Thursday, May 24, 2007

Allow Me to Rant For a Moment

All I wanted to see was some soccer. Is that too much to ask?

Explanation: So, the listings said "UEFA Champions League Final" and instead the Trenton Thunder game was on television last night because Roger Clemens was pitching. The Trenton Thunder! Nobody cared about anyone else playing in that game except Clemens. In fact, ESPN was bouncing back to the Baseball Tonight crew whenever the Portland Sea Dogs took the field, because all THEY cared about was Clemens. So, instead of seeing an exciting uninterupted soccer game with a global audience of over a billion people, I was forced to watch sporadic footage of a meaningless minor league game where an overpaid 44 year old man occasionally threw pitches to kids half his age. And when I didn't get to see that, I was stuck with Peter Gammons, who may be the only person on ESPN older than Clemens!

It's bad enough I live in this Americacentric universe where we actually believe baseball is an exciting sport, and ignore soccer, even though the rest of the freakin' planet believes otherwise. Then again, the rest of the world didn't know anything about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, so why should we believe them now? We'll just go on happily eating our "Freedom Fries" and pretending that "America's game" should be the world's game, and that it should be a huge Olympic event in which we can dominate (like basketball) even though the last Summer Olympic host country had barely even heard of baseball before their Olympics. What do billions of soccer fans know, anyway? They can't even touch the ball with their hands, so the game must be stupid, right? Give me a "sport" where 90% of the action is standing around, adjusting athletic cups, and spitting. That's what I'm talking about!

So, fine, I'm stuck in America and this is how we're going to do it. I can accept that, but on top of that, I'm stuck in the New York metropolitan media vortex, so I'm forced to care about every little thing pertaining to the city, including its precious jewel, the Yankees, and their precious "prospect" in Mr. Clemens. Our country is bigger than one city, people! The sports world has more to offer than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and Rangers. And don't even get me started on the Jets and Giants. They don't even freakin' play in New York even though you'd never know that by talking to a New Yorker. Noooo, poor New Jersey is like the ugly stepsister who's always around, but nobody ever acknowledges. And yet, here we are again, right in our state capital, again playing the doormat to the throngs of New York media. It's just sick. The whole thing sickens me. We have to get over ourselves and look at the big picture. We have to take our blinders off and see that the world is more than just us. It's more than just the 100 miles surrounding our house. We're the minority now. We're so entrenched in our culture, we don't see the big picture. The world is passing us by, and still we sit proudly and believe that it revolves around us. We must get out of this rut! We have to stop buying into the garbage that the American media is shoveling into our homes night after night!

So anyway, I didn't want to watch baseball, so I flipped over to American Idol and watched that instead. Can you believe Jordin Sparks won? I'm glad. I was really rooting for her.


Jeremy said...

Just to clarify, I did not actually watch American Idol last night. I knew it was on and checked the results this morning. I don't want to ruin my rep or anything... I was watching Clueless on HBO. Fitting, huh?

Sam said...

Nice rant. I think my only problem with it is that I find soccer to be just as boring as baseball. Americans make baseball entertaining by drinking their asses off and eating hotdogs during the game. Europeans make soccer bearable by drinking their asses off and beating the crap out of each other during the game. Two different approaches to the same basic problem...

Jeremy said...

Let's not forget the Brazilians, who make soccer bearable by drinking their asses off and shaking their scantily clad bodies during the game. Or the Indian people, who make cricket matches more bearable by laughing their asses off as they listen to them from their recently outsourced American jobs.

Jim said...

I never understood why soccer isn't bigger here. I get that in it's most derivative form (Sat morning youth leagues) it's pretty damn ugly to watch, but you'd think from all those kids playing there would emerge a spark of interest in the game at the professional level. Watch the Champions League, watch Barclay's, watch the World THAT's soccer. Open your eyes and see the game as it should be played. Except for those Italians and their damn flopping. Drives me nuts.

Jeremy said...

