or football where there’s lots of stuff goin’ on. Baseball is great to watch too, granted it’s not fast paced and it’s much more enjoyable to watch in person, but it’s just cooler than soccer, duh.. oh and yeah that billy madison quote. one of the funniest quotes from a movie ever.

  2. Footballer Says:

    Awesome. Especially about the clock. How hard is it to hire a guy to hit the start/stop button?

    Keep up the hatred. Post some of your thoughts on football.co.uk.

  3. Oh wow, where do I start? =) Ahem (clearing throat). I am one of those soccer freaks you refer to, or was for at least ten years of my life. Compared to the big, hairy men in my WOMEN’s league I played in a while ago, I’m tame about the whole thing. But I still love my soccer. I admit there are many “hollywood” moments in the injury department, BUT muscles do crazy things when sprinting that fast and furious! When they drop like flies, grabbing at the hamstring, dude, it’s probably torn in half. As for the clock, you don’t want to start and stop a 90 minute game or even start that whole process. Adding on a good chunk of lost time is logical even if annoying. Is it boring to watch? Not for me, but I would always rather play than watch (as is true with all sports for me).
    Though it most likely won’t catch on like football americaine (which I love also, to be clear), it is an AWESOME sport! And now I’m officially planning a New Life soccer match and you better be there =)

  4. Big Dave Says:

    I, actually, enjoy watching soccer. But then again I enjoy watching chickens running around in a yard, especially those with their heads cut off.

  5. Hmmm…I thought I respected you. I thought we were friends. But now I learned the real you…It’s sad, really…

    Let me briefly refute your ridiculously simple points:
    – Ties and little to no scoring: Don’t be so simple-minded. It’s all about the beauty of the build-up…one good score should suffice. Relates to other areas of life…get it?
    – People who are waaaaay into soccer: I’m actually not one of these people…I just respect it as a beautiful sport. I think these people are a little off too, but usually because they’ve had a couple of Guinness’s.
    – Crazy rules that exist for no reason: Exhibit A – Intentional Walks…Exhibit B – Winner of All-star game gets home field in the World Series. What?
    – Diving and Fake Injuries: Did you ever watch freaking Reggie Miller play basketball? Basketball is as bad, if not worse, than soccer in the faking category.
    – The whole Football/Soccer name thing: Are you serious? Futbol has been around for centuries…football is relatively new… Just because Americans were too lazy to think up a new name…

    That’s the 5-minute version. Let me know if you actually want to have this conversation…

    Much love.

  6. I can’t believe it took 16 posts before I struck a nerve with you people. Janessa and Joe, like I said at the beginning I don’t have a problem with soccer as a sport, I just have a problem with the version of it that is being marketed to America.

    Janessa, get the game together. I’ll happily participate.

    Joe, I’d love to have this conversation. Also, you won’t find anybody scream louder than me about the idiocy of having homefield advantage in the World Series decided by an exhibition game. You can throw the DH onto the list of stupid baseball rules as well.

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