I want to like soccer, I really do. It’s the most popular sport in the rest of the world (where it’s also called football, appropriately), so there must be something to it. And with the World Cup underway, it’s the perfect opportunity to try to figure out what that “something” is.
But man, I just really have a hard time getting into it. So I joined a “World Cup Fantasy League” at work, in which I drafted four teams in hopes of piquing my interest in the game in general. (Go France, Chile, Mexico and Nigeria!)
But there are still several factors standing in the way of that happening:
The lack of timeouts/commercials. I am pretty sure someone once told me this is because soccer teams basically have corporate sponsors, so they don’t need commercials to fund televising games. Or something. But as someone who likes to stay well-hydrated and non-hungry, there’s a good chance I will need to use the bathroom and/or grab a scrumptious plate of cheese fries during any 90-minute duration. But when are you supposed to take a break when there are no commercials?!? WHEN?
The minimal scoring. It’s not the low numbers at the end per say; it’s more the frustration of having the excitement build up whenever a team has a shot at the goal, only to have the opportunity thwarted 99 percent of the time. Then, when they do manage to score, it’s usually when you’re in the bathroom.
The ties. Seriously, why does it seem that 95 percent of soccer games end in a tie? What, pray tell, is the point of playing a game if a likely outcome is the same as if the it had never been played at all? This is America, damn it. We play sports to see which team’s display of skill and brute force can rake in the most money. Obviously, this can only be done by declaring a clear winner and loser of each game.
The “injuries.” Are professional soccer players also required to attend the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks? Because I have never seen grown men overreact the way soccer players do when they get “injured.” Seems like whenever a player gets tapped on the shin the wrong way, he falls over, grimacing in pain, convincing me that his entire leg has fallen off. Then the training crew comes over with the “magic spray,” and, with just a quick misting of that, ta da! Leg is magically reattached and good as new! It’s maaaaaaaagic.
I would just like to say that if soccer teams do indeed have a “magic spray” that cures even the worst of ills, it’s kind of a dick move for them to not share it with the rest of the injured world.
Stoppage time. The clock is only a few seconds away from hitting 90 minutes, and, after what’s seemed like a g.d. eternity, you’re finally going to get to use the restroom and/or put delicious food in your tummy.
It’s. Not. Over.
Why? Stoppage time.
Why, whyyyyyy can’t soccer just be like other sports and stop the damn clock when there’s a timeout/”injury”/other nonsense on the field? Isn’t it harder to have to keep track of all the time that ticks of the clock than to just stop it? Seriously, can someone explain it to me? I really just don’t get it, and I’m feeling kind of lazy right now and don’t want to Google it.
The time I had to play it at recess in elementary school (aka, “probably the real reason”). One time, in fifth grade, I got talked into playing soccer at recess instead of enjoying my usual entertainment of the tire swing. They made me be the goalie, probably because I was short and scrawny and they figured they could get anything past me.
And … they were right. Oh, I tried. I jumped and I dived and I slid to try to stop the ball, but they all just flew right past me. I’m pretty sure I still have scars on my knees from the grass burns. I don’t remember the exact score at the end, but it was something like 400 to zero. From that day forward, I vowed I would never play soccer again.
As you can probably tell, I’m actually quite clueless about soccer. The last time I watched it was the 2010 World Cup, upon which most of my “knowledge” is based. And, it’s entirely possible most of the games featured Team USA, which, let’s face it, doesn’t represent the pinnacle of the game.
(Also, I have a small bladder and, possibly, uromysitisis.)
But, I’m going into this World Cup with an open mind. I just hope my bladder and tummy can hang on for the ride.