Owww! My ankle! I can't walk! I can't stand the pain! Just leave me here to die!

What? Red card? Wait! I'm feeling much better all of a sudden... I think I'll take that penalty kick after all.

sam said...

I suspect soccer isn't big here for much the same reason Jeremy spouted off in the first place: despite our multi-cultural past and our current reliance on immigration and foreign goods, America has a huge bias against things that didn't originate here. So we're egocentric, predominantly overweight, and half the country wants evolution taken off the curriculum.

If it weren't for the weather I'd be boning up on a Canadian accent right now, eh?

P. L. said...

is it not just as "egocentric" to be a soccer fan(if you were born in europe or south america) as it is to be a baseball fan if you were born in america?

perhaps more europeans should take off their cultural blinders and try watching a baseball game. narrow minded buggers.

Jeremy said...

Hey Sam, you think the Canadians are better with hockey than we are with baseball? Isn't that like the poot calling the kettle black?

(And yes, I meant to type "poot." It was a jooke, eh?)

sam said...

I think both countries latched on to their sports in similar ways. The difference is how they react to others. The stereotypical American will talk up the "purity" of baseball and slam the "wussiness" of soccer, probably with a side comment about how "real football" is played.

The Canadian will play up the "speed" and "perseverance" of hockey, but then they'll go on to say, "but that baseball, that's one heck of a sport too, eh?"

sam said...

Take all of this with a grain of salt though. It's hard to take a country seriously when their economy is based on the "loonie".

Maybe egocentric and clueless aren't so bad after all?

Jeremy said...

Hey, egocentric and clueless have taken Paris Hilton pretty far. Well, except for that whole "going to jail" part. OK, bad example.

Those pesky Canadians are just too nice. You just watch out - when they invade us, all that friendliness won't seem so great anymore.

sam said...

We'll have some warning before a Canadian invasion. World conquest is kind of like dating.

With dating, you build up your confidence by chatting up drunk women at the bar, then you move up to hitting on the woman you're really interested in.

With world conquest, first you invade France, then you move on to the country that you really care about. Until they've captured Paris, the worst they can do is lobby for expanded coverage of Olympic curling...

Jeremy said...

I've just learned that yesterday the New York Yankees donated one million dollars to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund and wore Virginia Tech emblems on their hats at the game last night against the Red Sox. I hereby retract everything I said about them. Go Yankees!!! Go baseball!!!

My first allegiance is to the Hokies. What can I say? :)

P. L. said...

As a child, who grew up in the remotest parts of the former Northwest Territory, soccer was simply not offered as one of our team sport options. I suppose that may be why so many older Americans just do not have an affinity for the game.

I must say, even if I had the opportunity to play as a child, the game just did not have a strong appeal to a formerly obese ashmatic.

Today, you would be hard pressed to drive through most any small midwestern town and not find a field full of kids playing soccer.
I think this bodes well for the game's future popularity in our country.

Soccer at its best, the Worlds Cup, is a terrific event to watch and has helped me gain a high level of respect for the athletes that participate in it.

Anyhoo, pardon the interruption on your blog. Most entertaining.


Jeremy said...

I would agree with P.L. that soccer is gaining strength in America for a multitude of reasons.

1) The continued existence of Major League Soccer over the last 10 years says something. Soccer leagues have not had a strong history in this country.

2) Soccer was available to me when I was a kid back in the 80s, along with baseball and basketball, and I think my generation of soccer players has grown up with an appreciation for the game the game. Not an obsession, mind you, but at least an appreciation.

3) The demographic of people from soccer-loving countries in America is growing, and with them comes a larger fan base.

4) The media World Cup and Olympic soccer are much bigger deals than they used to be. Television coverage is getting better. Just the fact that the UEFA Champions League games were on American television is a good sign.

5) The dominance of American women's soccer is/was huge. Americans like nothing more than being the best in the world at something.

Sure, soccer still can't rival the bigger sports in this country, but its growth over the past few decades certainly can be denied.