Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Soccer haters be damned

The World Cup, also known as the best sporting event in the world (World Series has nothing on it), begins Friday. Accompanying the tournament will be the old, traditional American sportswriters and other Americans coming out of the woodwork to trash it.

The most notable in the Pittsburgh area will be Bob "Negative Nancy" Smizik, who doesn't really enjoy sports. He just likes to tear down anything fun about them and question individuals who like fun.

Well all of these old timers and downers can go to hell. The World Cup is amazing. The entire world watches for a month, cheering on their country and/or good play in general. Sure, there will be those players taking dives and faking career injuries, only to be up and moving fine a minute later. But there will also be breathtaking goals, ankle-breaking moves that even fool the cameramen and deafening crowds (even without those plastic horns they use in South Africa).

Another result of the event will be the countless kids and adults filling fields throughout their communities, playing soccer and getting caught up in the World Cup buzz. They won't have cleats, they may have never played the game before. But they will feel the need to play. It happens every time the World Cup comes around. Even those high school football players who are always ripping on the soccer players and calling it a girly sport, will be out there and loving it.

It's a phenomenon that is unique to the World Cup. The pools didn't fill up more than usual when Michael Phelps was breaking records in Beijing. You wouldn't see an unusual amount of runners at the track trying to replicate Usain Bolt. And the baseball fields are relatively empty by the time the World Series rolls around, at least they are in Pittsburgh.

The Post-Gazette's Reg Henry had a great article that inspired this post. You can read it here Calling the Yanks' 1-0 win against England in 1950 the biggest upset in sports is a bit much (in 1950 it might have been), but the rest of it is a great read.

Come back later this week for an in-depth preview of the World Cup from a guest writer.

Weezer - Hey Domingo (The World Cup Song)


  1. I once didn't care for soccer, then I actually watched an entire game and understood why it's so exciting. I think all soccer haters should read this excerpt from last week's SI:

    "Fans, though, will say the scarcity of goals in soccer is the whole point. A goal at the highest level of the game is a miracle. Consider the odds. You have to move a ball across a large field, eluding 10 obstinate foes, without using your hands. You cannot legally pass the ball to a teammate who has raced past the last defender. Once you approach the goal, you must put the ball into a net eight yards wide and eight feet high, guarded by the one man on the field allowed to use his hands. It is, when you think about it, and impossible task."

  2. Great link. I can see how it inspired your post. Jim Rome is the leader when it comes to this stuff.

    Greg, that's a beautiful quote. You are a wise man, with a warm heart.

    Go USA.