The Breakdown: World’s game? |

The Breakdown: World’s game?

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans

Really, there aren’t many things in sports that I don’t enjoy. You name it – whether it’s tennis, table tennis, basketball, baseball, billiards, volleyball or swimming, I’ll watch.

Basically, if it’s a sport and on TV, I’m there.

That is, with one lone exception.

And I’ve put effort into it in the past. I’ve watched games, er, “matches” that were pegged as being sure-fire thrillers. I watched hours of the sport’s biggest event in 2006. I’ve read the stories online, seen the highlights, but for one reason or another, I’ve felt very little for it.

I simply can’t get into soccer.

For the sake of putting it all out there (and for people to have ammunition to write me scathing e-mails), these are a handful of the aspects of soccer that bother me: Time of play is way too long; scoring is almost nonexistent; actual action is almost nonexistent; there’s no contact; when there is contact, players flop on the ground and hold onto their “hurt” limbs as if it were about to fall off; games are called matches; the field is called a pitch; a goal scorer runs away from his teammates (rather than to them) in order to channel his inner Martin Gramatica in a ridiculous, over-the-top celebration (normally consisting of taking off his shirt).

Most of all, true soccer fans constantly rub me the wrong way. If you aren’t a fan of soccer and you watch a game, er, match with a soccer fan – at least in my experience – all they do the entire game, er, match is tell why each play was so exciting and why it makes soccer so great. A simple toe-tap of the ball to another player becomes hyperbole of how soccer players are the most creative and skilled athletes in the world.

I can relate a tiny bit with this, as hockey has always been my favorite sport.

At the same time, though, soccer fans seem to hold a grudge against anyone who doesn’t like what they annoyingly refer to as the “world’s game.”

Let’s put it this way, if hockey fans, like me, have a chip on our shoulders, it’s about the same size as a puck. Soccer fans? Their chip makes Charles Barkley’s head look small.

It’s nothing against those type of people; it’s just the way it seems to be.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up isn’t to rag on soccer or soccer fans. (Although, I guess I’m doing a good job of that.)

No, my point was just to let you know the problems I’ve had with the sport in the past. This way you can fully understand where I’m coming from when I say that for the next month – as the 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place in South Africa – I’m going to be making a conscious effort to understand why people like soccer.

Really, I’m giving the sport a chance to win me over.

You see, I’ve written countless times, giving constant examples of why people should watch (and love) hockey. I point to certain games, matchups or tourneys as a great time to see the sport played at its best.

The way I see it, nothing in soccer – or maybe any other sport – truly compares to the World Cup in terms of the importance of the event to the game. The World Cup is the Olympics, Stanley Cup finals and World Championships combined.

So, what better time to try to get into it, right?

Who knows, maybe I’ll eat my words. Maybe, I’ll come away from the next month of foot(hits)ball with a knew appreciation for the game. Maybe, the “world’s game” can become my game.

I’d doubt it, but at the very least, maybe it won’t be the only sport I’ll skip over on TV.

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