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Boots on the Ground [Mark Steyn on the World Cup]
SteynOnline.com ^ | 6/25/2014 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 06/26/2014 4:38:05 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana

But, aside from the music, the American contribution to soccer has been minimal, and American interest in it even, er, minimaller. Every four years, the same bien-pensants who urge the Administration to be more "multilateral" and to work through the UN also commend the virtues of the World Cup: the game is supposedly more poetic than American sports, as subtle and nuanced as French foreign policy. But Americans like their international competitions to be international in the sense of the current "international coalition against terror" at Kandahar airbase - that's to say, overwhelmingly American but with a few token Canadians. The World Series extends to the Toronto Blue Jays, but that's it.

Yet for the last couple of weeks the World Cup has been going very oddly. I didn't notice it at first because, like 99.9999 per cent of the US population, I had no idea the World Cup was even on. But once the back-issues of The Daily Telegraph started arriving, I couldn't help noticing the cup's strange approximation of the world beyond footie. No sooner had the Saudi Ambassador to London, Ghazi Algosaibi, hailed the heroism of "martyrdom operations" than his national team heroically martyred themselves eight-nil. Either that or the entire squad are Mossad Jew infiltrators.

Even more unnerving was the success of the American team. What more damning evidence could you have of the global reach of the hyperpower than for the World Cup to go to the one country that has absolutely zero interest in soccer?

[...]

Many famous football faces from Britain have found themselves in demand on US television. 'It's a game of two halves, Larry,' Bobby Charlton said on Larry King Live. 'Is it really?' said Larry. 'Well, you'd know better than I would. And are the helmets expensive?'

(Excerpt) Read more at steynonline.com ...


TOPICS: Education; Humor; Sports; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: soccer; steyn
Steyn is Canadian, but he understands the American's feelings towards soccer.
1 posted on 06/26/2014 4:38:06 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana
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for later


2 posted on 06/26/2014 4:48:45 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: Dr. Sivana

If you think soccer is dull, try reading a review of a wicket game.....


3 posted on 06/26/2014 4:51:19 AM PDT by ArtDodger
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To: ArtDodger

Wicket? Is that different than cricket?


4 posted on 06/26/2014 5:07:45 AM PDT by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: Dr. Sivana
Few Americans seemed familiar with even the most basic technical terms. At a Hollywood victory party, a BBC reporter asked Richard Gere if he was planning to get rat-arsed, but the colour drained from his cheeks and he had to be helped to a chair.

One of Steyn's all-time great lines!

5 posted on 06/26/2014 5:22:16 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Dr. Sivana

I look for America’s interest in soccer to gradually expand over the coming years, as the generation of kids from the 1990s (remember the advent of “soccer moms”?) grow up, wussified and antagonistic to competitive, brutal American sports, like real football.


6 posted on 06/26/2014 5:24:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
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To: Dr. Sivana
Steyn is a little behind the times. The U.S. is said to have the second largest contingent of supporters at the World Cup, after the hosts. I don't know if that will change after group play, as the Latin Americans, being next door neighbors, may decide to drop in en masse if they can get tickets.

Most sports are boring if you don't know them well enough to understand what is going on. Try taking an Englishman to a baseball game sometime.

7 posted on 06/26/2014 5:31:52 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: Cincinatus
I look for America’s interest in soccer to gradually expand over the coming years, as the generation of kids from the 1990s (remember the advent of “soccer moms”?) grow up, wussified and antagonistic to competitive, brutal American sports, like real football.

Nah, I grew up in the '70s, when soccer was first mainstreamed as a school sport (I even tried it in 6th grade, the Latinos and Europeans take over immediately). Pele, the Babe Ruth of soccer, was coming to the New York Cosmos to lead them to the NASL championship! They filled Giants stadium! We are now an extra generation away, and soccer now is firmly ensconced as a sport for little kids, Latinos, and the occasional Canadian.
8 posted on 06/26/2014 5:34:22 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: sphinx
Steyn is a little behind the times.

My apologies. Today's column was largely a reprint from 2006.

I don't believe having a lot of folks going to the World Cup indicates general interest by the public at large any more than NHL teams moving from Hartford, CT to Charlotte, NC indicates that Charlotte is now a hockey town.
9 posted on 06/26/2014 5:36:55 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: Rummyfan

that’s a hoot!


10 posted on 06/26/2014 5:40:10 AM PDT by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: demshateGod

Yeah, I think so.. Maybe a wicket is an element of cricket.. See! I am too disinterested to look it up..


