Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How Soccer is Ruining America: A Jeremiad (In honor of the World Cup)
First Things ^ | 3/5/2009 | Stephen H. Webb

Posted on 06/11/2010 5:23:41 AM PDT by markomalley

Soccer is running America into the ground, and there is very little anyone can do about it. Social critics have long observed that we live in a therapeutic society that treats young people as if they can do no wrong. Every kid is a winner, and nobody is ever left behind, no matter how many times they watch the ball going the other way. Whether the dumbing down of America or soccer came first is hard to say, but soccer is clearly an important means by which American energy, drive, and competitiveness is being undermined to the point of no return.

What other game, to put it bluntly, is so boring to watch? (Bowling and golf come to mind, but the sound of crashing pins and the sight of the well-attired strolling on perfectly kept greens are at least inherently pleasurable activities.) The linear, two-dimensional action of soccer is like the rocking of a boat but without any storm and while the boat has not even left the dock. Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without any bullets in their guns. Soccer is the fluoridation of the American sporting scene.

For those who think I jest, let me put forth four points, which is more points than most fans will see in a week of games—and more points than most soccer players have scored since their pee-wee days.

1) Any sport that limits you to using your feet, with the occasional bang of the head, has something very wrong with it. Indeed, soccer is a liberal’s dream of tragedy: It creates an egalitarian playing field by rigorously enforcing a uniform disability. Anthropologists commonly define man according to his use of hands. We have the thumb, an opposable digit that God gave us to distinguish us from animals that walk on all fours. The thumb lets us do things like throw baseballs and fold our hands in prayer. We can even talk with our hands. Have you ever seen a deaf person trying to talk with their feet? When you are really angry and acting like an animal, you kick out with your feet. Only fools punch a wall with their hands. The Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush was following his primordial instincts. Showing someone your feet, or sticking your shoes in someone’s face, is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Do kids ever say, “Trick or Treat, smell my hands”? Did Jesus wash his disciples’ hands at the Last Supper? No, hands are divine (they are one of the body parts most frequently attributed to God), while feet are in need of redemption. In all the portraits of God’s wrath, never once is he pictured as wanting to step on us or kick us; he does not stoop that low.

2) Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding. Even its language was intimidating, with bases, bats, strikes, and outs. Striding up to the plate gave each of us a chance to act like we were starring in a Western movie, and tapping the bat to the plate gave us our first experience with inventing self-indulgent personal rituals. The boy chosen to be the pitcher was inevitably the first kid on the team to reach puberty, and he threw a hard ball right at you.

Thus, you had to face the fear of disfigurement as well as the statistical probability of striking out. The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends invited to your home to watch your dad forcing you to eat your vegetables. We also spent a lot of time in the outfield chanting, “Hey batter batter!” as if we were Buddhist monks on steroids. Our chanting was compensatory behavior, a way of making the time go by, which is surely why at soccer games today it is the parents who do all of the yelling.

3) Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion, but few people know exactly what is wrong with that. More than having to do with its origin, soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score. Even the way most games end, in sudden death, suggests something of an old-fashioned duel. How could anyone enjoy a game where so much energy results in so little advantage, and which typically ends with a penalty kick out, as if it is the audience that needs to be put out of its misery. Shootouts are such an anticlimax to the game and are so unpredictable that the teams might as well flip a coin to see who wins—indeed, they might as well flip the coin before the game, and not play at all.

4) And then there is the question of gender. I know my daughter will kick me when she reads this, but soccer is a game for girls. Girls are too smart to waste an entire day playing baseball, and they do not have the bloodlust for football. Soccer penalizes shoving and burns countless calories, and the margins of victory are almost always too narrow to afford any gloating. As a display of nearly death-defying stamina, soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent with insurmountable power.

Let me conclude on a note of despair appropriate to my topic. There is no way to run away from soccer, if only because it is a sport all about running. It is as relentless as it is easy, and it is as tiring to play as it is tedious to watch. The real tragedy is that soccer is a foreign invasion, but it is not a plot to overthrow America. For those inclined toward paranoia, it would be easy to blame soccer’s success on the political left, which, after all, worked for years to bring European decadence and despair to America. The left tried to make existentialism, Marxism, post-structuralism, and deconstructionism fashionable in order to weaken the clarity, pragmatism, and drive of American culture. What the left could not accomplish through these intellectual fads, one might suspect, they are trying to accomplish through sport.

Yet this suspicion would be mistaken. Soccer is of foreign origin, that is certainly true, but its promotion and implementation are thoroughly domestic. Soccer is a self-inflicted wound. Americans have nobody to blame but themselves. Conservative suburban families, the backbone of America, have turned to soccer in droves. Baseball is too intimidating, football too brutal, and basketball takes too much time to develop the required skills. American parents in the past several decades are overworked and exhausted, but their children are overweight and neglected. Soccer is the perfect antidote to television and video games. It forces kids to run and run, and everyone can play their role, no matter how minor or irrelevant to the game. Soccer and relevision are the peanut butter and jelly of parenting.

I should know. I am an overworked teacher, with books to read and books to write, and before I put in a video for the kids to watch while I work in the evenings, they need to have spent some of their energy. Otherwise, they want to play with me! Last year all three of my kids were on three different soccer teams at the same time. My daughter is on a traveling team, and she is quite good. I had to sign a form that said, among other things, I would not do anything embarrassing to her or the team during the game. I told the coach I could not sign it. She was perplexed and worried. “Why not,” she asked? “Are you one of those parents who yells at their kids? “Not at all,” I replied, “I read books on the sidelines during the game, and this embarrasses my daughter to no end.” That is my one way of protesting the rise of this pitiful sport. Nonetheless, I must say that my kids and I come home from a soccer game a very happy family.

