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Aolynd 06-12-2010 12:18 AM

old football
 
Not American football.

Soccer.

It's world cup time, which means its time for the rest of the world to try to convince America that we'd really really like soccer, if only we'd give it a chance. And media organizations, around the world AND here, begin a huge campaign to raise awareness of this sport.


My problem:

We ARE aware of it. Not only do most Americans get the general idea, but pretty much all of us have actually played it. We even require our children to attend public school where in almost all cases, they are at some point REQUIRED to learn the basics of it. At this point it's like a million dollar coke commercial...as if there are people watching at home who have never ever tried a coke and will be awoken to a new wonder by the animated bears.

I posted a comment about this on facebook today (after 15 years in professional theater, it should not be surprised that the vast majority of the people on my friends list would probably think Bumbles is a moderate).

Even so, the comments surprised me. The first said that soccer was like the sweedish foriegn exchange student in school...you made fun of her for her accent and later feel bad because she's hot. As it went on, it got to comments about how Americans separate themselves from the world and are xenophobic for not liking soccer.

I hope we eventually win the world cup, just so we can laugh at the rest of the world about how we still don't give a crap about this sport as a nation.

The truth is, we actually took 'football' and evolved it...slowly over decades, into a completely different game. One that is, frankly, superior.

I make this statement based on the following: we tried both. Pretty much ALL of us. As I said, most of us were actually required to learn soccer. The rest of the world is vagely aware that american football involves helmets and grass.

But we're the ignorant ones who don't understand.

In the end, I don't actually mind when other countries think we're boorish. Fuck em. It's hard to be the underdog and sometimes you gotta talk smack about the big guy to feel better. I get that. Sometimes it's also hard not to be appreciated for the stuff you DO excel at, when a more heavily populated country hogs too much of the spotlight. I get that too.

But I am growing sick of other Americans who actually seem to dislike this country. Screw you. If we're not evolved enough for you, then get the fuck out. Seriously, we have a damn waiting list to get in here, let someone else have your spot.

I rambled a bit but it needed to be said.

The sport really is boring. If you like it good for you. You should like things. But it doesn't make you more enlightened or more sophisticated than everyone else.

Aolynd 06-12-2010 12:34 AM

may as well keep going while I'm on this stream of consciousness thing.


On the "America love it or leave it" thing.

I think I actually believe that. Maybe because its hard to respect people who just accept people who are so cowardly with their one and only life, that they accept their lot and dont lift a finger to change their situation. It's hard to even understand that level of cowardice sometimes.

If you don't love your country, why is it your country? Pick one you do love and go there. Rocket science.

Yes it's hard...especially for those without education or means, but most of the people reading this are college educated. Think Canada is better? I understand, they have allot going for them. I've been many times, it's great. If you actually contribute, they will let you in. Same with England, Scotland, Ireland, pretty much all of europe. Been to most of em myself, and I can say with certainly: they let you go there to (although some of em, not so much on the 'having jobs' front just now).

Not really about soccer, but it got inspired by the comments from the original soccer post on facebook and the whole "Americans are stupid" thing.

People are stupid everywhere. We don't have a monopoly on that.

SupportTank 06-12-2010 09:26 AM

Soccor is Boring. There. I agree

BaseBall is Almost as bad. actually its worse. There I said that too.

Amercian Football on the other hand is quite good for the most part, Minus defensive teams.

Hockey kicks everyones ass.

Davek 06-12-2010 11:08 AM

Soccer is fun to play but boring as hell to watch.

Hormadrune 06-12-2010 05:35 PM

A few things. American football is only derivative/evolved from soccer through rugby, which is a much more entertaining sport than "football"/soccer IMO. Exponentially so, to be honest. So I wouldn't give the US credit for evolving soccer in that respect- evolving rugby, yes. Rugby's worth a watch if for some reason you've never seen it. Hard to get on TV in the states, occasionally BBC America will have 6 Nation games. Wish I'd joined the club team in college, in hindsight (since I was too small to play collegiately at the line positions I'd played in football- I had safety size with DT footspeed :p ).

As for soccer in the US, I think we're just spread too thin for it to ever attract our elite athletes in numbers sufficient to become a truly elite national program. Kids here have football, baseball, basketball, and hockey that all have entrenched, highly visible professional leagues as well as nationally covered collegiate teams. The only time we see collegiate soccer covered nationally is perhaps during spring championships. In Brazil, to contrast, if you're an elite athlete, you'll be playing soccer. In England you'll perhaps choose soccer over rugby (cricketers are even less athletic than baseball players, so they don't count). There just isn't the same competition for the athletes in most other countries. I think this is the biggest reason it will never be better than the 4th or 5th most popular team sport (in terms of viewership, which ultimately drives everything else because $$$$ talks).

