Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Conservatives hate soccer

Today the US national team takes on Belgium. But a couple news stories have caught my eye. Not because they were interesting, but because of just how loony they were.

On Fox's "Outnumbered", Keith Ablow had this to say...
Why, at a time when there are so many national and international issues of such prominence, I'm a little suspicious of yet another bread-and-circus routine,
Why now? Because the last World Cup was held in the Summer of 2010, and the event (like the
Olympics) takes place every four years.
Let's roll out the marijuana, pull back the laws, and get people even more crazy about yet another entertainment event.
Wait... What?! Seriously, does that statement make sense to anyone?
This is a way to distract people, I can see why Obama would love the World Cup.
Distract from what? The list of things that Fox News endlessly harps on day in and day out? Yes, this is all a ploy to distract people from the big mean man in the White House. Obviously this was all planned back in 1930, when the first World Cup was held. Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011, costing taxpayers over $500 million. September 2012 saw the Benghazi attack. And June 2013 brought us the IRS scandal and Edward Snowden. But no need to fear! News from 2011, 2012, and 2013 is no match for an international soccer tournament in 2014...

But as nutty as Ablow's statements were, they don't hold a candle to the crazy that is Ann Coulter. She actually wrote a piece likening soccer to the 'decay of America'. Yeah, I'm not joking... She actually said that.
I've held off on writing about soccer for a decade -- or about the length of the average soccer game -- so as not to offend anyone. But enough is enough. Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay.
Since when is Coulter worried about offending anyone? I that that was what she strives to do 24/7...  Oh, and I find it odd that she's complaining about the length of soccer games being too long. The average game lasts about 1hr and 45min (give or take). Meanwhile, the average baseball game (national pastime) takes nearly 3hrs, and the average NFL game lasts over 3hrs. Facts are slippery little things aren't they Ann?
(1) Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls -- all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out, they're standing alone at the plate. But there's also individual glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam-dunks. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child's fragile self-esteem is bruised.
Um... All the sports she just referenced (including soccer) are team sports. But yes, individual achievement also exists in soccer. Just look at the player who scores a blinder of a goal, or the striker that scores a hat-trick. That's personal achievement.  What about a keeper who keeps a clean sheet and makes some amazing game deciding saves? That's achievement. Even things like a player nutmegging a defender or perfectly placing a long pass are signaled as individual acts of note.

The same is true for failure. The striker can miss a penalty or absolute sitter of a goal chance. That's individual failure. Same thing if the keeper misses a routine save or a player gives the ball away too easily (especially if that mistake results in a goal). Even something as simple as a slip can be
devastating. A slip that led to a goal may have started the fall that cost Liverpool the BPL championship last year.

And there definitely is accountability. Don't play well enough and you'll be subbed off. In fact, you may end up warming the bench for the next game (if you even make it at all). Also, players are held accountable by the official as well. Mess up bad enough and you are thrown out of the game and your team has to play a man down. In the NFL you can commit all the fouls you want and stay in the game.

Soccer is a team sport, but individuals absolutely do stand out in both good ways and bad.
In soccer, the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway.
This tells me two things. Ann clearly doesn't understand the game, and also hasn't been watching very much soccer. True, there are 0-0 games, but there were also 6-1 demolishings in the BPL last year. 
There's a reason perpetually alarmed women are called "soccer moms," not "football moms.
The stereotypical generalization aside, there is a very good reason they're often called 'soccer moms'... Because they are taking their kids to soccer practice! Remember, soccer is a game where there are men's and women's teams. These mothers are taking both their sons and daughters to soccer, softball and baseball practice. Meanwhile, if a son is in football, dad is usually the one more 'in to that' and may be the active parent there. So soccer simply has the numbers in it's favor when it comes to teams and kids of both sexes.
Do they even have MVPs in soccer?
 Ann, there's this brand new website called google.com. You should try it out the next time you have one of these 'difficult' questions. Yes, soccer does award MVP awards. After each game, the title of man of the match is awarded. Also, the golden boot is awarded to the player who scores the most goals in a season, and the golden glove is awarded to the keeper with the most clean sheets.
Everyone just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in. That's when we're supposed to go wild. I'm already asleep.
This just goes to show that she has  no appreciation for how beautiful and technical of a game soccer can be. Two 45 minute halves, no time outs, no commercials, strategy, your team can go from offense to defense at a moment's notice. There's pretty much always something going on, and a great play could occur at any moment. Meanwhile we have the great NFL and baseball... Two sports that can be rather boring. When it comes to the NFL, the actual play of a game can be condensed to something like 11 minutes. The majority is just huddling, waiting to snap the ball, and commercial break after commercial break. Then we have baseball... This game is supposed to be the national pastime, but I consider it no more that an amazing sleep aid. Can't sleep? Switch on the baseball game, and be asleep in no more than three innings.

