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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
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This tongue in cheek article is posted in honor of the beginning of the 2010 World Cup.
1 posted on 06/11/2010 5:23:41 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Good read, but the comment about basketball was completely off the mark.


2 posted on 06/11/2010 5:27:07 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: markomalley
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.

Interesting point. Here is one important biblical passage (cited by Our Lord in the NT) that shows that enemies are "Beneath his feet,"
The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
Psalm 109:1
3 posted on 06/11/2010 5:32:25 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: markomalley

If feet are so unworthy, what does this say about womans obsession with shoes?


4 posted on 06/11/2010 5:33:14 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: markomalley

“Soccer was invented by European ladies to give them something to do while their men prepared the meals” - Hank Hill


5 posted on 06/11/2010 5:34:29 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (And that is all the people need to know!)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: markomalley

Soccer is good for tiny little kids to play before they are old enought to hit a ball that is not on a tee....or throw a football in a nice spiral....or learn to shoot a deer rifle or break some clays with a shotgun.

Soccer is a Euroweenie/3rd World sport and except for the little kids, has no business in America....unless you are talking about zer0bamas America.


7 posted on 06/11/2010 5:36:22 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: markomalley
This tongue in cheek article is posted in honor of the beginning of the 2010 World Cup.

Nevertheless, there is one undeniable fact:

Soccer Sucks.

8 posted on 06/11/2010 5:37:05 AM PDT by OldSmaj (I am an avowed enemy of islam and Obama is a damned fool and traitor. Questions?)
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To: markomalley
It forces kids to run and run, and everyone can play their role, no matter how minor or irrelevant to the game.

My understanding is that some of the kids run around, and the rest kind of hang out trying to make sure that the ball doesn't hit them. Soccer's popularity in the U.S. among children is largely attributable to the increase in fatherless households. The push for soccer has been on for over 35 years. It will fail. I remember the NASL and Pelé. The truly talented American children pick up different sports as they grow up.
9 posted on 06/11/2010 5:40:15 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: markomalley

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


10 posted on 06/11/2010 5:41:24 AM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!)
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To: Vaquero
Watching little kids play soccer is fun. Certainly more fun than watching them play T-ball. Ugh.

I'd like to see you elaborate on why you think something that is good for your kids is 3rd World and has no business in America, though.

11 posted on 06/11/2010 5:42:56 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Little Ray

Aussie rules football!


12 posted on 06/11/2010 5:43:51 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: markomalley
American football is for pansies. They're essentially playing Rugby, but in body armor. That is so gayyy.

Real football is played at breakneck speed for ninety minutes. And I mean 'breakneck' - the concept of 'injury time' comes from Football.

13 posted on 06/11/2010 5:44:06 AM PDT by agere_contra (Obama did more damage to the Gulf economy in one day than Pemex/Ixtoc did in nine months)
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To: Dr. Sivana

It’ll find its niche. I’ve never seen anyone seriously claim that it will become as big as the NHL, NFL, NBA, or MLB. (Except by folks wishing it to fail).


14 posted on 06/11/2010 5:45:35 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: markomalley

I like games where scoring means something.

I’m going to be glued to my television for the next month.

Whenever people feel like growing up and joining me, I’ll have cold beer ready.


15 posted on 06/11/2010 5:47:03 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (No apologies.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

You don’t have a house big enough to hold all the beer I’m going to drink over the next month. I might try to sober-up for the Fourth, though (drink Bud Light or something).


16 posted on 06/11/2010 5:53:11 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: markomalley

Both my kids play select soccer. A year round commitment requiring thousands of dollars and thousands of hours. They each play another sport as well. But they like it, it keeps them occupied and in great shape.

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.

Sit down and watch USA vs. England tomorrow if for no other reason than to get your patriotism on. I think you’ll be amazed at the athleticism. Hopefully someone will do a bicycle kick :-)


17 posted on 06/11/2010 6:00:12 AM PDT by GatorGirl (Eschew Socialism!)
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To: OldSmaj
it's called Sucker round these parts...
18 posted on 06/11/2010 6:02:47 AM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: 1rudeboy

American football is practice tribal warfare. Soccer is practice throwing down arms and running for their lives. The third world needs soccer to prepare themselves for when the Americans arrive.


19 posted on 06/11/2010 6:05:02 AM PDT by Reeses (Sowcialist: a voter bought with food stamps)
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To: Reeses

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


20 posted on 06/11/2010 6:08:40 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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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
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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
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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
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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.)
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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
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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.)
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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
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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)
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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.)
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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
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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
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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
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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!)
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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
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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!)
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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
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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)
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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
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To: markomalley

Keep Our Own Kids Safe (KOOKS)


39 posted on 06/11/2010 6:43:56 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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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
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To: 1rudeboy
Aussie rules football!

Or, how to make every other sport in the world look wimpy.

41 posted on 06/11/2010 6:54:57 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: 1rudeboy

NFL = Revenues shared among each team equally regardless of won-loss record.

English Premier League = Bottom three teams are relegated to a lower division, and the three-best teams from the league below are promoted.

So which sport is Communist, again?


42 posted on 06/11/2010 6:58:11 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: antiRepublicrat
. The rest of the world looks at our power and says "So, you've never even come close to winning the World Cup."

We came very close to making the semis in 2002, when we lost to Germany in the Quarterfinals, and even afterwards the German players said that the US outplayed them, but were just unlucky.

43 posted on 06/11/2010 6:59:52 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: the808bass
George Will said that football promoted the two worst aspects of American life in that it was violence punctuated by committee meetings.

So true! The violence is okay with me, after all I like Aussie rules football. It's the committee meetings that mostly turned me off of football. That, and the mostly one-way play direction. Unless there's an interception things just mainly go one way for a while, then the other way for a while. Soccer is quick back and forth, you never know where the ball will be ten seconds from now.

44 posted on 06/11/2010 7:00:27 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: markomalley

And we’re underway, Mexico vs South Africa, Go South Africa!


45 posted on 06/11/2010 7:02:03 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: markomalley

Americans think soccer sucks because they themselves suck at it.

Funny thing about baseball is that for a sport that moves so slow I can’t understand why it requires so much steroid use... go figure.


46 posted on 06/11/2010 7:02:30 AM PDT by montyspython
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To: dfwgator

Torsten Frings handball on the line...no PK called.


47 posted on 06/11/2010 7:03:02 AM PDT by Sam's Army
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To: Sam's Army

Yep. We got hosed.


48 posted on 06/11/2010 7:03:54 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: markomalley

“How Soccer is Ruining America”

I don’t know anyone who watches this euro-weenie “sport.” I’ts more boring than watching golf, bowling or hockey.


49 posted on 06/11/2010 7:04:24 AM PDT by Grunthor (Getting married, T minus 15 days.)
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To: antiRepublicrat
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.

It isn't the most prestigious sporting event in the world. 90+% of the world's largest economy is indifferent to it. If the U.S. decided to train/buy players to win the World Cup, we would be dancing to their tune. L.A. doesn't need an NFL team to be a big league city . . . the U.S. doesn't need the World Cup to be a big league country.

What messes with their heads more is that we don't even care about soccer, and won't call it football or futbol or whatever.
50 posted on 06/11/2010 7:04:50 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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