All that said, every four years I have a one month fling with soccer. The World Cup, as a spectacle, is pretty cool (sorta how I used to feel about the Olympics). And at the top level, soccer can be entertaining (this is obviously the top level). But MLS is only slightly more watchable than the WNBA in my book, Euro league stuff is on at inconvenient times, and I already have four pro teams and two colleges that spread my TV sports time too thin- there just isn't room in my life to be a serious soccer fan. I imagine most Americans are the same to some extent. It just got here too late.

As you said though, it'd be great to win it all as a sort of fuck you to the world :p

I have a hyper-liberal friend (he thinks I'm a fascist- part of the same scene as your colleagues Aj) who likes to play the "soccer/its fans are more enlightened than football/its fans" card. Funny you mentioned that. Funnier still that he's been in the same fantasy football league as me for over 10 years :evilgrin:

Aolynd 06-12-2010 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513924)
There just isn't the same competition for the athletes in most other countries. I think this is the biggest reason it will never be better than the 4th or 5th most popular team sport (in terms of viewership, which ultimately drives everything else because $$$$ talks).

Ironically, this statement alone is proof that capitalism works. Even with a larger talent pool, the motivation isn't always there for US soccer players like it is in countries like Brazil or UK where there's a chance of massive rewards for being the best.

An experiment I'd like to see: tell a school that if every single student, every last one, gets 98% or better on the SAT's, then all students get $1000 bonus, and each teacher gets $50k. Even if you picked a terrible school, I'd almost be willing to bet they'd pull it off.

At the same time, (going back to the recent thread about loser rules), pick another school, even a good one and tell them that no matter how hard you work, or how little you do, everyone will get the same exact grade. It will be averaged among all the students. Also, teachers, janitors, administrators, bus drivers, and substitutes will all make the exact same pay, regardless of hours, workload, or amount of sick days, or quality of work.

See what happens.

Lurikeen 06-12-2010 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davek (Post 513917)
Soccer is fun to play but boring as hell to watch.

Truth has been written.

Karthanon 06-12-2010 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SupportTank (Post 513914)
Hockey kicks everyones ass.

Lacrosse isn't so bad, as long as you're watching a women's team. I just like seeing pretty girls hit each other with sticks, what can I say?

Davek 06-13-2010 09:44 AM

I can't stand that freaking buzzing sound for South Africa audiences. Take the World Cup to the Latin American countries where you have real audience participation/chanting/singing.

When I first went to check out a game, I flipped the TV on and went to another room. I thought that maybe they were showing some car racing event with the droning in the background...no such luck.

Hormadrune 06-13-2010 03:47 PM

Yeah, the vuvuzelas are obnoxious. I can't even imagine how awful it must be to sit in the stadium (sober anyway) with that droning going on for 2 hours.

The crowds have been good really, just a dumb local custom that means you can't hear any of the fans doing anything besides blowing the damn things. Initially I assumed it was just some kitsch souvenir thing gone wrong, but apparently this is the norm for RSA soccer.

Drysdale 06-13-2010 05:32 PM

I work for an international company. We had a good sized contingent from South America, Europe, and Africa camped out in our break room watching Uruguay vs. France and Mexico vs. S Africa. My office is right next door to said break room, and I got to hear all the noise. The funniest part was after one particularly loud exchange, I walked over to the TV to see the score.

0-0

One of my co-workers heard the score update from me and put it best:

"Someone must've gone out to take a water break"

:rolleyes:

Of course it's not too bad to see the 4 or 5 Columbian & Brazilian chicks jumping up & down cheering for who the fuck ever... That's at least fun!

FafnerMorell 06-13-2010 06:06 PM

I was in Vegas over the weekend, and walking down the Strip during the England-USA game - every TV (and there's one every 10 feet) was tuned to the game - when the US scored that goal, the roar all around was deafening (I was standing near the Irish bar at New York, New York, which was packed to capacity).

That said. the remaining hour or so was boring as hell - Davek nails it with his comment.

But hey, if the rest of the world wants soccer - knock yourselves out.

Wildane 06-14-2010 05:17 AM

It's fucking sports, it doesn't matter. I really don't understand the mindset of sports fanatics. The ONLY thing you get from your team winning a game is bragging rights, and that only matters among other sports fans. Yet, many people out there actually hate other people simply because those people enjoy watching another team. It's not a big fucking deal.

