Soccer, Going to War, and American Malaise for a Great Sport

I do not generally care about professional sports, the posturing, the whining, the divas. It irritates me. I prefer college sports of any flavor. That being said, the World Cup this year seems to have taken over the American psyche. Soccer has finally changed from the sport we love to ignore to the sport we can’t stop talking about. I am glad for that.

Mr. Rochester sent me an article by Bill Simmons, an ESPN writer who usually writes about the NBA. It is long but very amusing. My two favorite bits were right in the middle:

Question No. 13: If you could change anything about soccer, what would it be?

I hate how teams milk leads in the last 15-20 minutes by faking injuries and taking forever to sub players. When that Ghana player had to be carried off on a stretcher at the tail end of the America game, then hopped off like nothing ever happened as soon as the stretcher was out of bounds, I thought that was appalling. Actually, it made me want to go to war with Ghana. I wanted to invade them. I’m not even kidding. That’s another great thing about the World Cup: Name another sport in which you genuinely want to invade other countries when you lose.

Question No. 14: What’s been the strangest thing about the 2010 World Cup?

To hear Germany described in such likable, underdoggy tones. Who would have thought these young upstarts would jell this fast? It’s like the announcers were talking about the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays or something … if the Tampa Bay Rays had started two world wars and nearly brought down Europe.

I have never watched soccer on TV much. To me, soccer is like baseball, a little boring to watch on TV but really fun in person. The first time I saw soccer being played in person, I thought it was one of the most beautiful sports I had ever seen. Granted, it was the A&M girls team and they were all actually beautiful PLUS they glided around that field and kicked the ball with a grace I had only imagined. Extraordinary.

I hope soccer becomes more popular in the US. I have always thought our general indifference to something that is so pervasive everywhere else was a bit rude.

–Jane, will be watching soccer Saturday morning with a Bloody Mary in hand

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