Although it's hard for me to elevate the World Cup over the Olympics in
overall stature, I agree with the basic thrust of this piece. I admit that,
although three of my four kids have played club soccer in the relatively
soccer-mad (by US standards) city of St. Louis, I never watch soccer on TV . .
unless it's the World Cup. The US games so far have been thrilling. I
can't imagine anyone who claims to love sports stating otherwise.Reactions like those of Jason's friend should embarrass clear-thinking,
fair-minded people. Though no-one's required to "love" soccer, to
reflexively denigrate a sport most of the world loves is a characteristic of the
Ugly American image that much of the world buys into. As Jason says, the flimsy
reasons given for disliking soccer smack of both a lack of self-awareness and of
obvious hypocrisy. Yes, some of the customs and rules of soccer
strike your average US sports fan (including me) as odd and counterintuitive,
but to insist that an international sport conform to our conventions is pure
The baseball anlogy is spot-on. A man in my ward recently married a Peruvian
woman and brought her and her two teenage sons to the US. They are, not
surprisingly, soccer fans and knew nothing about baseball. We got ahold of some
Cardinals tickets and took them to their first game a week or so ago. What I saw was a great pitcher's duel in which the two teams combined for
five hits in a 1-0 Cards win. What they probably saw was boredom personified. If
you don't "get" baseball, that game would've been brutal. If
you don't "get" soccer, a 1-0 game may seem that way. I'll
admit to having an aversion to 0-0 games, which you can't have in any sport
in the US, but that's my problem, not the sport's.In a
sport where 3-2 counts as a shootout, each goal takes on huge significance.
Score a touchdown on the opening drive? Nice, but hardly a killer blow. Score a
goal in the first minute? Well, that might be all you need. Every shot takes on
Some say watching soccer is like watching paint dry. But if the painters are
Rembrandt, Monet & Piccaso, who wouldn't watch?
Ditto to both and I add - he who doesn't understand that to do with the
feet what we do with our hands takes dedication and hours of training. Like
most skills, it best appreciated if you try it yourself to the point of becoming
adept at it. GO USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's what you grow up with. In the early '60's our Phys. Ed.
teacher decided we should learn how to play soccer. It was new and it was fun.
But it never took the place of the big three, and we never honed our skills like
we did in baseball, football and baksetball. Therefore, it never grew on us and
consequently I don't care much about the world cup, let alone soccer.
The archaic offsides rule in soccer greatly limits the offense. Flopping is
huge in soccer because goals are so hard to come-by, and flopping often creates
penalty shots that win games.During the Olympic games we watch games
we normally wouldn't care about. The same with the world cup. When the
USA team plays on a worldwide stage, we take great interest---whether the sport
is track, swimming, curling, or soccer.
Our household has been watching the World Cup nonstop. It doesn't matter
who is playing whom, we are watching. We are DVR'ing. We have stopped
everything to go see this amazing play or that wicked cool move. My husband and
son ref the AYSO games, my son and daughter play. I am a soccer mom. What
I have been most impressed with this World Cup has been the sportsmanship. The
players from each country are helping others up, often from the other team.Soccer also has a beginning and an end. Football has hours of "pregame
shows" then "pregame talk about it" then the actual"game."
Every time anyone moves the ball four feet, there's a celebration on one
side and a whine from the other. And when you say, "There's only
another five minutes in the game" for soccer, it's five more minutes,
maybe an additional five for injury play, so ten tops; football minutes are
never real time. Basketball has a ton of grandstanding anymore, so
that's not fun to watch either. And baseball? Like someone else said,
Random--happened to catch a few minutes of World Cup in my peripheral vision
while dining on fast food for the first time in 7 years. Otherwise have
completely ignored WC.Custer--am proud(satisfied accomplishment) to
have missed every minute of the last at least half dozen Olympics. I do get
peeved that my tv shows go into reruns as other networks just surrender to
NBC.Vincent--you're correct. Never learned to understand or
care about the game.Pujols--the "art" you mention is
completely boring and uninteresting. In fact painting canvas or a house has
zero interest to me.Yet I will not denigrate the sport, nor ignore
that most of the world right now is in television nirvana. Glad people can
watch this stuff. I'll stick with watching the riveting NFL, close low
scoring baseball, golf and a smattering of March Madness. To each his own.