I can understand following your team, maybe get a couple of pieces of team logo-emblazoned paraphenalia, and even a little of the shit-talking, since that's usually done without any real malice. But, people getting trampled to death in stadiums over a game, or rioting in the streets after a game, I don't get. The latter is what really baffles me, as people will fucking riot whether they win or lose. In Denver, after their first Super Bowl victory, people went out in their own city and destroyed property (that they would ultimately pay for) out of what....elation? Yes, your team won the Super Bowl. Guess what? Many teams have won Super Bowls and there will always be a Super Bowl champion for as long as there is an NFL. It's not a big deal.

Then, of course, you have Congress getting involved in professional sports. I really don't know anyone who thought Congress had any business micro-managing the entertainment industry, which is really all that the NFL, NBA and MLB are part. Our sports "heroes" are nothing more than actors who hit the gym instead of the stage. They have nothing at all to do with how our country is run (technically speaking), yet Congress set aside time to have hearings regarding steroids in baseball. Greg Giraldo really puts things into perspective on his latest album, regarding the taking away batting records of alleged abusers: "You know what else is an elicit substance? Crack cocaine is an elicit substance. I don't see anyone taking gold records away from Whitney Houston."

Maybe I don't get it because I live in MS, and the closest we've ever come to having a professional sports team is an Atlanta Braves minor league team, so I really don't have a home team to get behind. Still, it's just a form of escapism. I mean, when "your team" wins, most people feel like they won, even though they had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. I guess I can't blame 'em too much; my form of escapism is with video games. However, I'm not gonna go set my garbage can on fire if I happen to kill the Lich King.

Sorry for the long-winded, slightly off-topic vent. If you've made it this far, I'll do you the favor of commenting directly to the topic. It's fucking soccer, we get it already. Yes, it demands for a better athlete than most sports, and great soccer players should be respected for their accomplishments, but who has time for another pro sport in America?

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 08:48 AM

The rioting and other nonsense really has very little to do with sports. It just gives sociopaths an opportunity to hide in a crowd and (usually) escape punishment for their douchebaggery.

I guess I'm the opposite to what you expressed- I don't understand men who don't love sports. Women I get- most sports are decidedly male-centric in terms of professional leagues at least (other than the WNBA being propped up by it's parent league, none seem to generate the revenue required to sustain themselves for more than a few years). For instance, I can understand why hockey might not appeal to most women since A) so few play it B) it's a terrible TV sport and C) there isn't even an eye-candy factor. But I don't know how a guy can grow up- at least in a major market like I did with lots of pro sports teams to latch onto- and not be a fan of at least a team or two. I could never really accept someone like that as "one of the guys." Is it escapism? Of course. A bit silly? Probably. But it's so ingrained in how men are raised, I just don't get how you could emerge from childhood without a deep love of sports.

Echelon Forester 06-14-2010 09:57 AM

the way i saw it, england scored both goals. and mickey mouse called, he wants his gloves back...

Drysdale 06-14-2010 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513961)
The rioting and other nonsense really has very little to do with sports. It just gives sociopaths an opportunity to hide in a crowd and (usually) escape punishment for their douchebaggery.

Of course Hormey only riots over REAL sports like Pats football! :evilgrin:

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 10:43 AM

You just wish you had something to riot about ;)

Wildane 06-14-2010 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513961)
But it's so ingrained in how men are raised, I just don't get how you could emerge from childhood without a deep love of sports.

That's the kicker, though...it's not in how ALL men are raised. I was raised by my single mother in a state that had no pro sports teams and the college teams weren't all that great nationally. On Sundays, when we got home from church, we watched Mid-South Wrestling followed by Black Belt Theatre. The first football game I watched was the Raiders/Redskins Super Bowl when I was 12 years old. Yeah, that's starting a bit late, but I didn't have a father around to watch sports with and, even though I'd played football in grade school, I never really watched it at that point. In fact, that's how I became a Raiders fan; I was so impressed by Marcus Allen, I decided that would be my team. Over the years, I kept up with the Raiders until Rich Gannon left and Randy Moss came on board. The Raiders started sucking pretty hard core, I already couldn't stand Randy Moss and his signing was about all I could stand out of Al Davis. Basically, when I gave up on the Raiders, I pretty much gave up on football. I didn't have an alternate favorite team and it seemed dishonest to try and back someone else anyway.

Baseball I tried to get into, but it's too much. There are lots of games you miss because there are so goddamn many of them. I just couldn't get into any one team, and if I don't know who I'm watching, it kinda detracts from the whole experience.

