I am a lifelong fan of soccer. I was raised in the sport by a soccer family and watched every World Cup I could. In high school I was definitely part of that rivalry between football and soccer players. But then I spent a number of years in Japan and developed an appreciation for Sumo. I could not help but notice that many of the up and coming stars of the sport were Americans who grew up playing football. This ultimately led to a deeper appreciation for the sport I eschewed since I was first on an AYSO team. That, and the fact that it was almost impossible to catch a football game in Japan I actually started to miss the sport.
After I returned, I re-experienced football with a fresh perspective and was blown away by the utter drama of this sport. Now, as the US Women's team plays Japan for the World Cup, I realize I can pretend no longer. As far as a spectator sport is concerned, football is vastly superior to soccer. I say this knowing full well that doing so will make me the black sheep of the family, but I cannot lie to myself and the world any longer. If I learned anything as a villain, it is that it is important to be honest about where your allegiances lie and that you have to betray your family at one point. Here then is my list for why football is a better spectator sport than soccer:
1) Football is dramatic; soccer is monotonous. It is the drama of the sport that blew me away the most. Maybe it was the way the timing resembles sumo: there is a quiet time where the opponents face up to each other followed by an explosive instant wherein everything is resolved. In short, football is dramatic because it stops at every down. As a Brit, GK Chesterton was undoubtedly a fan of soccer so it sort of pains me to use his words against the popular European sport but soccer resembles the mind of the progressive who believes change is good because it is change. Chesterton questions this superstitious faith in change by remarking that continuous "progress" is really more like a broken record going round and round, stuck in a grove. Real progress comes in explosive epochs and moves forward. As proof of my analysis, I would like to point out that soccer fans become noisier and more involved in the set up before corner kicks, penalty shots, and to a lesser extent throw-ins.
2) Football is war (and war is cool); soccer is galavanting. Because of the system of downs used in football, there is ample time for situational analysis and strategizing. This, and the inherent violence in football make it more like war than any other sport. On the other hand, it is rumored that soccer has its origins in conquering clans kicking around the severed heads of their fallen foes. Talk about grandstanding!
3) Football has diversity; soccer is generic. Imagine an uber sport that combines the best athletes of various sports: a sumo wrestler, an Olympic sprinter, a soccer player, and pitcher. In football each player is a different category of battlefield unit; you have a field general, heavy artillery, fast attack, or armored tanks. So different are their duties on field, that they are more like a ragtag band of players from different sports than they are members of the same sport. While in soccer, with the exception of the goalie, the fullback and the forward all practice the same basic skills with no real distinction regarding their build, physical capabilities, and mental acumen.
4) Football has checks and balances; soccer is an elitist oligarchy. It is perhaps the legalistic nature of the sport that baffles non-Americans most about soccer. There are several referees on the field in addition to the linemen. On top of that, coaches can risk being charged a timeout by contesting calls made on the field. This usually leads to a review by yet another layer of officials who are ensconced high above the field in a booth and the use of slow motion replay analysis to determine the correctness of the call. Truth and justice matter here. In soccer, the referee is not even required to explain what his call is. Was it hands? Slide tackling? Or did he just think the player did not recycle enough of his trash? Nobody knows. And in soccer, it is none of our business.
5) Football is for men, by men. Like I said, this sport is violent. It crushes, maims, paralyzes, and even kills its participants. Attempts have been made at various levels to create a women's league but about the most successful version involves ladies playing in their underwear. I think it is important that we men retain some corner of the world that is our own exclusive domain -- places like men's clubs, the priesthood, and football. For the most part you do not even see women try this sport -- it plays too much to the unique capabilities, strengths, and charisms of men.
6) Football is more gender inclusive. Surprise! Because even though the gridiron is the sole domain of manly men, this sport does have roles for women to play as well -- the cheerleader. And, while not every team has cheerleaders, it can easily be argued that due to the vastly differing nature of the different field positions mentioned above, cheerleading can be considered just another position in the team. After all, because plays have to be called, fan noise is a real factor in professional football and cheerleaders (and for that matter, the fans themselves) are an integral part in keeping the fans engaged. This is one sport where every one does more than just spectate, they get involved in the game in ways that matter.
7) Scoreless at the half?! Not only does football have a diversity of player positions and play off a variety of skills, is has numerous ways in which points can be scored. The women's US vs Japan World Cup was something few football games are: scoreless at the half. This is a very rare occurrence in football but the type of tedium you commonly find in soccer matches. What is more, the more powerful the teams are, the less likely any points will be scored until the last few minutes of the game.