11 posted on 06/26/2014 6:09:06 AM PDT by ArtDodger
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To: Dr. Sivana
Hey, I'm making an honest attempt to watch and uh enjoy the games. I've seen about five or six so far not necessarily in their entirety. Because in a number of the games, I've left at certain points to perform necessary house and human functions only to return to the same scoreless tie.

Now yesterday I was watching the Argentina-Nigeria game where both teams scored in the first few minutes. I thought to myself, is this going to be one of those transcendent games where the score ends up 10-9? Alas, both teams only scored three more goals together, and the final score was 3-2. That meant once more most of the "action" consisted of players kicking the ball down the field, losing it to the other team (while the announcers got their knickers in a twist), repeated until the end of the game.

Here's the problem....at least for most Americans watching. When there's a decent chance that a player might score, the game gets exciting. Even the soccer haters probably enjoy watching a player like Messi attempt a shot. The single most exciting situation is watching a player attempt a shot on goal where the goalie has to make an excellent play to stop the ball. But the reality is there are so few decent shots on goal compared to the what seems endless kicking (and losing) of the ball. I don't see anyway to fix the problem unless drastic changes are made in the sport...like less players.

p.s. And I didn't even mention the numerous players falling down and grabbing their ankles after being touched by an opponent. Oops!

12 posted on 06/26/2014 6:23:56 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: sphinx
Steyn is a little behind the times. The U.S. is said to have the second largest contingent of supporters at the World Cup, after the hosts.

I think it would e more accurate to say that aside from Brazilians, more people traveled from the U.S. to Brazil for the World Cup. It would also be fair to say than many of those travelling from the U.S. are there primarily to support non-U.S. teams.

13 posted on 06/26/2014 6:29:12 AM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: driftless2
But the reality is there are so few decent shots on goal compared to the what seems endless kicking (and losing) of the ball.

These problems can be fixed:

1. Shrink the field of play
2. Reduce number of players
3. Speed the game up by making them play on ice in skates.
4. Make the ball into something solid, and heavy, and flat on two sides so it can slide on said ice.
5. Give the players sticks so they can get even more speed on the flattened ball.

This pretty much guarantees numerous interesting shots on goal per game.
14 posted on 06/26/2014 6:31:15 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: All

I think all of these comments about soccer being a girlie-man sport would end if the commenters were somehow induced to play one game, both the fitness level required and the level of rough body contact would quickly change your minds. That is not to say however that a certain amount of over-dramatized rolling around (it seems to increase as one gets closer to the Mediterranean for some unknown reason) gives the sport a bad name. But that is similar to the long-standing bad name of “Latin soccer” or Latin football in places like the UK. Things were like that half a century back and probably even longer, and it will only disappear with stronger sanctions (the refs can already dismiss players who over-embellish). Nothing funnier than to see a guy go down, look around and hop up quickly when there’s no call and a new chance to score, but such a person should be automatically on the way to the dressing room.

Funny tweet making the rounds: The England soccer team visited an orphanage in Brazil. “It is so sad to see the forlorn look on their little faces,” said Jose, 6.

Good luck later today, USA. Vee haff vays of letting you stay.


15 posted on 06/26/2014 6:33:52 AM PDT by Peter ODonnell (It wasn't this cold before global warming)
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To: sphinx

Even if you do know them well, they can be boring. Baseball was my best sport growing up. Now, I can barely stand to watch an inning or two. I never played hockey and still don’t know all the rules or intricacies. But I love to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.


16 posted on 06/26/2014 6:34:26 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Actually reducing the number of players from eleven to eight would ensure far more shots on goal and scores. I’m curious as to why billions of people, soccer fans, love a sport with so few chances at scoring.


17 posted on 06/26/2014 6:37:03 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Things that really appeal to me about soccer are the length of the games and lack of timeouts. About 1 hour and 52 minutes every single time, at least for the group stage. No 3 hour baseball snooze-fests or NBA games where the last 2 minutes take half an hour or NCAA games with as many as 18(!) timeouts.

Also, no “competition committees” changing the rules every year like the NFL to favor offense even more, basically turning the game into Arena Football, and aside from crazy biters like Luis Suarez, no idiot “look at me” wide receivers like TO, Keyshawn, etc, etc thumping their chests after every 20 yard completion.


18 posted on 06/26/2014 6:47:23 AM PDT by JacksonCalhoun
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To: Peter ODonnell
I don't think soccer is a girlie sport. I think it's a sport that played at elite levels involves a lot of excellent athletes and demands high levels of skill, athleticism, and stamina. I joke about the floppers but obviously at times the players get legitimately hurt. And I don't knock it because it's not an indigenous American sport. I love to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs. And I agree with many foreigners that American sports can be very tedious.