Basketball is just a place for fucking showboats to hang out. Collectively, there is no greater group of guys that lack in humility as much as the NBA. Yeah, that may not be high up on people's reasons to watch sports, but it is on mine. It certainly has to do with who I admire in sports....Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, John Elway. All the Randy Mosses and TO's and Allen Iversons of the world can suck a bag of dicks.

Hockey, I also tried to get into, but Horm, you are correct when you say it is terrible to watch on TV. You can't see the fucking puck! I got tired of guessing what was going on, because the cameramen were often fooled, too.

Anyway, I gave them all their fair shot. I was happy being a football fan, but I'm just as happy nowadays not watching. I think team sports are an important factor in the development of children; there are great life lessons to be learned playing sports. However, way too may people take these GAMES way too goddamn serious for my taste. I have more important things to keep up with.

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 11:21 AM

I hear you. I think given where I grew up, with four quality pro teams and close proximity to the other major markets in the northeast, it's just hard to imagine growing up uninterested/uninvolved in sports. Did you play sports? Even if my parents weren't sports fans (my father enjoys football and basketball, but isn't a diehard fan), I think exposure to the sports themselves and my peers would have got me interested in the pro games. I would have thought college sports would be fairly big in Miss., no?

I played hockey as a kid, so I can deal with TV hockey better, I think, than those who didn't. I know my father, who has terrible eyes at this point in his life, can't stand it because of the visibility issues and the fact that he didn't play, so perhaps anticipates less than I can. I think it was Fox who tried a special effect tracking glow some years back before the league nearly collapsed and broadcast rights fell into Versus' lap, but it wasn't received very well by hockey's entrenched fanbase (hockey fans are more intense than most IMO). Probably too bad really, since it's a tough sport to get into late because of that.

I'm a good Red Sox fan, but I wouldn't say I'm anything but a casual MLB fan, for exactly the reasons you state. Too many games, too many teams, too long a season. Even for the Sox, I can't invest the time in watching full games very often this early in a season. Plus, baseball's a slow TV sport. Great to watch live with the ballpark experience (especially at a shrine like Fenway), but I get fidgety watching 9 innings of June baseball on my couch (so I don't, with rare exceptions).

Basketball- I understand your angle there. I love it though. It's become my 2nd favorite sport at this point after really only being 4th for a long time for me. The C's have made it easy to love of course.

Football is by far my favorite- even when the Pats were a basement team during much of my childhood, I caught damn near every game. Football's one of those sports that clicks for me on so many levels. Odd aside though, I struggle a bit with the idea of my sons playing. I played (not at the college level though) and never had any serious injuries, but I read far too much about the serious health downsides lately. I probably wouldn't stand in their way, but I don't know that I'd push them into it as hard as I once thought I would. Every sport has risks, football just seems to have more than most.

I guess I just buy into the sports as a teacher of life lessons thing. I don't know that either kid will be gifted or even big enough to play sports at the elite level, but I think youth sports are a hugely positive influence on kids and they're going to have to at least try a few.

FafnerMorell 06-14-2010 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513961)
I guess I'm the opposite to what you expressed- I don't understand men who don't love sports. Women I get- most sports are decidedly male-centric in terms of professional leagues at least (other than the WNBA being propped up by it's parent league, none seem to generate the revenue required to sustain themselves for more than a few years). For instance, I can understand why hockey might not appeal to most women since A) so few play it B) it's a terrible TV sport and C) there isn't even an eye-candy factor. But I don't know how a guy can grow up- at least in a major market like I did with lots of pro sports teams to latch onto- and not be a fan of at least a team or two. I could never really accept someone like that as "one of the guys." Is it escapism? Of course. A bit silly? Probably. But it's so ingrained in how men are raised, I just don't get how you could emerge from childhood without a deep love of sports.

Actually, I have almost no interest in professional sports. On occasion - say, once or twice a year, I might watch a game of something (having watched an hour of soccer over the weekend, and an hour of one of the LA Lakers vs Boston games, I figure I'm done for 2010), but I don't follow any particular team or consider myself a fan of any (or any profession sport).

No one in my immediate family (dad, mom, brother) does either - it was just never something anyone had much interest in. My wife likes to watch the Olympics (figure skating, gymnastics, equestrian) but she doesn't follow team sports either - and she's mostly focused on sports that she has or is competing in (although not at the Olympic level).

