Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Americans Will Never Like Soccer

America is full of all of the "-est"'s in the world. Any superlative that exists describes anybody who lives in the US: fastest, fattest, best, ugliest, prettiest, hottest, strongest, richest, poorest, brightest, costliest, coolest, sexiest, blackest, whitest, gayest, biggest. Our smallest fast food soft-drink cups are larger than any serving size in Europe and Australia. We are consistently named the fattest country in the world. Our professional athletes are among the highest paid in the world. Other countries watch our Presidential elections but not conversely so. We are a nation of extremes and as such we have been conditioned to receiving the most stimulation available. Our sports bars consist of 30 42" plasma TV screens decorating every corner of the ceiling, all showing different sports games. In any weekend in October, one could walk into any random sports bar in the US and find it showing games from the NFL (or NCAAF), the NHL, the MLB playoffs, men's NCAA basketball, NASCAR and EPL/UEFA games. While we may also have a conservative national policy on drinking age limitations, we also have the most amount of bars of any country in the world and our drinking establishments run the most varied drinking specials of any place I've ever been to.

Therefore, soccer will never become popular in the US (outside of soccer players) because it is a game of finesse where the scoring is about the least pertinent thing about the game. Much of each game is spent strategizing about the other team's position and perceived plans for defense and attack. There is more physical contact than in the NBA but less than in the NHL and NFL. But the scoring is also much lower than any of those sports. That is what is so important to Americans - the immediate gratification is insanely important to American sports fans. This is precisely why the NHL totally revamped its rules: to create a game that attracts a larger (and dumber) audience. Attention to individual movement off the ball is what is required as a football spectator, and due to the size of the field and number of players on it, that attention is generally not given.

Soccer is truly the sport of kings, and until the US can fully grasp its complexity and innovation, the country will always be looked at by the rest of the world as Europe's goofy offspring (HT: RuthlessRanting).

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