I have been a staunch opponent to soccer fandom since… well, forever. I’ve played it. It’s a fun game that’s great for exercise, and you can have orange slices right after. But it’s a boring game to watch on television. It’s a boring game to watch in person. I have soccer fan friends who tell me different. They like to bring up the energy in the crowd at games and how it’s the most popular sport in the world, so it can’t be boring. I counter with, “Of course the crowd is singing songs and playing with beach balls, the people are watching a boring soccer match!” and “Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it good. *cough* Big Bang Theory *cough*.”
Yet every four years, just like the dreaded Olympics, I’m bombarded with pseudo-patriotic crap. It’s the World Cup, everyone must care about soccer because America is in it. It’s nation against nation and how dare I not cheer for our team. Sports talk radio hosts spout nonsense like, “I don’t know much about soccer, but man this is exciting!” No it’s not, that’s why you don’t know much about it. If it was truly exciting, you’d be watching year round. You’d be experts on the triangle passing scheme, corner kick strategies, and the importance of substituting correctly when your player bites the ear off an opponent. Instead, you’re just having a Pavlov dog response to someone waving the American flag. “See flag!? Cheer! Cheer now or else you’re a communist socialist Nazi interior designer lawyer scumbag!”
But I gave in. I watched a game. I saw the little black and white truncated icosahedron being kicked back and forth. I saw men sliding and running. I saw yellow cards and the mysterious “stoppage time” for myself. The score ended 1 to 1. My mind was changed that day. I now see the beauty and grace in a game that I’ve hated for so long. I’m watching or listening to it almost constantly now, surprising my brother-in-law with my knowledge of the game. I’m eating it up like a life long fan.
Congratulations, Soccer… you’ve turned me into a baseball fan.
Baseball used to be an awful sport to me: slow, plodding, and too fixated on its own “legends” to truly be enjoyable. Yet when compared to soccer, its a game of infinite possibilities and magnificent beauty. Baseball is to Shakespeare as soccer is to stupid analogies in a random internet blog. Baseball is a true sport of summer; soccer is the blond beach bimbo that visits for about a month, gets hit on by all the guys for a week, then is ignored because she has nothing in her head except an annoying giggle.
You have only one hope of ever making me a fan, soccer. Find a sport that’s even more boring than you are. Golf might work, although the producers do a decent job of always changing the camera to find someone making a shot or putt (you know, instead of five minutes of two guys passing a ball back and forth). NASCAR is a possibility, what with only making left turns. But it has crashes, and I gotta admit to a morbid fascination with crashing cars. But maybe someday there will be a sport that is so mind-numbing, so time-dragging, and so BLEH that it will make me like soccer.
Until that day, have an orange slice and go home.