Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Anti-Soccer Rant

Thank God the World Cup only happens every four years. I can’t stand the suspense of high-scoring 3-2 games! What kind of sport is it that wastes such amazing fitness and athletic talent on a game where you can’t use your hands on the ball, where 4 points is a super high scoring game ( was there a single game this year where any team scored 4 goals or more??), and where a tie is settled with penalty kicks instead of the American way, "Sudden Death" overtime?

Can’t use it. Give me the NBA or NFL any time over this typically silly European "sport."

The final injustice: France was--it pains me to say--the obviously superior team. Notwithstanding the joy at seeing France lose for political/cultural reasons, this would never happen in major American sports.

If I have to watch one of these Euro-spawned sports, give me Australian-rules football, which combines the best of rugby, soccer, and American football into one high scoring, low-foul game.

Discussions - 25 Comments

Amen, brother. As Stallone’s character put it in the 1981 film Victory, "Hey, what kind of game is this? For old ladies and fairies?"

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Translation: these are great athletes, and yours is a silly, parochial comment -- though I agree that penalty kicks are a lousy way of settling a tie. How about corner kicks as the tie-breaking procedure.

Germany-Costa Rica 4-2, Argentina- Serbia and Montenegro 6-0....to state a few.

What are you complaining about? Now we have an answer to the age-old question: which country is the greatest in the world, France or Italy?

As always, The Simpsons say it better than any of us can...

World Cup in Springfield

"Halfback passes to center! Back to wing! Back to center! Center holds it! Holds it!! Holds it!!!"

I couldn’t believe Zadine (is that how you spell it?). What a moron. Sent off to retirement 19 minutes early for being a hothead . . .

For those of you who know me personally, though, you know just how ironically hypocritical that last comment was. Heh.

Zidane . . . at his best . . .

As much as I’m reluctant to agree with vulgar pro-American (yet pro-French!) chauvinism, it was a heck of a boring game, match or whatever that ended in a very anti-climatic way. My suggestion for soccer reform: Eliminate the offsides rule. To give Steve his due: 1. They are great athletes AND 2. Super Bowls usually suck too.

I ask the scoffers: have any of you ever tried to perform any of the skills that worldclass soccer players exhibit? If so, you’d appreciate how great they are. Plus, there’s something utilitarian about your complaints: there’s not enough scoring!
BTW: I never played soccer in my life. Just kicking the ball with my nephews and nieces indicated to me what awesome skills good players have.
Plus, based on Powerline comments, there’s lots of room for you Monday morning quarterbacks to critique and complain about strategies by the coaches.

Paul, If I had a duty to like all sports where I couldn’t do what the relevant athletes are doing I’d have to like cricket, curling, and croquet and watch Nascar on TV. The true argument for soccer is that the atheletes are fairly normal in size and so role models for non-genetic freaks and non-steroid users. That makes soccer admirable but still not all that interesting.

Peter Lawler is right on the money: eliminating the offside rule would be the equivalent of the NFL’s rule change making it illegal for defense to hit a receiver beyond 5 years from the line of scrimmage, which opened up the NFL’s passing game 25 years ago and made it a more wide-open and enjoyable game to watch. Without the offside rule, it would be more feasible to break ties through play instead of penalty kicks.

Steve,
I cannot understand why people who don’t enjoy watching soccer feel such a need to complain about it ... after all, doesn’t your TV have somewhere between 10 and 400 other channels for you to choose from?
That aside, I still don’t get why the soccer-haters complain about low scoring games. A score of 3-2 would be perfectly normal in 3 of the 4 major U.S. sports (come on, if an NFL game ended at 21-14... would you complain about the low score?). That leaves you with only the NBA if you need scores of over 100 to call a game exciting, and believe me, MANY of the one billion people who watched yesterday’s World Cup final (yeah, that’s billion with a ’b’) find NBA games to be quite as boring as you find soccer to be.
I realize I’ve just invalidated my moral high-ground with the bulk of this comment, but I really thought NLT was above the "your favorite band sucks" type of commentary. If you don’t like it, just change the channel.
--sdc

I was on a plane flying back from California during the game so I didn’t see it. I am not surprised that it bored. It is a great game to play (is there a game that is not fun to play?) and sometimes very good to observe; mostly not. Unlike with (say) baseball, fans in soccer find it difficult to root for excellence, they are mere partisans. Wrong engagement of the passions, I would say. Wars in the stands are common; almost no women (or families) attend soccer matches.

Australian-rules football is an excellent game. Is there any coverage in the US? I’d love to be able to see it again.

An expanded version of my point is that if you can connect with and appreciate the excellence at work in worldclass athletics and athletes, then each sport has its deep interest, each match its drama, even if "nothing happens" on the scoreboard. I’m trying to counterbalance your "it’s all about me, the score-keeping spectator" mentality, but asking you to see the human excellence on display ... even in boring contests.
That’s a partial answer to the other Peter’s point, which in a way was extraneous, because it had to do with fans and sports’ social or national psychology.
My bottom line: if we Americans are supposed to be egalitarian meritocrats, we need to cultivate more appreciation of the variety of human sporting activity-and-excellence.

