As an American it’s my right to question soccer. Hell, if it weren’t for my daughter playing, I’d probably pay even less attention. But it’s hard not to be intrigued by the World Cup. So much passion. So much smack talk. All for a sport that’s as simple to play as checkers.
In America, we like our sports tough, and complicated. Ever try explaining (American) football or baseball to a foreigner? I reckon the closest sport we play (other than actually…soccer) is basketball. Same concept – except that using feet is illegal. Also, we like sports that require a lot of specialized equipment. Not just a ball.
In America we call it soccer – we don’t care if everyone else calls it football or futbol. You can even call it soccer if you want, it doesn’t matter to us. We just don’t like the sport as much as you do so we get to call it whatever we like.
Do we want our boys to whip some ass over in Africa? Hells yeah. If they won, we’d throw them the biggest tickertape parade the world has ever seen. Donald Trump will be the grandmaster. The players will be on cereal boxes. They’ll cut ribbons at fancy places with those big scissors. They’ll model underwear. But come fall, they’ll be forgotten as our attention turns to our sports.
Also – hey Frenchies, stop complaining about the Vuvuzelas. In the US, our athletes endure air horns, cowbells and Thunder Sticks. And I’m not mentioning what they endure in Philadelphia. The Vuvuzela is an indigenous South African concoction. And you’re in South Africa. You don’t go banning a cultural staple just because you can’t sleep. Don’t use that as an excuse for your scoreless draw.
A scoreless draw.
There’s a reason we don’t like soccer.
Posted via web from 300 Words
2 CommentsLEAVE A COMMENT
Jun 15, 2010
The papers have been building it up for days now. Managers quip sound bites they know is sure to antogonise their opposite number. Men in pubs; friends at all other times, now members of opposite tribes, sit and discuss formations, tactics, players and why their team is going to beat the other person’s team.
Match day – rooting around desperately for your lucky shirt from the cup-winning season 16 years ago. Jumping on the tube and meeting up with friends outside the station; walking up the High Road with thousands of identically-clad tribesmen swarming around you and surging onwards to towards the arena.
You enter the stadium, pass through the turnstiles, and emerge in the stands, a lush green expanse of carpet-like grass before you. You take your seat next to old Bill who’s been coming here for 52 years; a chap that regales you with stories of teams from years gone by, quoting encyclopaedic statistics as frequently as crumbs fall from his homemade sandwiches.
Slowly, the ground fills up, a murmuring cacophony of fellow fans eagerly awaiting the next 90 minutes. The groundsmen vacate the pitch and the public address system fires up announcing your team, the team you’ve followed for countless years, through good times and depression. The hairs on the nape of your neck rise like hackles as your team – YOUR team – emerges from the tunnel and takes to the field, ready to represent you and do battle in the world’s modern gladiatorial arena.
The whistle blows – rhythmic chanting fills your ears and slowly your lungs. Artists caress the ball with finesse, picking out intricate passes with sublime skill. 40,000 heads turn back and forth in unison as the game ebbs and flows, 80,000 legs slowly starting to rise as your team surges towards the goal.
Then suddenly, it happens. The ball breaks down the left flank – one of your boys gets to it and surges bullishly forward, athletic legs pumping like pistons. Your opponents are caught short – a wave of your players join the attack. An eerie silence washes over the stadium with hushed expectation and excitement.
The ball is crossed in, gliding into the box in slow motion; 40,000 voices now silent as they watch events unfold in frame-by-frame detail. Your striker in the middle, starts moving, turning his body and pulling his foot back, tensing his muscles and waiting to pull the trigger.
The ball floats down – everyone is now on their feet, knees bent, hands clutched together over chests, charms, necklaces and embroidered badges telling of 120 years of heritage. The striker pulls the trigger and connects with the incoming ball. The leather sphere connects sweetly and shoots off like a missile towards its target. The goalkeeper flails wildly, caught horribly out of position, his head craning as his eyes follow the ball in its path of flight.
Silence – you could hear a pin drop. Then suddenly, the swooshing ball makes contact with the back of the net, emitting that all-important ‘swish’ noise. Silence lasts for a millisecond – 40,000 people leap up in unison and emit a mind-splitting eruption of noise and cheers.
Your team has scored. Your tribe is ahead. Everyone is held in raptures of pure delight.
This is the Beautiful Game.
And this is the reason I love football.
Jun 15, 2010
Nicely played, sir. It really is a beautiful game, Callum. I just needed 300 words last nigh (quickly) and it was easy to be the ugly American. 😉 But your love of futbol sounds a lot like my love of baseball. Few, even in our own country, see the romance of it this way.