Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Thoughts on Soccer

I keep trying to write a post about Soccer where I'm not just being a dick and talking about how shitty it is and I keep failing.  I really want to just say fuck it and be a dick anyways because there are things about Soccer that annoy me to no end, but I can't because if I take a moment to really be honest with myself, I don't actually think that about Soccer.

My interest in Soccer is similar to my interest in a lot of sports.  I find it to be very intriguing as a whole, but couldn't care less about 90% of the individual games.  The best comparison for me is baseball.  Both have a rich history that goes back over a century with a ton of interesting storylines meandering about between then and now (especially if you watch the EPL).  But both tend to be really boring to a lot of people if the match/game isn't a big one.  Or maybe the better comparison is NASCAR, where few like it until something awesome happens.  It exists as good background entertainment, where you can have it on while doing something else, only occasionally paying attention.

I'll be perfectly honest, I usually don't like watching Soccer.  I've sat down for games at every level from high school to World Cup matches and to me the game looks like about 80 minutes of neutral zone clusterfuck would in hockey interspersed with occasional scoring chances.  Some of that is because I never enjoyed playing.  As a kid my athletic talents relied mainly on a superb set of hands.  I can throw and catch things better than just about anybody...but not while playing Soccer.  A lot of that is behind my general disdain for the game itself, much like my playing experiences in baseball are behind my disdain for that game.  But I still enjoy both on some level.

I love soccer unis.  I think they're very sharp, and the blend of team colors and advertising intrigues me more than it annoys me.  It's very different than what Americans are used to on our sports jerseys and I like that.  (Again, I think of sponsor-covered stock cars.)  And I love the EPL, I love the history and I love how much the fans hate each other.  More hate in sports is always a good thing.  (You know, unless it's hatred of black people or something.)

I could see myself following the EPL race like I follow pennant races in baseball, transfixed by teams fighting tooth and nail to gain ground on each other and poring over box scores without actually watching the games themselves.  I definitely had a good time tracking World Cup play on a spreadsheet even though I didn't sit down for that many of the actual games.

Overall it's a love/hate relationship, one that allows me to both get into deep discussions with soccer diehards (like my British former roommate) and piss them off severely with stupid comments (that hit too close to the truth).  I think I'm fine with existing that way. 

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