Oh, and those goals... They're no accident. And despite what Ann thinks, can be very exciting. Just look at Rooney's overhead kick against Manchester City a couple years ago, and RVP's amazing flying header at this years World Cup.
(2) Liberal moms like soccer because it's a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.
Well, that sounds oddly sexist and misogynistic.  And it's no surprise the Coulter is wrong. Co-ed football, baseball, and basketball also exist. And you can't really compare little-league to the pros. In soccer, the top leagues are separated by sex. It is also absurd to suggest that soccer doesn't require athleticism. It requires amazing stamina and a devotion to fitness. True, they may not wear huge pads that make them look tough, but a lot of soccer players are quite built.
(3) No other "sport" ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer. This was an actual marquee sign by the freeway in Long Beach, California, about a World Cup game last week: "2nd period, 11 minutes left, score: 0:0." Two hours later, another World Cup game was on the same screen: "1st period, 8 minutes left, score: 0:0." If Michael Jackson had treated his chronic insomnia with a tape of Argentina vs. Brazil instead of Propofol, he'd still be alive, although bored.
Should I tell her that Argentina hasn't played Brazil at this World Cup yet? And so what if the game ends in a draw (even a scoreless one)? If the teams are evenly matched, they are evenly matched. A draw is an accurate representation of the game played. Also, there is a difference between group games and cup games. When in the league or group stages, points are what matter. Three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. Team with the most points out of all their games wins the league or group. But in the knock-out stages, games can't end in a tie. The tie will either be broken in overtime, or it will be decided by penalties.
Even in football, by which I mean football, there are very few scoreless ties -- and it's a lot harder to score when a half-dozen 300-pound bruisers are trying to crush you.
Ah, but in (gridiron) football, games can (and have) end in a tie. And I disagree that scoring is harder in NFL football. Sure, you have big guys to deal with, but so what. In soccer you can only use your feet, you can only score one way, and the goal is small and guarded by the only guy that can use his hands.

In the NFL, there are multiple ways to score, you can run the ball, pass the ball, you use your hands, and the end-zone is a big expansive field by comparison. Just reducing the end-zone from 160 feet wide to 24 feet wide would result in a dramatic reduction in the number of touchdowns scored.
(4) The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare. As Lady Thatcher reportedly said after Germany had beaten England in some major soccer game: Don't worry. After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game.

Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game -- and it's not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.
Ribbon and a juice box? How condescending can one person be?  Maybe that's true of little league soccer, but that's true of all little league sports. As I've already stated, soccer players are just as much at threat of 'personal disgrace' as anyone in any other sport. Also, soccer can be dangerous too. Concussions are all the rage in the NFL, but the threat is there in soccer as well. The most common injuries in soccer are muscle injuries. Something that ends an NFL player's season on a regular basis. But here's something to consider, while the NFL season is but 16 week long, the season is 8 months long for British soccer teams. That means superior fitness and stamina is needed, but there are also many more chances to pick up an injury.

And if fights and ambulances impress Ann, I'd say that makes her sound a bit like a Neanderthal. But she will be happy to know that players have been taken off on the back board before and left bloodied. Come to think of it, she probably looks on Suarez biting other players as a good thing...
(5) You can't use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things. Here's a great idea: Let's create a game where you're not allowed to use them!
It's called a challenge! Is that so hard to understand? We also have genitalia, should we make a sport where we use those as well? After all, we have them, so it would just be stupid if we didn't use them... This also poses a more serious question though. If Ann has a brain, why does it seem so often that she forgets to use it?
(6) I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's "Girls," light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is "catching on" is exceeded only by the ones pretending women's basketball is fascinating.
Force fed? How? I love the game, I do wish it would catch on more than it already has. There's a reason it's the most popular sport in the world after all.