My beef, like most soccer knockers, is that it is simply too low scoring. Not enough shots on goal. But that's the way billions of soccer fans like it, and nothing I say will change that fact. Nevertheless, I doubt many American anti-soccer people care much about that aspect.

19 posted on 06/26/2014 6:54:07 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Dr. Sivana

They need pads, armor. With armor, you think you’re a bullet and you plow into everything. THAT is exciting.

Soccer has the opposite - you hold your ankle and feign agony. Who wants to be like THAT guy?


20 posted on 06/26/2014 7:14:52 AM PDT by If You Want It Fixed - Fix It
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To: Cincinatus

“I look for America’s interest in soccer to gradually expand over the coming years, as the generation of kids from the 1990s (remember the advent of “soccer moms”?) grow up, wussified and antagonistic to competitive, brutal American sports, like real football.”

The eldest of that generation of kids is now 24 years older and it hasn’t happened yet.

What I DO see is a bunch of liberal poseurs on MSNBC and CNN discussing the latest Arsenal vs. Liverpool match with borrowed terminology. I know enough about the game to see that they really don’t comprehend what they are talking about, but they need some kind of background noise when they are knocking back their Stoli-martinis, or whatever it is they are drinking now that Cigar Bars are no longer in vogue.

Another aside: If the INS ever needs to begin mass deportations all they need to do is drive around to the various soccer fields on a weekend. What I am noticing is a lot of Latino kids of all ages playing the game they came north with. And if that isn’t stopped, then maybe, Soccer/Football does become the national game.


21 posted on 06/26/2014 7:29:29 AM PDT by Tallguy
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To: Peter ODonnell

“I think all of these comments about soccer being a girlie-man sport would end if the commenters were somehow induced to play one game, both the fitness level required and the level of rough body contact would quickly change your minds.”

Soccer is a little bit like ice hockey in that regard. Fun game to play, tedious to watch (on TV). I do like going to live Hockey games and have enjoyed going to Scholastic Soccer Games. Most of the action, however, is bitching about the refs and their enforcement of arcane rules (why did he blow the last play ‘dead’ for a free kick and then let this play go? Oh? The player had “the advantage”? What’s that & how did the Ref make that judgment in less than the blink of an eye from his angle?)

Us older Americans are demanding “instant replay” be grafted into the fabric of all of our games. If we do that with our brand of soccer then it won’t be the same game that they play everywhere else.


22 posted on 06/26/2014 7:36:36 AM PDT by Tallguy
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To: driftless2
You are a member of the few who enjoyed watching the Stanley Cup. As Colin Cowheard was saying on his show yesterday, hockey is way behind soccer in popularity. As he pointed out to “Hockey Guy”, the Rangers-Kings final between the two biggest media markets in the country, had a smaller TV rating than World Cup games played in the afternoon between non-US teams. Six teams in the NHL could fold tommorrow and nobody would notice.

When I was young, the ranking in popularity of sports was Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Soccer. Now it is Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, and Hockey, with soccer set to pass baseball in the next decade or two. Baseball's problem is that its fan base is 50% over 55 years old, second to golf in that department. When your product it king of the nursing homes, you have a problem, a big problem.

The sport of soccer has nothing to worry about from the soccer haters. Reason, the soccer haters overwhelmingly have a foot in the cemetery. Soccer is content to let baseball win the nursing home demographic.

23 posted on 06/26/2014 7:44:42 AM PDT by gusty
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To: gusty

That might be because this is the World Cup, and at any one time millions of soccer-loving foreigners are in the country and watching the tube. Plus, there are the certain numbers of bemused Americans, like me, occasionally watching to see what the hubbub is all about. I hold no brief for baseball which is usually very boring as well and needs to be jacked up like soccer. Baseball purists have their own problems like describing a 1-0 snoozefest as a great game while the occasional 10-9, actually exciting game is described as an aberration. And the description of baseball as some sort of “cerebral” game is nonsense on stilts. It’s whose pitchers are better that day.


24 posted on 06/26/2014 9:03:52 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: If You Want It Fixed - Fix It

Cowards need pads. Real men play rugby.


25 posted on 06/26/2014 3:46:44 PM PDT by the scotsman (UK)
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To: Cincinatus

REAL football?. I assume you mean that 4 hr sport that is a wimps version of its father, rugby.


26 posted on 06/26/2014 3:47:51 PM PDT by the scotsman (UK)
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