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I'm a fan of the World Cup. Less so than most Europeans, and more so than most Americans. I like watching it. I really like the international aspect of it, and am glad the US is finally participating in that global game as a legit competitor, and with a real fanbase at home watching. So of course it is a little upsetting when someone from the US, which is relatively new to the sport at this level, has an opinion about it, and that opinion is met with sentiments like "you just don't understand the sport" or "how can the whole world be wrong?"
It's true most Americans (not all, soccer is rapidly growing in popularity in the US) have less an understanding or appreciation than the whole rest of the world. But it's also true that most Americans were not born into it, so there are not things we take for granted, accept outright as natural or desirable about it. For the author of this diary, it is the number of goals. For me, it is ties. I can't abide a tie. I'd rather sit through a five hour game until someone scores than accept a tie. Am I right, and the rule makers of soccer wrong? No, I just have different expectations, a different approach to sport. Do I think they should change the rules? Hell yeah!
Wanting to tweak things about a sport is not an insult to that sport. Maybe nothing is ever changed in soccer, I don't know. But we're commonly changing the way things are done in sports in America. They do it in the Olympics too.
Also, sometimes soccer is boring. I'm pretty sure most people outside America find baseball intolerably boring. I was raised with it, so the pace seems exactly the way it should be to me. It's not meant to be an edge-of-your-seat adrenaline fest. Sit back, relax, eat a hot dog, spend an afternoon in the sun... But I'm not mad at people who find it boring. I realize they weren't indoctrinated with it.
I've recently become a hockey junkie. Despite whatever black PR Drew has spread, Chicagoans have happily, eagerly embraced their hockey team, not out of despair but sheer joy. Initially because they were winning and we decided we should find out what's so hot about hockey. Their winning is why people started watching, but the excitement of the game is why it became the phenom it has. It also seems to transcend class, race and geography here, which no other sport does. Anyway, my point is that now I expect to have a mild cardiac arrest at least 5 times during a sporting event. Hence, the World Cup "feels" boring to me now. To quote Gorby, "I wish there were a World Cup of hockey."
Still, I am happy the World Cup has gained such popularity in the States. This year, first round matches are being aired on national -not cable, not satellite, but regular broadcast tv. Two World Cups ago I had to watch on the Mexican station... For the first time it feels like not just something exotic, sport for snobs, but part of our culture too. At least in the big cities.
I suspect this will be one of many more little annoyances to come. Right now the US audience is primarily cosmopolitan and people with a background in soccer. As US participation grows in the sport, and your rules and such are thrust on the average American spectator, be prepared to hear more ignorant outspoken opinions about how to make your game better. It's what we do. It's why we believe in democracy: we believe in our opinions. We're just trying to help. :D
"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
I'm pretty sure most people outside America find baseball intolerably boring.
I'm a cricket man.
I love baseball, because I can relate to the skills, the tactics, the atmosphere and its place in the US culture.
Oh...and the statistics.....
...entire summers are encapsulated in these pages.
Is there an annual Baseball Bible quite like cricket's 'Wisden', I wonder?
"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed"
No single volume sings the epic saga of the game with quite the rhythms of The Baseball Encyclopedia. Now in its 10th edition, the granddaddy of all sports reference books is, at just over eight pounds and 3000 pages, the National Pastime's weightiest tome. As all-seeing as Homer and Milton, as all-knowing as Shakespeare and Yeats, the encyclopedia finds its poetry in the rhythms of baseball's numbers. Every player--regardless of significance--is present, with all the essential statistics of his career. There are, no doubt, some soulless creatures who may open the encyclopedia and just see page after page of dry, meaningless, numbing data; the rest of us know better: 755, 714, 61, 511, .406, 1.12, and 4,256 are all self-contained dramas filled with tension, and inspiring awe. It is in these stats, and thousands more, that the mysteries of the game begin to reveal themselves.
It's hard to be A Serious Man.
There's always the Jefferson Airplane.
you are the media you consume.
The problem I have with hockey is that in most sports, excepting hockey and boxing, it is against the rules to fight. Fighting in a civilized sport gets you kicked out of the game, at least in theory.
And, I disagree, this diary will last forever.
PS. so great to see poemless chiming in.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - AnaÔs Nin
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