HBO's "Girls": Never heard of it.
Light-rail: The trains? I've only ever ridden the Metro once, but who's pushing that? Metro and MARC have been around forever.
Beyonce: Don't care for her.
Hillary Clinton: Certainly wouldn't be my top choice for president.
Women's basketball: Never watched it. Don't plan to, and just have absolutely no interest in basketball.
New York Times claiming soccer is catching on: Well, it is. There's a reason MLS is adding additional teams to the league, and that each World Cup, team USA has more supporters.
I note that we don't have to be endlessly told how exciting football is.
Then what is the NFL network, NFL films, and all the commercials advertising games, etc? The NFL also doesn't pay taxes, which a a big help for them. Plus the NFL is established. We are just now getting caught of with the rest of the world in appreciation of soccer. Though, I might need a reminder about how exciting football is, because I don't much care for it.
(7) It's foreign. In fact, that's the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not "catching on" at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.
I really couldn't care less if the French like football or not. I like the game for what it is, not where it comes from... Which is a complicated statement since soccer is literally found all over the globe. Ann's refusal to give soccer a chance just because it's not 'Merican is comical though. NFL football was based on mob football that came from abroad. So at what point is something 100% American? The AC power we have in our homes was pioneered by the Serbian genius, Tesla. So should we shun AC electricity?  We could make a list a mile long, but I think I've already shown enough to show just how silly the 'it's not from here' argument is.
(8) Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it's European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren't committing mass murder by guillotine.
People don't like Metric because it's European. People like it because it makes 10,000 times more sense than our imperial units of measure. In fact, Metric makes so much more sense, we are one of only three nations that don't use Metric. Our fellow holdouts? Myanmar and  Liberia...
Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to use centimeters and Celsius, ask any American for the temperature, and he'll say something like "70 degrees." Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he'll say it's about 200 miles.
Brainwashing? We barely touched on Metric in school (though it is more prevalent in more advanced fields like engineering and science).  Why do people still measure the temperature in Fahrenheit, and list distances in imperial units? It's not because it's better, it just because that's what we know.

Liberals get angry and tell us that the metric system is more "rational" than the measurements everyone understands. This is ridiculous. An inch is the width of a man's thumb, a foot the length of his foot, a yard the length of his belt. That's easy to visualize. How do you visualize 147.2 centimeters?
The fact that she doesn't realize that her defense on the rationality of the imperial system actually shows how illogical it is simply boggles the mind... Ann, not every person's foot, thumb, or belt are the same size. At it's widest, my thumb is 0.875". My foot is 11". The point is that it's a silly basis for a system of measure. A system that gets more and more complicated and nonsensical the more you look into it. It may be hard to visualize 147.2 cm, but only if you don't know Metric. A Metric user may have trouble visualizing 58.5 in.  I barely learned any Metric, but I have no trouble visualizing a Meter. So even I can easily visualize about what size 147.2 cm would be. It's not hard at all if you actually care to give a damn and try...
(9) Soccer is not "catching on." Headlines this week proclaimed "Record U.S. ratings for World Cup," and we had to hear -- again -- about the "growing popularity of soccer in the United States."
Ann, simply stating this over and over isn't going to change the facts. But I've seen your work, and you'll keep trying it anyway.
The USA-Portugal game was the blockbuster match, garnering 18.2 million viewers on ESPN. This beat the second-most watched soccer game ever: The 1999 Women's World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. (In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's.)

Run-of-the-mill, regular-season Sunday Night Football games average more than 20 million viewers; NFL playoff games get 30 to 40 million viewers; and this year's Super Bowl had 111.5 million viewers.
Maybe that was the big game here in the US, but that wasn't the blockbuster game so far.  But by her own admission, the run of the mill USA game got just about the same ratings of a run of the mill NFL game. So... How is getting pretty much the same ratings in the US as an NFL game proof it's not popular? Unless she's saying that regular season NFL games aren't popular...

43 million people tuned in for the first game between Brazil and Croatia. 27 million watched Italy v England. 26.4 million watched Germany v Portugal. 34.1 million watched Japan v Ivory Coast. And these were all just first round games! So first round games are killing NFL regular season viewing figures and are on par with playoff games. The Super Bowl netting 111.5 million is cute when you consider that this years Champion's League final netted 380 million, the Liverpool v Manchester United game is 2011 saw 500 million viewers, and the World Cup final last time out pulled in 715.1 million viewers.
Remember when the media tried to foist British soccer star David Beckham and his permanently camera-ready wife on us a few years ago? Their arrival in America was heralded with 24-7 news coverage. That lasted about two days. Ratings tanked. No one cared.
The press flaunts all kinds of pointless stuff. I think you will find that NFL players make the news plenty often as well. Was Beckham a flop? Not at all. Uninformed fans expected him to be something
he never was. He did help LA to a few MLS titles though.
If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time. 
Clueless, simply clueless... People of all backgrounds in the US like soccer.  My great-grandfather(s) were born in the US, and soccer is the only sport that I really care for. So that shoots that argument. Also, first she says soccer isn't growing, and then that it might be... Make up your mind! And why the hate towards new Americans that like soccer? Doing so doesn't make you un-American. It just means that you like soccer. And guess what, people can like more than one sport. Shocking news, isn't it?

I don't know why Coulter hates soccer, but I do know that she knows very little about it. That much is clear. Maybe it's her usual game of "I don't like it, so no one else can like it. You better think exactly like me." Or maybe it's her irrational fear of anything that people in the world like but isn't prevalent or as big in America...

-Brain Hulk

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