Once my daughters get a bit older, I figure I'll take them to an occasional live game of baseball or football, just so they're familar with it - and if they get interested, that's great, but it's not something I'm interested in actively encouraging or discouraging. They get lessons in ballet, gymnastics, horse riding, swimmng etc - and after awhile, we'll see drop which ones they don't seem interested in (they love horse riding & swimming, don't care much for the other two) and probably do at least a bit of soccer, downhill skiing, biking - and see where their interests develop.

Lord knows, I can't fault anyone for the "escapism" aspect of following sports, but it's not an attraction I've ever felt. It does make it a bit awkward when folks want to talk sports, but the nice thing is usually folks talking about sports are more interested in telling you their opinions rather than getting yours.

Wildane 06-14-2010 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513972)
I hear you. I think given where I grew up, with four quality pro teams and close proximity to the other major markets in the northeast, it's just hard to imagine growing up uninterested/uninvolved in sports. Did you play sports? Even if my parents weren't sports fans (my father enjoys football and basketball, but isn't a diehard fan), I think exposure to the sports themselves and my peers would have got me interested in the pro games. I would have thought college sports would be fairly big in Miss., no?

Well, sure, college sports in MS are big, simply because that's all there is. You'll have your die hard Ole Miss fans or MSU fans, but neither team has really excelled consistantly on a national level. It's not like Alabama (where I've also lived, but only for a short time) where you have history, like Bear Bryant or more than just a couple national and regional championships. Ole Miss is better known for being a party school than it is for any kind of sports domination. Yes, on an individual level, MS has produced more than its fair share of football superstars - Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Deuce McAllister, Steve McNair, Archie and Eli Manning...the list goes on and on - but as far as teams go, we aren't near the top.

In answer to your question, I played very little organized sports. I played t-ball when I was 6 and football when I was 11, but that's it. We did go to the YMCA one year to get me into soccer, but there weren't enough kids my age to get a team going. I'm really hesitant to mention the football one, as I really didn't understand the game at the time. I was a band geek, though, and went to every high school football game for 5 years. Of course, those were just the organized sports. I used to play roughhouse all the time (which is really more like rugby than football), and lots of kickball (basically baseball played with a soccerball and your feet), so I wasn't totally clueless. I don't know, it just never stuck.

Sports have come a long way in the last few decades; unfortunately, they're moving in the wrong direction. American sports aren't our pasttimes anymore, they are just games played by overpaid primadonnas who aren't good role models at all. They're just another way for people to make money and another way to keep people glued to their sets. Basically, they sold out.

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 02:00 PM

Let's be fair- the guys playing pro sports today aren't really any worse behaved than those who played decades ago. Ty Cobb was a dirty player, a misanthropic racist, and one of the best baseball players of all time. NFL players from the 70's were sucking down as many 'roids as Barry and Roger ever did. Maurice Richard was so full of himself he punched out a linesman in the 1950's. Joe Namath was as big a prima-donna as anyone. The difference today is that we have a 24/7 sports news cycle, so all their warts and pimples are not only on display when the game is on, but in all the moments in between games.

I actually enjoy pro sports more than college because I find college sports to be inherently dishonest (the pretense of the "student" athlete is so far-fetched in most cases- these guys are, again in most cases, poorly paid pro athletes who have no real business in a college classroom). I might feel differently I suppose if I'd grown up closer to a major college program. College sports are generally weaker in New England in the major sports at least, hockey notwithstanding.

I guess I like some of the worst showboats too, to be honest. I don't really root for them because they've never played for my team, but I think Chad Ochocinco and TO are hilarious and good for the game. They're not out looking to injure opponents like Hines Ward or killing pedestrians like Donte Stallworth, they're just having fun and hamming it up. TO is a bit of a clubhouse cancer, I'll grant you, but I think anyone who doesn't like #85 just doesn't like football.

Interesting really to see your opinion mirrored in part by Fafner. I suppose not totally surprising given the venue. We, of course, all share a very nerdy interest in this genre of video games- chances are a few people here wouldn't dig sports.

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 02:05 PM

That last point came across like a dig and I really didn't intend it to be.

Lurikeen 06-14-2010 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hormadrune (Post 513979)
That last point came across like a dig and I really didn't intend it to be.

Is it just my web browser, or is your post count stuck at 11,440?

Uh... my post count is stuck at 17, 556 and it looks like everyone else's post count is not incrementing.

Bermuda Triangle?

And... Drysdale was hot on my heels, too. ---> 17,103

Hormadrune 06-14-2010 05:32 PM

Not sure (though will soon confirm when I submit this). I stopped paying attention after I realized my life's dream of hitting 10k- just living the dream at this point! (I'll never catch either of you guys anyway, worrying about it would be pretty frustrating even if I was that competitive :p)


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