Why I Hate Soccer

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   6/16/14
This article will be a departure from my usual fare. I will not claim there is some Absolute Truth deeming soccer the bane of humanity’s sports. I do not contend that some objective, divine standard places it in Dante’s ninth circle of athletic arenas, though I wish I could. Sport is a matter of taste, and, as G.K. Chesterton said (okay, so this isn’t a complete departure for me — I’m quoting Chesterton), “There are no uninteresting subjects, only uninterested people.” I get it. And I, I confess, like golf. So mock away. But in this piece I’ll ditch the Mr. Spock act, let my human side emote, may even contradict myself, and will say something.

I hate soccer.

I hear there’s something going on right now called the World Cup. I hear it’s in Brazil. I hear other pundits, such as Stephen Webb and Rick Moran, are commenting on it, taking opposing views. And I hear that the score between the two is 0-0 after 2000 words. But I won’t claim that soccer is un-American as did Webb or like Moran, claim it’s fun. I’ll say something truly intellectual.

I hate soccer.

When I grew up in the Bronx in the ‘70s, few played that infernal game. I was exposed to it, but could never relate. Why can’t I use my hands? I mean, I have hands. They’re remarkably dexterous appendages. They exist to manipulate all manner of things in the physical universe. I preferred tennis and ping pong to handball, sure, but that was understandable. The racquets and paddles are tools that facilitate the striking of a ball; with them you can achieve a degree of velocity and spin — which could curve the ball in fascinating ways — otherwise impossible. And velocity and spin are cool. It’s as if I need to pound a nail: I take my hand and pick up a hammer. I don’t use my foot.[pullquote]It goes without saying that professional soccer players are highly skilled. But to me it’s like seeing those unfortunate double amputees who’ve learned to paint or play the piano with their toes.[/pullquote]

That’s the crux of this entirely taste-oriented matter. It goes without saying that professional soccer players are highly skilled. But to me it’s like seeing those unfortunate double amputees who’ve learned to paint or play the piano with their toes. I say, “Wow, it’s amazing how man’s spirit can overcome.” Then I change the channel and look for something that can fill the hour’s remaining 59 minutes and 35 seconds.

So if soccer were in the Special Olympics, I’d understand it. Or maybe if it were played by birds. But why do human beings, with their particular anatomical configuration, want to use their feet for a task performed infinitely better by the hands? It’s no wonder the scoring in soccer tends to hover around Joe Biden I.Q. territory. How many baskets would be sunk in the NBA if the players had to kick the ball through the hoop, even if they could block only with their heads? How poor would the scores be in golf if you had to kick the ball down the fairway? A braggart may say, “I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back.” Soccer players try to beat each other with both tied.

Mr. Moran correctly pointed out that, contrary to Mr. Webb’s assumption, soccer is now tremendously popular in the US. I must attribute this, in part, to the influx of people from lands where they can’t afford to play much of anything but soccer. And while I’ve often “inveighed” against immigration, to use the word Rep. John Conyers (D-Soccer) did when citing my work upon waking up briefly in the House, our foreign soccer imports might be the best reason to rethink our immigration regime. “Do you play socc…er…fútbol, amigo?

Si?

See ya’.”

Check the deportation column.

Call it the Immigration and Recreation Reform Act of 2014. Entry into the US would be limited to those with a history of participation in polo or yacht racing.

So save those feet for what they were meant to do, such as kicking illegals out of the country, kicking Cantors out of office and kicking the economy into gear. A hand is a terrible thing to waste.
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33 Responses to Why I Hate Soccer

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Call it the Immigration and Recreation Reform Act of 2014. Entry into the US would be limited to those with a history of participation in polo or yacht racing.

    So save those feet for what they were meant to do, such as kicking illegals out of the country, kicking Cantors out of office and kicking the economy into gear. A hand is a terrible thing to waste.

    Ah, if only.

    Soccer is probably popular in America because it fulfills many of the deepest wishes of “Progressives”:

    1) It’s a game that boys and girls can play together (at least when very young) in kumbaya equality.

    2) It’s a “European” game. And the Left salivates over anything European.

    3) It downplays masculinity, which is on display in games such as football.

    4) It’s much easier to coach and learn how to play than most other sports. Throw a ball into the middle of two sets of flailing legs and then blow a whistle every now and then.

    But if soccer got rid of its idiotic offsides rule and perhaps adopted something more NHL-like where they had to bring the ball across a blue line, it would make more sense. As it is now, that rule seems to be made to interrupt any bit of actual excitement that may unexpectedly and all too rarely break out.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I have to take issue with you on several points.