TOPICS: Humor; Society; Sports
KEYWORDS: soccer; worldcup
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 241-252 next last
To: Reeses

But now that I think about it, you have the “tribal” part correct.

21 posted on 06/11/2010 6:09:54 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: 1rudeboy

George Will said that football promoted the two worst aspects of American life in that it was violence punctuated by committee meetings.

22 posted on 06/11/2010 6:12:38 AM PDT by the808bass
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

It’s also great for little kids that can’t get the ball up to the basket, and have trouble dibbling. It’s just an inherently easier sport.

23 posted on 06/11/2010 6:13:56 AM PDT by LanPB01
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

My plan for making soccer more interesting:

Assign a sniper for each team. Give him three bullets.

Allow them to roam anywhere in the stadium. They can shoot any player on the field, but cannot shoot the other sniper.

Players would move faster.

And eventually the sport would die our completely.

24 posted on 06/11/2010 6:18:05 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I lived in VT for four years. That was enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero
Soccer is good for tiny little kids to play before they are old enought to hit a ball that is not on a tee

Yep, makes them run around for an hour, tires them out, they go to sleep. It's great.

Once they're past the age of nap-taking and/or an 8:00pm bedtime, though, it's time to look for other pursuits, IMHO.

25 posted on 06/11/2010 6:18:19 AM PDT by wbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: wbill

The person that invented T-Ball should be flogged in the public square.

True Story: I called my mother after watching my kids first T-Ball game. I apologized to her for making her sit through all of my crappy sports for the first sixteen years of my life. She accepted, but said watching football in the rain in November was her all time least favorite.

26 posted on 06/11/2010 6:19:53 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I lived in VT for four years. That was enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: the808bass
I really try to enjoy NFL football. But even if I'm watching my team, I need to have a book or a newspaper in front of me.

And I dread the field goal just before the half. If you do an instant replay (say to call the touchdown out-of-bounds), run a play, call timeout, kick and score, kick off, time expires . . . you can literally watch three or four plays and what seems like 25 commercials.

27 posted on 06/11/2010 6:20:49 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray

“He’s right. America needs to adopt a REAL man’s game: Rugby.”

How about AUSSIE RULES football? Now there’s a mans game.

28 posted on 06/11/2010 6:20:51 AM PDT by BornToBeAmerican (Give me a hand up, not a hand out)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Colonel_Flagg; 1rudeboy

Saturday 2:30PM EST, I think...USA vs England! I hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If we somehow pull it off...we’ll never hear the end of it.

29 posted on 06/11/2010 6:21:06 AM PDT by Sender (It's never too late to be who you could have been.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Vermont Lt

T-ball is just wrong. There’s no other way to put it.

30 posted on 06/11/2010 6:21:57 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Colonel_Flagg

Will there be any love world cup threads this year?

The opening ceremony was just finished and we have kick off in the opening game in 40 minutes or so :-)

South Africa - Mexico

31 posted on 06/11/2010 6:23:45 AM PDT by Eurotwit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: GatorGirl
The deadliest boring sport my kids played (thank goodness they’ve both moved on) was baseball/softball. Especially when they were younger and no one knew how to play—it was hours of sheer torture.

I can't imagine an American kid not knowing how to play baseball.

32 posted on 06/11/2010 6:25:04 AM PDT by Fiji Hill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Fiji Hill

I guess you’ve never suffered through a game played by six year olds, then!

33 posted on 06/11/2010 6:26:13 AM PDT by GatorGirl (Eschew Socialism!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Eurotwit

I’ll post some news articles if I find them interesting enough, but I don’t plan on being very sober.

34 posted on 06/11/2010 6:27:08 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: BornToBeAmerican

That would be scary.

35 posted on 06/11/2010 6:29:06 AM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

I loath soccer. The only way it could be interesting is if they shortened the field by 1/3 and added multiple balls in play. Otherwise. SNOOZVILLE.... I believe most sports are snoozeville anyway.

36 posted on 06/11/2010 6:30:38 AM PDT by Walkingfeather
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

The fastest growing sport in America is Lacrosse, not Soccer. Any coincidence that it is totally reliant on hands?

Anyone who watches a lacrosse game can see in ten minutes why it is booming with American kids:

The running of soccer
The physicality
The higher scoring

37 posted on 06/11/2010 6:32:38 AM PDT by LRoggy (Peter's Son's Business)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1rudeboy
"Tribal warfare with Viagra commercials, constant breaks in the action, and interminable instant replay reviews. He-man stuff, there."

I loves me some football as well, but you forgot to add oxygen tanks on the sidelines.

38 posted on 06/11/2010 6:32:52 AM PDT by Sam's Army
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

Keep Our Own Kids Safe (KOOKS)

39 posted on 06/11/2010 6:43:56 AM PDT by Daveinyork
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Sivana
The truly talented American children pick up different sports as they grow up.

Which is why we, as the most powerful nation in the world, with the best athletes in the world, have never won the biggest and most prestigious sporting event in the world. Sad, really. Nobody else in the world cares who wins at basketball or American football. The rest of the world looks at our power and says "So, you've never even come close to winning the World Cup."

You want to seriously screw with everybody's heads? Have us win the World Cup.

40 posted on 06/11/2010 6:52:57 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 241-252 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson