The Breakdown: Let’s try this again
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
OK, so I think a few people may have misunderstood a column I wrote last week regarding soccer and the FIFA World Cup. Either that, or they simply didn’t read past halfway. (Or they simply felt like unleashing some penned-up rage on me in the form of an e-mail.)
All three are feasible, but here’s the problem with some of the backlash I got from the column: I was not writing a column bashing soccer.
Sure, there were some digs at the game in there, and I did list about a half-dozen reasons I don’t find the sport entertaining to watch, but I squarely stated at the end that I was trying to change – or at least give soccer a chance to win me over.
So far? It hasn’t really happened.
Between being deafened by the vuvuzela noisemakers in the crowd (which make it sound like the camera man is being attacked by a swarm of killer bees) and the fact six of 14 games, er, matches have ended in ties (through Tuesday’s play), it’s just been rather, well, lackluster for me.
At the same time, I fully understand the “most-exciting” part of the World Cup is when the teams head into the single-elimination playoff. So, I guess I have a few weeks to wait.
(Note: Is it just me or is it disappointing that each team gets about a week off between their first and second matches? After seeing the U.S. steal a tie from England last Saturday, I was actually pretty excited to see what they’d do against a so-called lesser squad. Then I find out the Stars and Stripes don’t hit the pitch again until Friday. Buzz kill doesn’t begin to describe it. Why can’t they play the early part of the World Cup on two separate pitches and have the pool-play round sped up?)
Until then, we’re lucky enough to have what may be my absolute favorite sporting event to watch: the U.S. Open.
And I bring this up in relation to the retaliation I’ve gotten for my soccer column.
You see, the reasons I enjoy watching golf are pretty much the same reasons most people have given me for why soccer is “great,” at least to them.
If I skip over all the name-calling, the taunting and the questioning of my intelligence (and manhood) that some readers thought necessary to e-mail me about, each of the notes basically came down to the same premise. No one really defended my points about why I don’t like it, but instead talked about the thing that makes soccer important to them, and that’s family.
Some people told me stories of growing up in England and going to the games, er, matches of their local team. Some said how they played every day in their backyard with their father and siblings. Some simply said they grew up watching and loving the sport.
And that’s something I completely relate to when I talk about golf. While most people find golf on TV about as exciting as watching Cristiano Ronaldo’s painted-on eyebrows dry, I can’t get enough of it.
I come from a big golf family. I swung a club before I could swig juice out of a sippy cup. I watch every round of every major as if missing one minute of action would ultimately lead to the world ending. Putting it simply: I love golf.
That’s simply from my childhood and the traditions of my family.
From what I gather, many soccer enthusiasts feel the same way about their sport.
And that’s one of the greatest things about being a fan of anything: Everyone’s fanhood is an important part of who they are.
Whether you like basketball, baseball, football, hockey, soccer or golf, it doesn’t matter.
And, really, it shouldn’t matter to others.
So, let’s all take a deep breath, harness in the hate, and – in honor of World Cup play – call it a draw.
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