US Misses Opportunity...And Futbol Notes
Yesterday, a somewhat frenzied interweb excitedly awaited the US' opportunity to clinch early entry into the tournament round of the World Cup. Yeah, I'm sure I got some terms wrong in that sentence, and I don't care. First off, I've heard the tournament called the knock-out round. That's as dumb as the NCAA tournament calling the play-in games the first round. Make no mistake, anyone can be knocked out in group play of World Cup soccer...I believe England and another Euro power team is already gone in a mere two games...so the name is dumb. But the sport is dumb to me; so that makes sense.
I said it on Twitter, If the US is going to compete in something, I want her to win...I want her to be great. I don't like women's basketball, but when Purdue or team USA is playing, I want them to earn a gold. So, I'll be nothing but positive as the games get closer...but when the game is on, I probably won't be watching.
The last US soccer game that I watched in its entirety was actually the US women's team when they beat China for a gold in some event in the late 90s. The highlight of the game was Mia Hamm. I'm not sure if she scored...but I thought she was cute and good to watch as she ran around the field in satiny shorts. Of course, the US beating China was a positive...I really don't want to see China beat the US in anything; sadly it happens from time to time.
I've heard sports casters and news people alike spew word vomit in the form of telling us that soccer has arrived as a past time in the US. Not really. Americans, even those who hate the game, really want to see the US win- plain and simple.
Since I was a kid, the media has been saying that soccer is gaining popularity...and I guess it might be. I'm almost 39...and in an era in which awesome sports like Slamball and Arena Football have arisen and fallen in the last decade, I guess I'm not buying what the media's selling.
I've told my son that he can play soccer if he'd like...and I'll even coach him (poorly)...but I'd be doing it because it's my son's interest, not because I like or support the sport. Soccer at the highest level, has the same problem that the NBA has- too many prima donnas and too many fake injuries. All that said, basketball has soccer licked in one key area- the sport doesn't make me sleepy if I'm forced to watch it.
Don't get me wrong, playing soccer, especially at a high level, takes a tremendous amount of athleticism. But as I always tell kids in the youth group at my church, if they're playing soccer for their school, they could probably use their athleticism for a real sport. I'm only half kidding.
Before you write your angry comment, please keep two things in mind:
1. I probably won't read your comment. One reason is because Bloguin's awesome platform doesn't show me that I have any comments on my posts...but also, I've heard it all before. It's the beautiful game, I don't understand the artistry...blah blah blah. I do understand the sport quite well, I believe. Hell, I even played for Puma's US corporate team about 15 years ago (no joke). Just don't like it.
2. Some of the greatest people I know like the game...and one of them played at a pretty high level. And I like those people anyway. If you like it, enjoy it...eat it up. You'll never hear me tell you not to watch it. And since I won't be, there's more soccer for you, right?!?!
Back to the focal point of this post- I really wanted the US to beat Portugal...but they didn't. And in doing so, they missed out on a big opportunity to help create a bit of a fun atmosphere as they prepared for the tournament portion of the World Cup. Now their road is much harder...and they have no one to blame but themselves. They were playing a team that was coming off of an absolute ass kicking at the hands of ze Germans. Getting beaten 4-0 in soccer is like getting beaten 60-0 in real football, from what I'm told...but the US came away with the tie.
I hate ties in sports...and I don't care which sport it is. If ties are acceptable, why keep score at all? Yes, I'm well-aware that college football used to have ties. In fact, I was at a few of them in the early 90s when Jim Colletto was coaching our Boilers. They were dumb in college football...they're more dumb in soccer. Why? Because it's accepted as the norm and no one seems to speak up about it who loves the game.
I watched a video this morning about FIFA. I think I feel about FIFA the way I think about the IOC and F1's governing body. They're all pretty crooked...all ridiculously arrogant...and all of them hurt the sport that they pimp as they leave a trail of un-needed and useless facilities in their wake. Sadly, international soccer fans, olympic sport fans and F1 fans all accept what they feed them in the form of continuously buying tickets and supporting their sponsors.
As I said before, I'm not telling any soccer fan not to watch. But I would like to tell EsPN to stop trying to make me a fan. It's not working.
Here are a few things I like about soccer- I think some of the jerseys (or kits as many of you call them) are pretty sharp. Problem is, I can't buy one or one of you guys will want to talk to me when I wear it out...and I can't even pretend to know anything about the game if I'm in a corner. Every time I talk about soccer, I can't help but mention Freddy Adu...and I'm told he never panned out. Heck, he's like 25 years old and hasn't ever sniffed a US World Cup team...so he's probably not good.
Next, there are a lot of good looking women who like soccer- that's good! And just like EsPN is in real football, the bastion of feminism and political correctness tends to always show the hotties that are rooting on their
gravy train man.
Finally, I really do like the system in which Premier League soccer promotes lower division teams. May the best team win, right? I think it'd be pretty cool if my church league softball team could earn its way into MLB if we got really, really good...but due to the fact that they have a 38 year old chubby outfielder who pops out every other at bat, it probably won't happen for my squad...But it's fun to dream.
Heck, Jim Delany and company are trying their damnedest to ruin amateur college football and make it a professional league. Maybe one day your Purdue Boilers will win the conference title in (formerly known as) the Big Ten (Northeast/Midwest Super Conference of Football; NMSCF) and become an NFL team as the Cleveland Browns are kicked down into the NMSCF. *Sigh* one can dream...
What I do know is that Jozy Altidore looks and moves like a guy who could play half back or point guard while getting paid to do it. So let me reiterate, soccer takes a tremendous amount of skill to play...I just don't like it.
One more thing- as you're feeling patriotic and rooting for the stars and stripes to come out victorious, keep in mind that two or three players on the roster weren't born in America. About half the team has chosen not to live in the US, and the coach is a German.
USA! USA! USA!