Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Why This American Hates Soccer
Well, it's springtime again. Which means the NBA playoffs have begun their 3 month journey of trying maintain/manufacture interest in their product while stretching it out as long as they can to garner the most TV viewers all while turning their broadcasts into the Sham Wow ads by cross promoting a minimum of 3 summer movies. And if the second of those three comes at the expense of the first, so be it. David Stern is always happy to sacrifice the quality of the NBA for a few more dollars.
Which leads me to my topic of the day. Soccer is infecting the NBA and it needs to stop.
I've written before about how the European influence on the NBA is toxic. In this post from last summer, I primarily focused on the greasy, filthy, sweaty, rotten cabbage smelling look that the majority of these Euros sport. The nasty long hair flipping sweat everywhere, those gay string head bad things and the pansy looking half beards. Read my previous entry for further analysis.
Pau Gasol is the devil.
But by far the worst element of the filthy Euro basketball style is the soccer flops. It is inexcusable the way that the aforementioned influence has turned NBA Basketball into a sport that rewards you for acting like a pussy. And it is all the doing of the alleged sport, soccer.
Before I continue, I need to make one thing clear. I really enjoy women's soccer. Along with volleyball, it works great as a women's sport. I have no interest in watching men play it, but I am almost always entertained with the ladies' version. I'm not sure why this is but if I ever have a daughter, I'm gonna do my best to brainwash her into being a soccer / volleyball chick that makes fun of cheerleaders and dance club. I'm sure that tactic will never backfire.
That being said, there are a whole lot of reasons why I don't like (obnoxious men's) soccer. To name a very few, those reasons would include the following; 0-0 ties, jackass fans insisting it be called football, the idiotic offsides rule, the fact that staring at a horse's ass for 80 minutes is infinitely more entertaining. But there are only three reasons why I hate it. And when I say hate, I mean HATE. And those three reasons are what I want to discuss today.
The First Reason This American Hates Soccer is obvious. I've already mentioned it. By far the worst aspect of the game of soccer is the flopping. The propensity for players to throw themselves to the ground in riving agony while they fake an injury to garner the sympathy of the ref is a repulsive display of cowardice. As a fan of sports in general, any sense of competitive integrity you may have compels you to acknowledge that this practice of acting like a pussy and then expecting a reward for doing so is indefensible. It isn't good strategy, it isn't gamesmanship. And it isn't just a lie. It's a lie at the expense of these player's own manhood. They are pretending to be a frail, weak little bitch in return for a slight advantage given to them by the ref. That it is contrary to the fundamental principle of athletic competition that says, "I'm tougher than you, watch me prove it".
The sniper from Saving Private Ryan has the right idea.
As obnoxious as this is, I don't really care about it. As long as the worst aspects of the game of soccer remain within the realms of soccer, they can act like pussies all they want. But this abomination is no longer quarantined to Europe and Brazil. And this is where I draw the line.
European basketball players were raised on soccer. As such they take these tactics of deception with them when they learn a real sport like basketball. They were taught as children that the best thing to do when competing is to pretend to fall down a lot and to fake injuries while rolling around in fabricated pain. Because what better way to match athletic wits with your opponent than to appear as fragile as possible? Right? But we see more and more, how this tactic has infiltrated the NBA.
Now to be fair, there has always been an element of acting in basketball. No one knew how to draw contact and get to the line better than my beloved Karl Malone. That's one reason why everyone outside of Utah hates his guts. But there is a huge difference between drawing contact or taking a charge and the shameful act of flopping. There is no bartering of your own manhood when you flail your arms out to draw contact as you drive to the basket. Standing in the way of an opposing player that is running at full speed with your arms straight up in the air to draw a charge in no way begs for the pity of the ref. It is the opposite of a flop. You are absorbing the maximum amount of contact for the good of your team. Not pretending to be a pussy for a cheap call. I'm talking to you, Ginobili. And what's the real difference between an actual pussy and someone who accurately portrays the actions of a pussy? The actual pussy at least has a shred of integrity.
Again, the worst aspect of this is the fact that it has spread from the soccer playing Euros to American born NBA players who were raised on basketball. Look at this despicable display from Robert Horry from a few years ago.
This needs to end.
The Second Reason This American Hates Soccer is the following argument made by jackoff soccer fans. "It's the most popular sport in the world! It's only because Americans don't have the attention span so they can't appreciate the subtle nuances of futbol. Soccer is just as physical as football and just as spontaneous as basketball. And it requires the most fitness of any sport. Soccer players are the best athletes in the world. But you refuse to give it a chance. You're already a fan, you just don't know it."
ESPN actually used that last line in an ad campaign in what I imagine was an effort to recruit a larger fan base. In reality it's just insulting. "If you weren't such an ignorant dumbass, you'd like the sport we're telling you to like. But ratings are crap, so I guess you're too stupid to appreciate it." Look, isn't it possible for me to dislike a sport like soccer and not be an ignorant, xenophobic, American pig? Isn't it enough to be bored to tears with it? Why is that a reflection on my alleged lack of intelligence and cultural refinement? Are you telling me that these guys are somehow deep aficionados of subtly? And couldn't the same argument be used to rip Brits for not loving baseball?
Also, Soccer is in no way as physical as football and it's too damn boring to be as spontaneous as basketball. And it does not require the best fitness of any sport. Soccer players are not, repeat NOT the best athletes in the world. Not by a long shot. Boxing, wrestling and hockey all require way more endurance than soccer. That's to say nothing about toughness. Just because the players have to run a lot, doesn't make your sport any more watchable.
The sport that requires the most athleticism, toughness and fitness is easily Rugby. (Whose the ignorant American now?) Which brings me to number 3.
The Third Reason This American Hates Soccer is spite. Pure spite. I am a proud member of the small faction of Americans that love the sport of Rugby. It is a beautiful, glorious, brutal game. And yet, it has no presence in this country at all. None. Considering the amount of football players who don't make it to the NFL, there is an enormous amount of dormant rugby talent in this country. If we ever figured out just how amazing this game is, we would be pretty damn good.
But as it is, we suck. This is where the spite comes in. Because even though soccer is only a blip on the sports loving radar in America (when compared to the NBA, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, College Football, College Basketball, PGA, NHL and Tennis) at least it's a blip. Rugby isn't even that.
Soccer is an NCAA funded sport that has a functional professional league and is competitive in international play. The US isn't going to win the world cup anytime soon. And the MLS is about the same as the WNBA as far sports punchlines go. But I would be thrilled if Rugby had the same presence soccer does.
Next weekend, I will be going to the Collegiate Rugby National Championship where BYU will be competing in the National Final for the fourth straght year (fourth times the charm, fellas!). It is a very well put together tournament held on the beautiful grounds at Stanford University. But it's small. Like, there might be 3,000 people in attendance. That is the sad reality of Rugby in America. The Collegiate National Final (notice I didn't say NCAA) draws the same crowd as an average high school football game.
But there's only room enough on the crowded American sports plate for one weird Euro game, and soccer is taking it all up. Like I said. Spite.
And now some video evidence of the elegant brutality of Rugby. Note the complete lack of people falling down for no damn reason. In fact it almost appears as though the players on the field are doing their best to play as tough as they possibly can. Weird.