IT’S MAY, AND IN EUROPE THAT MEANS that means the culmination of the beloved “football”—soccer—season when all the major cup finals are played.
It’s a highly anticipated time on the sporting calendar for Euros but for Americans, not so much. I mean Soccer? C’mon! Americans will never watch soccer. Not in large numbers anyway. Not outside of the Olympics or World Cup. For these, and so many other, reasons:
1. It’s Too Damn Boring
Americans are never going to get excited about something that almost happened, about a scoring chance missed or a shot blocked or mishit. It’s like getting all fired up about a long foul ball, or a QB overthrowing his receiver.
Honestly, soccer is like a form or rhythmic mass-hypnosis to Americans: One team passes up field not quite to the goal then turns it over, the other team takes it down not quite near the other goal before turning it back over, and on and on they go until after 90 excitement-less minutes later it mercifully ends.
Not these kinds of ties.
No, not the kind you wear, the kind where no one scores and no one goes home happy. Often called ‘draws’ by aficionados, you can call them what you will Americans won’t tolerate them. Never have. They say a tie is “like kissing your sister”; well, Americans don’t like sister-kissing! Baseball, the nation’s first sporting love, has never allowed for a tie, the game must be decided, even if we have to play forever—or 33 innings. They are also made impossible by the rules of basketball, have been pinched out of hockey, and when they do occur in football every 5 years or so, it just confuses and pisses people off and sets the whole “we-should-never-let-another-football-game-end-in-a-tie-again” debate raging.
Also known as “diving” or “faking” or “acting” or “poor sportsmanship” or even “cheating”; faking an injury or leaping in the air at the suggestion of contact is a time-honored tradition amongst soccer players. But one Americans can’t understand and, frankly, don’t like.
It can make soccer feel like a basketball game in which both teams spend more time flopping to try to draw charges instead of just playing the game.
Sure I get that a free kick or a penalty can be a valuable, but so often it seems that if the guy would’ve just stayed on his feet he would’ve had a better chance to score then they get when he draws a free kick which is promptly shot 15 feet over the net. Plus it slows the game down, and soccer is not a game that needs any slowing down.
Maybe you don’t this, but in soccer, at least in Europe, if you’re team finishes in the bottom three in the standings they get kicked out of the league! The idea that a terrible team would lose its place in the top flight of competition in unthinkable in American, and thank god because when losing starts having consequences the fun gets drain right out of the game.
Sure some would argue that the relegation system makes more games meaningful and exciting as basement-dwellers battle to “stay up” and play in the top league next season right to the final games, instead of throwing in the towel and hoping for a high draft pick like they do here—anyone else recall the “suck for luck”?
But I say that while I like the thought of some teams getting kicked down a notch, the idea of it happening to one of my teams makes the whole notion to frightening to consider.
5. Too Much Damn Singing
What’s with all the sing-along songs at soccer matches?
Half the time you can’t even understand what the crowd is saying—unlike a good, ole American chant! Besides if Americans wanted to see singing they could just turn on their TV on any given night and catch the latest singing competition, or they’d go to church. Europeans might try to claim the singing generates ‘atmosphere’ but so does “Go Team Go!” and rhythmic clapping.
And while Americans may not like to sign songs at their games they also won’t tolerate openly racist and homophobic slogans being chanted at games, and frankly, their presence in European soccer stadiums is reason enough for anyone not to watch—sometimes the good ole U.S. of A. is more progressive than Europe despite what them sister-kissing Eurotrash think.