@custer:"The archaic offsides rule in soccer greatly limits the
offense. Flopping is huge in soccer because goals are so hard to come-by, and
flopping often creates penalty shots that win games.Offsides is one
of the countintuitive rules I was talking about. Think about what the game would
be like without the offsides rule. Teams could just send a half-dozen guys to
stand by the goal, or cherry-pick all game long. You may think that might lead
to a more exciting game (which, to Americans, typically means "more
scoring"), but it would so fundamentally change the nature of the sport that
every team would have to reinvent itself. The best analogy I can
come up with the three-second rule in basketball. Do away with it and teams
could plant your biggest guy under the rim and force the ball into him. Is that
"better"? I don't know, but it would change the game completely.The flopping complaint is silly. First, how many actual penalty shots do
you see resluting from flops? Second, players in EVERY sport "game" the
refs in one way or the other.
SlopJ30: So you think doing away with the offsides rule in soccer would
"change the game completely." How do you know this? It might change
soccer for the better! I have had many soccer players and coaches, tell me it
would be a good idea to drop the offsides rule. Basketball doesn't have an
offsides rule, and you don't see players standing under the opposing
team's basket all game long waiting to cherry-pick easy baskets. The offsides rule in soccer makes it virtually impossible to have exciting
break-away goals. Dropping the offsides rule would open-up soccer and make it
much more exciting.
Because baseball is like watching the grass grow that doesn't change the
fact that soccer is also. Give me a break!
@custer" So you think doing away with the offsides rule in soccer
would "change the game completely." How do you know this? It might
change soccer for the better!"Definitely would change the game
completely. As for how I'd know this, well, what would you do if you could
have your players ahead of opposition defenders all the time. I'd just
leave one or two near the oppositions goal at all times. Forget coordinated
attacks, just lob the ball to the guys behind the defense. Now of course the
defense would have to adjust to this and leave a couple of their guys way back
on defense at all times. "and you don't see players
standing under the opposing team's basket all game long waiting to
cherry-pick easy baskets. "Because you can't play decent
defense against a 5 on 4 (and unlike a power play in hockey which still has the
goalie, a wide open shot is pretty likely to go in).
"equate soccer to things like the plague, the bird flu and any movie
starring David Spade.Why so much hate?" - story quoteExactly,
and why is the writer hating on David Spade?
Mr Wright,I believe the article should have started with this
line:"Football and baseball are great. Basketball is tons of
fun. But soccer is the sport that brings billions together on the most level
playing field in sports.And that’s why I'm watching the
World Cup with record numbers of viewers in this country and around the
world.It’s the greatest show on Earth." And
then 2 or 3 pages of "explanation of why" would follow from there. I
would have found it much more engaging if such was followed.Thank
you for your insights
We are in Montevideo,Uruguay, South America, a thriving city of over 2,000,000
people and are completing an LDS Mission. When Uruguay plays, the entire
country is watching. The streets are deserted ... I mean NO ONE, the stores are
empty and even when I tried to get a car wash, they told me the car wash machine
was "broken" until 4 p.m. (end of the match). It is amazing and exciting
at the same time to see such fan support. Yes, the matches are low scoring but
the wonder of it all is watching those 22 amazing athletes constantly on the
move... no rests, no time outs ... and they move with a precision and
athleticism unmatched in any other sport. No wonder more people even in the
United States go to soccer games than attend the spoiled little primadonnas in
todays NBA. Go USA!!
Sorry, sports fans, I cannot in any way, shape, or form, get too immersed into
professional sports in all its varieties--or even in a number of cases it's
stepchildren in college and high school programs. Even the little league
programs are frequently too intense for my tastes.Give me the old recess
soccer game in elementary school, or the casual flag football in high school
P.E. classes, and I'll go along. And I do understand the Elders playing
with talented youngsters from the neighborhood. I'll even cheer for
excellence at the higher levels, if it's kept in perspective. But devoting
one's total life to it, from either a player or fan perspective? I'm
going to vehemently object!
@Pujols4mvp:Too bad "Soccer-tes" wasn't a painter!
True, in baseball and American football, the actual time the ball is in play is
a tiny fraction of the total duration of the game. However, one well-planned,
strategic play that lasts only a few seconds but produces quantifiable results
is worth all the down time between plays, or even all the failed plays leading
up to it. (My opinion, of course.) Interestingly enough, in spite
of all the talk about Americans' aversion to soccer, the 1994 World Cup
still holds the record for highest attendance at matches. And who hosted the
'94 World Cup? The United States.