      1. The game was given to us by the English. It is played in Europe, but it is also played in every country I have every visited, (something like 40) and is extremely popular all the world over. Interestingly, although it is popular in the sub-continent, another English game, cricket, seems to be equally or more popular.
      2. I do not know how it downplays masculinity. Every soccer player I see is in extremely good shape and most appear to like women as much as the next guy. It is true that one does not have to be a physical freak of nature to play soccer, which is not the case in basketball or most positions in American football.
      3. I am not so sure it is easier to coach than basketball or other American sports. Success at any sport requires talent and effort and understanding of the basics and special points of the sport. These generally have to be coached. But it is true that soccer does not require much other than a flat piece of ground and a round ball to be played by most anyone. In this sense, the difference between amateurs and professionals is quite small. This is not the case for American football.

      Happily, the basic rules are also simple and are not changed very often. Modern American football has become so technical and the rules are changed so often that it has become something of a joke. If you breakdown what really happens in an American football game, you will note that for about three quarters of the time, nothing is happening. That a game which officially lasts for one hour takes three hours to complete is a joke.

      As for baseball, it seems to me that every batter who steps up to the plate goes through a number of secret hand signs ending up with his last gesture being a tug at his jock strap.

      Frankly, I believe the main problem with modern sports is that they have become something of the equivalent Roman circuses. The real point is to get out and play, not to sit home and watch.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        1) It takes some of the sting out of it knowing the soccer came from England. But not much.

        2) Football has more potential for serious injury, therefore it is more masculine.

        3) Football really is complex in terms of set plays and such. Soccer looks like loosely-organized mayhem where the most complex thing you have to know is that you are a forward instead of a defender.

        I find soccer to be particularly boring as a spectator sport. But they are all trending that way as gangsta culture ruins whatever element of sportsmanship used to exist. And it’s not just a black thing. That asshole, John McEnroe, ruined tennis for me. I’m quite fine with Arthur Ash, Bjorn Borg, or whatever nationality or race you have as long as they are not assholes like John McEnroe.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I played a little soccer in high school because we had to do something each trimester, and there weren’t many choices. As for golf — well, there’s miniature golf. But it’s been years since I did that. (I used to do it a lot with a friend, but then he got married and largely disappeared from sight. Then he died a few years ago.) I can understand your preference for using rackets (such as tennis, ping pong, and squash) over simply hands (my occasional experiences playing volleyball have taught me my limitations in that respect).

    But I must disagree with the notion that soccer scores are in Joe Biden IQ territory. After all, at least one team has a positive score.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I like Selwyn’s quip about the bizarreness of not using one’s arms and hands: “So if soccer were in the Special Olympics, I’d understand it.”

      By the way, I love miniature golf but there are no miniature golf courses nearby.

      I remember when handball was all the craze. And maybe it still is. But the proper way to do it is called “tennis” and one uses a racket. But at least in handball the hand (and arm) are involved and haven’t been outlawed.

      Maybe that’s why kick-boxing makes some sense. If you’re going to fight, use everything you’ve got.

      • Pokey Possum says:

        There is a fun miniature golf course at the golf driving range on Waaga Way. Call us up and we’ll meet you there. Loser buys the pizza.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’ll check that out, Pokey. I was aware of the driving range (which I’ve went to a couple of times) but not the putt-putt course.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    2) Football has more potential for serious injury, therefore it is more masculine.

    By that logic, Russian Roulette must be the most masculine sport of all.

    I agree as regards McEnroe. What a jerk.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I once read (I think it was in a book on the Ploesti bombing raids) of an actual “sport” by Tsarist Russian garrisons. It involved one person charging through a doorway in the darkness with some sort of cry (which was used as the name of the game). The other would shoot at him, the idea being that the first would try to dodge the bullet by coming through the doorway in a way that the shooter didn’t anticipate.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Russian Roulette is a girly-man sport. If pressing a finger is all it took to become defined as a sport, Tiddlywinks would be an official Olympic Sport.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Bang!!! If muscle and the opportunity to hurt oneself were all it took to qualify as a sport then breaking rocks with a sledgehammer i.e. hard time, would qualify.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Remember, they also spin the cylinder for each shot. Spinning seems like such a liberal sport (though their favorite exercise is the knee jerk, of course).

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    So if soccer were in the Special Olympics, I’d understand it.

    Are you trying to belittle soccer, the Special Olympics or both?

  5. Wolfensheepstein says:

    How to improve soccer: Remove 40 yards from the field length (some from width too). Reduce on field players by 3-5 a side. Eliminate the off-sides penalty.

    Shots on goal and scores are exciting. Passes near and around the goal are exciting, but The back and forth middle of the field action where it is just (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) a series of passes and turnovers (or whatever they call change of possessions) is the part I think that loses most Americans as well as myself.

    I’ll save my “Running Man” additions to the game for a later article.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Ditto! The field is too damn big. Nobody cares about the mid-field stuff (unless you went with a nifty innovation like random land mines to spice things up).

      Also, because many fields are set in size (including the stands), instead of taking out the midfield area, move each goal up by about 15 yards so that action can occur (and plays can be made) from behind the net. Think Wayne Gretzky and all the amazing stuff he did from back there.

      No wonder people riot in the stands at soccer games. It’s just so damn boring. The game itself can’t hold people’s attention.

