Summer Sports – Episode 4
July 21, 2010 4 Comments
Well folks, summertime is finally here. Finals week is over, college students have meandered out to a quiet life of working to pay for tuition (or in my case) to have enough money for alcohol for the fall.
Summertime also brings on what I like to call sports hell. The NCAA tournament is over, baseball is in miles 7-16 of its marathon season, there’s no football action at any level, especially now that the expansion talk has ended (with ISU holding its spot in a BCS conference, fuck yeah!) We’re getting close, but it’s not quite minicamp season…yet.
Flipping through the channels, however, I was shocked to discover that – holy shit – there are actually sports going on in the summer. Since there’s a long way to go until fall semester starts and NFL training camp kicks off in late July, I figured I’d spend some time “analyzing” these mysterious sports – particularly from the perspective of someone watching the sport.
Part 4 – Soccer
I realize that this is going to likely be one of my most divisive articles in this series, at least until I get to baseball. Soccer is one of the most polarizing sports in America. There are those who love it to death and will defend its honor at all costs, and those who hate its guts and will take any means necessary to detract from it. Both sides are obscenely passionate about their love or hate for the game.
Before I continue, I should at least offer my readers something more authentic. Click here for the FULL World Cup experience when reading this article.
Irritated yet? Those vuvuzelas are fucking annoying, aren’t they? Feel free and hit the “Back” button if you feel like clicking that last link was a HUGE mistake and you want to go back to the non-vuvuzela’d version. I’ll wait.
With that out of the way, let’s begin on the topic of those Goddamn horns. I’ve heard several people suggest that Iowa State (or others) should start bringing vuvuzelas to college games. By all means, go for it, if you want to either
A.) Waste your money, or
B.) Get murdered
On (A), artificial noisemakers are banned from college arenas (thank God), so it’s just going to get taken away. Go ask the “Horn Guy” from Jack Trice (the only good use of a vuvuzela I’ve found – you keep doing what you’re doing, man). He usually has to bring SEVERAL and remain in hiding most of the game. As for (B), you’re going to annoy the living fuck out of everyone around you. Someone’s going to stuff that fucking thing down your throat by halftime. Don’t be an asshole, kids.
Back to vuvuzelas.
I found it hard to handle an entire 90 minutes (or longer) of the sound of a swarm of bees during mating season. Maybe it was just me, but I found myself thinking (hoping?) by the time the final game was over, the incessant noise would have attracted a REAL swarm of killer bees (World Cup was in AFRICA, after all), who would proceed to devour the teams and all their fans.
Speaking of World Cup fans…these people are absolutely, positively, bat-shit crazy, and this is coming from a guy who dressed up in a cape and face paint for Iowa State games. I saw some big wins at Jack Trice and Hilton, but I never started a RIOT after a big win/loss – mostly because I never got a reason to.
I will admit rioting might have been fun, though…just have to make sure to stand at a crosswind from the Ames PD. If we learned ANYTHING from the 2004 VEISHEA riot, it’s that they don’t understand what “upwind” means, or why you should fire your teargas UPWIND of a rioting mob (or at least make sure one of the largest dorms in America isn’t DOWNWIND from your teargas canister. Thanks a lot, assholes)
Possibly the worst part about many of the soccer fans is their absolute INSISTENCE that you like their sport. If you don’t like soccer, you’re some kind of unwashed heathen. It’s a rare breed of arrogance usually found only in Apple Fanboys (but that’s a fight for another day). Let’s look at some of the reasons I’ve been told soccer is the bestest sport in the world, EVAR!!!1!!one!
- The action never stops
Well, I see you’ve used the term “action” quite loosely here, haven’t you. I don’t like just deferring to someone else’s comedy, but .the Simpsons NAILED IT years ago
Yes, I know. Baseball only has a couple of minutes of action. Football stops after every play. Greg McDermott’s basketball teams never do anything but pass the ball. At least in the latter of those sports there’s a shot/play clock. If I wanted to watch a bunch of guys get a narrow lead and try to kill the clock the rest of the game, I’d pop in some tapes of Dan McCarney’s brand of football. If all that matters to you is things are moving, here’s a Newton’s Cradle for you to stare at.
- Soccer requires more talent/skill than other sports.
Really? Ever try throwing a pass over the middle or hitting a 90 mph fastball? Does soccer require talent? Absolutely. Does it require “more talent” than other sports? Doubtful.
- The athletes are the best in the world – they’re running for 90 minutes nonstop
These two statements are contradictory. The second part implies that running for 90 minutes makes soccer players the “best athletes”. If that’s the standard, what does that make a marathon runner or triathlete – a God? No, I think they’re just regular athletes like any other sport. At last, my all-time favorite.
- The rest of the world loves soccer
Oh boy. The REST OF THE WORLD thinks soccer is awesome. Last time I checked, much of the “rest of the world” thought communism was a groovy concept for a long time. Parts of the “rest of the world” will kill their own citizens for speaking their mind, and treats their people as second-class citizens based on their race/creed/gender/sexual orientation. No thanks. I’ll make my own judgment, independent of what the “rest of the world” thinks.
Now. DESPITE all the bashing I’ve done of soccer “fanboys” and their reasons, and DESPITE ESPN feeling the need to shove the World Cup down my throat, I am fair. I DID give soccer a try this year. Unfortunately, I had to work during the US matches (including the Saturday matches), but I got my first tase of the World Cup one Sunday afternoon I stopped in a bar with the wife for a pizza, and caught the end of one of the matches. This is what I saw:
A horrible, HORRIBLE flop. Folks, this is part of the reason why I have a hard time taking soccer seriously:
But don’t players flop in football? Sure they did. That’s why it was outlawed YEARS AGO. Baseball players may be “injured” all the time, but I’ve only seen one clip ever of a player faking an injury as bad as that video I just showed:
Look what happened. He GOT EJECTED. Not CARDED. Flat-out EJECTED.
You want to make Americans take soccer more seriously? First off, institute instant replay. After all the blown calls in this World Cup (USA-Slovenia, anyone?), I doubt ANYONE disagrees with this.
Second, if someone gets injured, check the tape to make sure they’re not faking it. If they are, eject them for the next match and give the player that was accused of the foul a free opportunity to cleat their accuser in the stones. Flopping won’t be a problem anymore.
My second experience with this year’s World Cup came at a WingStop. Mexico-Argentina happened to be on (which meant it took about an hour for the guys in back to make 10 wings and and order of fries, for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on). I got to experience the second-best thing about soccer.
Seriously, these guys crack me up. Probably has a lot to do with why the rest of the world likes soccer. Not only are they always super excited (see the Simpsons clip from earlier), they have the lung capacity to make the Three Little Pigs run in terror. Right as I got my food, Argentina scored, and I got to eat to the sweet sound of…
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(at this point I think someone stopped in and delivered the announcer a pizza, because he started screaming ZA! ZA! ZA! ZA! ZA! ZA! ZA! for the next five minutes) Something like this:
During the time he was screaming about the goal, I had sufficient time to calmly set a napkin down, eat 5 wings, get up, refill my Dr. Pepper (they were Inferno, I needed it), eat the other 5 wings, get ketchup for my fries, eat the fries, polish off that Dr. Pepper, and get up to leave. Makes the game 20x more interesting, just my opinion.
I did try to watch a complete soccer match – the final. Unfortunately, I fell asleep partway through it, but I did wake up in time to see Spain win. Congratulations to them, and I wish both Spain and the Netherlands the best of luck in putting together the pieces of what was their country before the rioters burned it down.
Next time – Golf
Thanks for reading. Here’s a cookie for you as a reward!