Thursday, July 29, 2004

Soccer Around The World and in the USA

For more than a century and a half, soccer (a/k/a football) has united and divided humanity. A two-week long war between El Salvador and Honduras was instigated by a soccer match in 1969, 2,000 people lost their lives; and there are many instances of opposing, even warring, nations using soccer in an effort to find peace and harmony. An Israeli a team that includes a number of Palestinians has made the cut into the UEFA Champions League this year. Soccer is very important everywhere but in the United States. It is the most important sport in the world. The wealthiest sports companies are not based in the USA, they are European soccer teams.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ranks the national teams each month. There are two hundred and something countries with teams qualified to participate in FIFA events. The United States currently ranks (laughably) ninth in the world. Many suspect that this inflated ranking is provided in hopes of getting the American public (that is, the American male) interested in the sport. Still, the average American ignores the sport.

Manipulating the rankings has never worked and nobody really quite knows why American men hate soccer. Some say it is dull, but it certainly has more action than baseball. Some say it is too slow, but it is much faster than the NFL. Some say there isn't enough scoring, but similar numbers of goals are scored when compared to hockey. It is hard to know why there is such a hegemonist stance against soccer in the States.

I follow the sport quite avidly. I know that I am not an average American sports fan. I am a liberal. I am interested in the arts. I am not homophobic. I think women's college sports should be funded equally to men's. I oppose taxpayer subsidies for stadia. I am open-minded. All of these things make me unlike the average American sports fan. Outside of the Northeast and the West Coast, there are not many sports fans like me and my friends.

I suspect that Americans will never embrace soccer because it just doesn't lend itself to our brand of nationalism and patriotism.

But . . . wait . . .

Yesterday during a court hearing in London about English soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, it was learned that "[l]aughing British soldiers tortured Iraqi detainees by beating and kicking them, pouring freezing water on their heads and forcing them to recite names of English and Dutch football (soccer) stars . . ."

Soccer can be used to torture Muslims! This should excite and interest the average American! Just think: next time you have a non-Christian person of color (or anyone you deem to be unpatriotic) held hostage under the guise of national security, you can use the very successful technique of forcing them to recite the names of soccer players as torture! Is there anything more patriotic than that?!?!

It can be fun: tie a hood over their head, connect their genitals to electrical wires and make them pronounce "Ruud vanNistlerooj" properly! If they fail, you can turn on the electricity and toss ice water on them! You'll be a hero and the pride and joy of the Bush administration. You might get your own Fox reality show!

It's sad, I know, but it might be the only thing that could make soccer popular in the United States!

Some Yahoo!


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