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Since so many of you exhibit a deep love of soccer, I thought I would let you know USA leads Ghana 1-0 at half-time. Earlier today, Germany dismantled Portugal 4-0. And for those of you who revel in World Cup trivia, yesterday, Switzerland defeated Ecuador 2-1 with the winning goal coming 3 minutes into extra time.

    Update: USA won 2-1.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I was informed yesterday by a soccer aficionado (he coaches high school soccer as well) that Germany was in the midst of clobbering Portugal. And Portugal supposedly has the best player in the world.

      And how about those Swiss! Hurray for the evil white Europeans being victorious over the “people of color” victim countries, more or less.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        So Jean Raspail has triumphed at the moment when America has fallen to his apocalypse! We take our victories where we can.

  7. Glenn Fairman says:

    Any sport where a player is forbidden to use his hands and arms is suspect. There is something contrary to nature in handicapping the most industrious portion of the human form.. If Soccer were a political system…..it would be socialism…

  8. Wolfensheepstein says:

    I understand the love of a sport many others find boring. I love baseball. Millions find it boring. I love curling. Most would rather bang their heads between the rocks than watch one inning. Unlike soccer fans though, I can understand and see why those others can’t tolerate my ‘boring’ sports. Soccer fans will defend their sport to the point of shaming decenters for not agreeing with them. I’ll admit my sport’s faults, soccer fans can’t or won’t. I think If it wasn’t for the alcohol, crowds, stadiums, national pride, the game itself can’t hold up to scrutiny. The game is just a small part of the whole soccer experience – I see that. I’m sure one World Cup game and I’d be hooked for life. I’d go to Ireland, drink a bunch, sing national songs, watch an awesome game, kiss with a soccer girl named Chloe, and come home a soccer fan for life. The game itself though still has no appeal to me. 😉

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Just Testing

      Glenn, I was just testing to see if I could embed an image into a comment. Apparently I can.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Lovely. And it reminds me of an old MAD Magazine parody poem about Joe Namath (based on “Gunga Din”), with such lines as, “All the fellows are adorin’ how you lead the league in scorin’,/And we don’t mean playin’ football, Broadway Joe.” Most of us have rather different results. On the other hand, as a teetotaler (as is Elizabeth, naturally) I never go to bars, so I can’t speak to what happens there.

  9. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The USA just gave away a 2-1 lead against Portugal in the last 10 seconds of extra time. Final score 2-2. That’s soccer, anything can happen as long as there is time left on the clock.

    Next they have to play Germany.

  10. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    For all you soccer fans out there, the U.S.A. has qualified for the round of sixteen in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I love ya, Ann. America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer:

    Do they even have MVPs in soccer? Everyone just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in. That’s when we’re supposed to go wild. I’m already asleep.

    No other “sport” ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer. This was an actual marquee sign by the freeway in Long Beach, California, about a World Cup game last week: “2nd period, 11 minutes left, score: 0:0.” Two hours later, another World Cup game was on the same screen: “1st period, 8 minutes left, score: 0:0.” If Michael Jackson had treated his chronic insomnia with a tape of Argentina vs. Brazil instead of Propofol, he’d still be alive, although bored.

    I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO’s “Girls,” light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is “catching on” is exceeded only by the ones pretending women’s basketball is fascinating.

    Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it’s European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren’t committing mass murder by guillotine.

    I also anticipated Ann when she said:

    (4) The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare. As Lady Thatcher reportedly said after Germany had beaten England in some major soccer game: Don’t worry. After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game.

    Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game — and it’s not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.

    We see eye-to-eye on the ninny European aspect of soccer as well:

    (6) I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO’s “Girls,” light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is “catching on” is exceeded only by the ones pretending women’s basketball is fascinating.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Ann is, sometimes, spectacularly wrong. Her early love of Chris Christie is a case in point. Her musings regarding soccer are similarly erroneous.

      By the way, Brazil just scraped through to the final eight by defeating Chile in a penalty kick shoot off.

      The USA will play Belgium on Tuesday July 1st.

  12. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    For all you soccer fans out there, Germany just dissected Brazil 7-1 in their semi-final. The game could have easily been 10-0.

    For those who say soccer is boring, the first thirty minutes of the game were the most exciting of any professional sport I have ever seen. If you did not see it, you missed an amazing game.

    Now we must see who will be victorious in the game Argentina vs. The Netherlands. If the Netherlands win, we could have a repeat of the 1974 World Cup final which took place in Munich and Germany won.

  13. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Hello soccer fans!. Well, Germany has won the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 against Argentina.

    This is the first time a European team has won the World Cup in Latin America. And it is the fourth time Germany has won, tying them with Italy for the 2nd most World Cups won. Brazil, with five World Cup wins, is number one, but Germany slaughtered them 7-1 in the semi-final.

    Now we can look forward in, two years, to the European Cup. Germany has built up an excellent team and perhaps they can copy Spain, which won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Cup.

    Prost, Deutschland!!!

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