The World Cup is in full swing...why doesn't America care? The rest of the world seems to find the game wildly exciting, yet most Americans are indifferent at best, and down right loathe the game at worst.
So why is that? Here are a few theories.
Just The Facts
- The game isn't played on a field dumbass...it's "the pitch"
- Goalies play hockey. The guy in front of the net picking his nose for most of the match is the "keeper"
- If Quasimodo were a professional soccer player in Europe, even he would have a chance at a supermodel
We Don't Know Any Songs
Watch any soccer game not being played in America, and you will surely notice the background track of fans loudlysinging, chanting, and generally having a giant party in the stands
. This doesn't happen just during important junctures of the game…it is nonstop. The rest of the world has learned that if you show up and just sit there and watch the game, the boredom will drive you to pluck out your own eyeballs to relieve the pain of watching.
By contrast, as an English friend of mine once brought to my attention, the only thing American fans can do in unison is chant "U-S-A" or "DE-FENSE". This lack of repertoire severely hampers our ability to actually enjoy attending a soccer game. And god knows there's no joy in actually watching the damn thing!
In a sport where a goal is scored about as often as a grand slam is hit in baseball, there is A LOT of down time between moments of excitement. Without some other activity to keep things interesting, the experience can be akin to gathering to watch a chess match.
Soccer in America is a "Mom" sport
As soon as the moniker of "soccer mom" was created, all hope of soccer every becoming meaningful in the United States ceased to exist. There is no other way to drive exuberant young males trying to impress girls away than to have them playing a game that's name is directly associated with suburban housewives.
To show you how damaging this actually is, just look what happened to the sport of hockey after Sarah Palin referred to herself as a "hockey mom." Hockey is about the toughest damn sport in the world, kind of like MMA on the ice, except they get to carry sticks with them. Despite this, the sport was set back 50 years in the US when Palin made her little quip. Don't believe me? Here's the proof…they're playing games outside now! Some may say it's a marketing thing, but the fact is, even hockey has had to work hard to regain the tough guy image, resorting to playing outside in the dead of fucking winter just to prove they're REAL men.
Soccer doesn't have the same tradition of toughness as hockey. The thought of the team showing up in mom's minivan does nothing to further the cause. Throw in all the mom's who coach, thinking soccer is a game that "soccer mom's" invented, and what you have is a bread of players who are more interested in making sure their socks match their headbands than they do in playing the game. While a few manage to succeed through sheer intestinal fortitude, the majority that emerge from mom leagues and keep playing the game only do so after deciding they enjoy their soccer games more than their ballet classes.
Soccer Had it's Chance...and Missed it
In 1999, the Women's World Cup was held in the United States. Of course no one cared about this anymore than they care about soccer in general, but during the title game, there was a moment that could have forever changed the course of soccer in the US.
During the final game, after scoring the winning goal, Brandie Chastain dropped to her knees and peeled her shirt off. Since this was a soccer game, and a women's soccer game at that, the chances that any heterosexual males over the age of 10 were watching are mind-bogglingly low. However, it was an opportunity, maybe the only opportunity, to turn the tide for all those poor little boys of soccer moms who are barreling down a path towards pink polo shirts and having a "partner" instead of a wife.
In fact, the chance existed, though slight as it may have been, that the removal of Brandie's shirt could bring a whole new fan base to soccer. Sure, many of those fans would have been the creepy guys that eat dinner at the strip club, but at this point I'm thinking soccer will be grateful for even these guys.
Unfortunately, what was revealed when Brandi's shirt came over her head was a sports bra, not a nice pair of firm athletic tata's. Perhaps my perverted mind is the only one that would think a woman would run all over the place for 90 minutes while her rack flapped free, but if you're going to rip your shirt off, do it to expose SOMETHING! So while men took the opportunity to catch a peak of the sports bra, it wasn't enough to generate the interest needed to watch another game. Men can watch girls in sports bra's jog down the street any day of the week.
It's the kids though that suffered the most. Soccer mom's were mortified that there innocent little boys were exposed to such filth. In the mind of a soccer mom, this was outright porn! She might as well have been standing there ass naked, with somebody's recently expended load drizzling out of her mouth. Now, not even soccer moms would allow their children to watch any international soccer what-so-ever, for fear that next they might be witness to some Brit ass-pounding a Spice Girl to celebrate a goal.
There is no place for Hooliganism in the United States
Go to any football game these days, and you'll quickly see that America has become anti-hooligan. Fans of the sort that prefer to urinate on the fans of the opposing team just aren't as accepted as we (I mean they) used to be. Whereas stadiums used to have a family friendly area where they could be separated for this vile unruliness, it is now the other way around. Those who pee, vomit, eat small animals, and use the Lord's name in vain are now cordoned off far away from everyone else.
It is quite impossible to enjoy the game of soccer without being snookered to a degree that makes you think taking a jog around the field is a good idea. A soccer game is highlighted by the shenanigans of the unruly lot that view the opposing team and their fans as mortal enemies who deserve a fate no less than death. This kind of passion only comes about if said team and fans burned your house down, or if you drink your yearly quota of beer in the span of 12 hours.
But today's family friendly stadiums don't allow for this kind of nonsense. In addition, authorities actually work to quell disturbances that occur outside the stadium, leaving nowhere to "rumble" with the opposing side. Check out this video of British fans after a game
. Such behavior here would get you a good clubbing to the head and a night or two in the pokey. Over there, a simple "hey mate, I'm just mad about the soccer match" is all that needs to be said to justify the burning of a village.
We're just not that good at it
Face it, if we're not the best, we don't want to take part. Americans have a horrible time accepting the fact that there are some things that others are better at than we are. To compound this situation, it's something that both the French and British are better at than us. I can think of few things more humiliating that being beat by the French at ANYTHING!