I have been involved in sports almost my entire life (excluding birth and pre-natal development): baseball, football (american style), basketball, track and field and soccer. And I have enjoyed all of them.
I came late to soccer (via my children playing), learned to coach it (what a great way to spend time with your kid, if you do it right) and enjoyed very much.
Why do people find a sport boring? Because they don’t know the rules and don’t understand the game. If American football bores you, then learn the game. If soccer bores you, then learn the game.
If tennis ...well you get the point.

And if you don’t like the game, then don’t watch it and keep yer trap shut!

And remember-its just a game ( someone needs to tell Zadine that too)!

Ken: I am able to watch Australian rules football regularly on an obscure channel on my satellite TV (much better than cable IMHO). I’m not sure what the channel/network it is, but if you switch to DirecTV you can enjoy the thrill of watching a bloke "take the mark."

First a disclaimer for Steven and Co.: Great job with an outstanding website.

Now to the business at hand. I can certainly see how scoccer may not be everybody’s cup of tea but I’d like to dispose of two apparently common but silly misconceptions I’ve seen circulating on the web.

The first is that soccer is the "girlie" sport of liberal europhile suburban U.S. moms, the perfect mirror of the moral decadence of Europe. Please! Soccer was around long before the EU burocrats took hold of Brussel (and almost everywhere else in the Old Continent) and is enthusiastically played in many corners of the world where soccer moms would not like to thread (Brazilian favelas, just to make an example).

The second is that the only "good sports" are those with high scores. Besides soccer, Ice Hockey can be quite exciting without double digit scores. And what about bike racing? No scoring there....how boring. Lance might beg to disagree. You wanna talk about a slow & boring sport? Let’s see............baseball comes to mind (now THIS is really going to stir things up).

As to the penalty kicks, what better way to test a team’s resolve and coolness. Would you rather watch another 1-0 match?

The best team won, and did so by kicking out the "german pizzamockers" and the "gaseous french". What more could a conservative want? I had a swell World Cup. For a more articulated and authoritative affirmation of these ideals I suggest Mike Ledeen’s on the most recent NRO.

Go Azzurri.

I think one of the big turn-offs for me is when I see a player trip, or maybe get tripped, go down, and immediately get up, indignantly throw his arms up in the air, and look for a ref to call a foul for him. I hate the NBA for the same reason, but it seems worse in soccer. And it seems like half of the players moonlight as models. Not very manly.

And Steve, I’ve never heard of Australian football, but I do know from personal experience that rugby is an awesome sport. I wish it would catch on in America. Playing a game of rugby on a muddy field is the closest thing to fighting a medieval battle I’ve ever experienced- truly awesome.

Has anyone seen the episode of King of the Hill where Bobby joins the soccer team? "It’s a tie--everybody wins!" Now that’s comedy.

Haha... and doesn’t he end up putting him back on the football team? I forgot how much I love that show.

uh.....you’re wrong

John, That’s a great King of the Hill line (one among very many). Soccer for little kids is the therapeutic sport: A huge amount of healthy running around without that much danger of the blows to self-esteem that come with scoring. I don’t doubt that playing soccer well is a genuine form of human excellence. But so is running a Marathon, and I’m not going to sit in front of my TV appreciating people doing that. We sports spectators can’t help but ask if the game or whatever is entertaining, and, yes, that means entertaining to me. Professional rugby could easily crowd out Arena football and extreme fighting in the manly cable sports market. What we should really be worried about is that the Americans are currently unable to dominate the world in American sports, such as basketball and baseball.

A new twist to the Zidane red card. He was taunted! Here is the Times article which states that Italian player called hime the "son of a terrorist whore." Oh the drama! The proper french response? Your mother was a hamster....

Say what people will about soccer (my personal favorite is that it is the communist theory of equality applied to sports), but I won’t really be interested. Leave baseball out of it. Those guys go out and perform five or six times a week for the better part of six months. Tournaments are nice, sure, but give me a real season where atheletes compete on a plethora of levels. No other sport worth note combines such an intricate balance of individual/team play with the intrigue and athleticism of baseball. No other sport (except perhaps American football) contains the levels of measureable greatness that baseball includes. The heroics of the ninth inning walk off win, the race to the pennant or the wild card, the dynamic of every pitch and swing of the at bat, no other sport has this. These reasons, and literally millions more, make baseball one of the greatest sports of all time, the American past time, and far superior to soccer.

Knowledge of soccer may make it interesting to some, but knowledge of baseball makes the sport so much more rich and involved than soccer that it is like comparing the political theory of Howard Dean to that of Aristotle.

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