8) Football is American. What could possibly be more singular about this sport than the mere fact of its singularity? Enjoyed by only one nationality (but ironically a nation of immigrants) and played by only one nationality (albeit a conglomerate of many nations), its seed finds no fertile soil or purschase in any other country. The ranks of pro teams are full of descendants of the Vikings, Goths, Samoan warriors, Zulu, mujahadeen, samurai, and knights, yet the ancestral homes of these very same warriors cannot duplicate the successes of the American progenitor. Maybe it is the expensive equipment, the complicated rules, or the lack of room to play. Or maybe it is because every other nation is crippled by their lack of freedom, their lack of vibrant and multinational culture, or their hatred of gender differences. All I know is that I would rather watch football than soccer.
Now, do not get me wrong. I still like to play soccer. I find it far less dangerous for my physical health and it is an exciting sport once you are on the field ... but what self-respecting sport is not? My point is not that football is the best sport in the world, but the best sport to watch.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the Japanese women's team on their stunning upset. おめでとう日本！
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Curt Jester has the story with the parallel that is in the mind of all faithful Catholics these days. Discussion question: What is the next pillar of useless traditional morality to fall?
Discuss among yourselves. I have been real busy this week ...
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
|Victim Card: Revoked|
According to Thomas Peters, this gay marriage in New York thing is simply political shenanigans and, in a way, Politico corroborates his analysis. As much as I am for political end-runs to grasp power and enforce certain points of view (my points of view), when legislative bodies perform top-down revolutions in democratic societies, the results are always fleeting.
Winner? All me, all the time.
The anti-capitalist group Art Uncut inflated a 6-metre balloon emblazoned with the message "U Pay Your Tax 2." Security guards wrestled them to the ground before deflating the balloon and taking it away. About 30 people were involved in the angry clash.What have we learned here? Well, for one thing liberals will say anything, no matter how unsubstantiated and mindless to "convince" normal thinking people to hand over more money and power to the those least qualified to use it: the government. Remember how Obamacare would "create jobs" and "save the American taxpayer millions"? What did that even mean?
And now we have the enlightened folks in Europe, blithely unaware that higher taxes always impoverish charities and thereby hurt the poor. You know who knows how to organize charity? Why, charities, that is who. Charities are positioned with the necessary manpower, infrastructure, and know-how to actually carry out their mission. When you rely on government to run charities, they create panels of useless college grads who debate endlessly on which end of six-figures their salaries should be and how many limousines get to park out front of their palatial headquaters. Hidden, of course, from unapproving onlookers. Because how can you justify asking congress for $10 million when it looks like you are rolling in all that cash yourself?
"Never mind all that! Let's act like the entitled snobs we are and demand U2 funnel all its largess into the gaping maw of system that is so undeniably broken that its only future lies in being a charity unto itself with the express purpose of squandering hard-earned money! Hooray for stupidity!" Say the toothless loser hooligans.
Full disclosure: I pay no taxes and convert all my earnings into gold bullion which I keep in a vault with my lifetime supply of incandescent bulbs and guarded by tigers which I feed with environmentalist volunteers too personally torn up about the size of their carbon footprints to go on living.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Times are changing. The Central Party has decided to release dissident artist Ai Weiwei and, though he is under a gag order to not relate anything about his last three months in prison, there is real reason to hope.
For one, the government trumped up charges to arrest Ai in the first place when they could have just arrested him on suspicion of being anti-government or anti-party or reactionary or whatever. The charges appear to be tax evasion which again is actually kind of nice. It would have been easy enough to plant evidence seeing as the same party which controls the government also controls the courts, the military, and the police.
If they were able to plant drugs or phony money on him, the famed artist would be very dead by now as both drug trafficking and counterfeiting are capital offenses in the Worker's Paradise (Progressivism be praised). Yet Beijing is downright sweet for a change.
The point is, if they really wanted him taken care of, the Communists could have done whatever they felt like. Especially back in the day.
So call it "Arab Spring with Chinese Characteristics" and blame it on grinchy hearts in Beijing finally thawing. Or maybe it was the international pressure brought on by a combination of diplomatic and economic manueverings and a self-generating information infrastructure that has become an echo-chamber of antipathy and hostility towards the CCP.
Whatever it is, I like it.