Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soccer Scorn

"Soccer, my friends, is not American. Why else do you think we lose? Whatever happened to American exceptionalism? When we start taking soccer seriously, it disappears. Am I the only that sees what's going on here? We're tying the rest of the world." --Glenn Beck

Say what? While these comments, (and many, many others by Mr. Beck et al) seem outrageous and preposterous to me, this is not an abnormal view of soccer by Americans. For example, I recently posted a video tribute to the Men's National Team on my Facebook page, and someone commented, "That's great. Now when will we win a cup?" In spite of all the progress soccer has made, and all the hard work our national team has done, there are still so many people out there that scorn the sport. They don't just 'not follow' it -- they actively hate it. Why?

There are so many theories out there on why Americans haven't taken to soccer. Some people find the game slow, not enough goals, they don't understand draws, find the rules confusing and so on. But those 'explanations' don't justify the out-and-out hostility some folks have toward the sport. Nobody ridicules a fan because hockey isn't as mainstream as baseball. Even golf has a level of respect greater than soccer in this country. Mystifying.

Personally, I think people like Mr. Beck, ESPN's Jim Rome and their ilk are so outspoken in their soccer-scorn because they are threatened by it. He basically came out and said so in his quote above -- "exceptionalism." Because you don't automatically come into a sport and kick ass and take names, it's stupid? Because you actually have to compete with the rest of the world, soccer must be communist? Because you actually have to work your way up to be the best and it's not given to you on a red, white, and blue platter, soccer should be mocked?

This is America, of course. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and to make it known (no matter how ludicrous). But these hateful, foolish words about not only a sport, but those other Americans who love it, only demonstrate how out-of-touch these people are. Is it not American to work as hard as you can to achieve the improbable? It's a shame - not only do they misunderstand soccer, but they obviously misunderstand the American dream.

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