Okay, so we don’t actually hate soccer. We just don’t watch it in person or on TV and we switch to Leave it to Beaver re-runs when the sports guy starts showing soccer highlights on the evening news. So we don’t so much hate soccer as we’ve developed an intense indifference to it…kind of like the way we feel about Britney Spears.
This is odd when you consider virtually every kid in America plays soccer. We as parents spend thousands of dollars for the privilege of driving our kids halfway across the state every weekend to proudly watch them scuttle around a dusty field in tight little knots of children who come in occasional proximity to the ball. We do this until they get into high school and join a sport that actually lets them touch the ball with their hands as the good Lord intended.
The we completely ignore soccer until the World Cup comes on and we, in true American fashion, become the world’s leading experts on the sport. But don’t be fooled. We still don’t like the soccer… but we dislike even more the thought that somebody in the world might think America isn’t number one at something. So we Google “U.S. Soccer“, memorize the players’ names, paint our faces red, white and blue and learn to say things like “Cesare Prandelli, long time Viola coach will take on the onerous task of rehabilitating the Azzurris from the shambolic ruin of their World Cup*” with a straight face.
*actual quote from an actual soccer reporter
But that’s just Americans being Americans…we really don’t like soccer and here are 7 reasons why:
7) No Telestrator
How are we as viewers supposed to know the Argentinian footballer went left around the Paraguayan, shuttled the ball to his right and fired it into the net with his left foot if there are no obnoxious swaths of color on our TV screen to show us?
What the hell does that mean? In America we use real words like “zip” and “zilch” and “squat”.
5) No Commercials
I know…we complain about them but we secretly love commercials. After all, what do we all talk about on the Monday morning after the Super Bowl? Do we talk about the Packer footballer going left around the Lion, shuttling the ball to his right and firing it into the end zone with his left hand? Of course not! Mainly because the Lions have never been and will never be in any of our lifetimes in the Super Bowl. No, we talk about Betty White getting tackled into a mud puddle in the Snickers commercial. Which brings us to…
Soccer players get hit by a stiff breeze, fall the turf and begin writhing in pain. When they see that the refs didn’t notice, they hop up and trot back into the game without so much as a limp. In American sports, injuries often involved detached body parts. We like that.
That’s the problem. In soccer there is no countdown. It’s a count UP! How exciting is that? In Bruce Willis movies bombs count DOWN. Can you imagine the lack of suspense watching Bruce trying to decide between the red wire and the blue wire as the digital timer counts UP with no clue when it was going to explode? And that’s the other problem…even though the game is supposed to last 90 minutes the ref arbitrarily adds random periods of time to the end of the game. In America where referees bet on games this is a dangerous practice.
There isn’t any. Two teams run up and down the field for 90 minutes or so and never score. It reminds us parents of watching the scrum containing our child moving blob-like up and down the field. At least back then the other team scored 15 or 20 times. In World Cup NO ONE scores…ever! I believe there have been World Cups where, because of a lack of scoring, the winner was declared by a thumb-wrestling match. I’m not sure this is true but I read it on the Internet.
Those are the plastic horns that sound like an angry swarm of bees on meth. They are apparently some sort of ancient tribal custom from the days when South African warriors blew rams horns to annoy attacking armies until they went back. Here in America we have an intense dislike of annoying foreign noises. We prefer our own annoying domestic noises–like small arms fire.
So, sometime over the next few days you might get sucked in by the hype and find yourself watching the World Cup games. You might even find yourself–gasp!–liking it. Resist. Nothing good will come of it. In fact nothing will come of it at all–there will be no goals scored.
But, come to think of it, the thumb wrestling match to determine a winner ought to be pretty good.