Green: An open letter to soccer
You are in the news a lot lately. The World Cup is going on right now, and you can’t watch ESPN or go to any sports Website without being inundated with news about your sport.
Because of that, I decided to give you a chance. Hell, I’m a sports guy and this is a big deal right now, so I figured I should watch.
About 15 minutes into to the USA vs. England match I regretted my decision.
I had hopes that you would prove me wrong, Soccer, but instead you only confirmed my previous notions of what you were about: A bunch of guys kicking a ball around with nothing happening until someone randomly got it near the goal. Exciting stuff there, Soccer.
In fact, I was so bored watching you that I found myself flipping the channel back and forth from you to the movie “Deep Blue Sea.”
Yeah, that bored.
Now, you may defend yourself. You may say that there is athletic ability and grace in being able to use just your feet, head and chest to move the ball back and forth, and that point I will not argue. I respect your athletes as some of the best in all of sport, but that does not mean the sport is enjoyable to watch.
Don’t worry, Soccer, people have come to your defense. A friend of mine likened you to baseball, telling me that if I understood the intricacies of the game I’d be more apt to enjoy it. He told me there is plenty of stuff going on when goals are not being scored, I just don’t know enough about the game to understand.
Coupled with the fact that you are the world’s most popular sport – the top dog pretty much everywhere but the U.S. – and you could argue I’m in the minority in not appreciating what you have to offer. You could even say that I’m just “a typical American” in that I just don’t appreciate you because of my own ignorance.
But Soccer, tell me what there is to get excited about during a 90 minute (or more, I think) match. The occasional great pass? A nice save? A breakaway leading to a goal? How often does any of that happen?
As Sports 620 KTAR’s Paul Calvisi tweeted, “if time is the new currency, then why devote 3 hrs to a W-Cup game when a 30 sec highlight reel covers it, right?!”
As a sports fan, I like to be on the edge of my seat, excited for what is about to happen next. Soccer, as a sport, you fail to provide that atmosphere. Goal opportunities, if they happen at all, are slow developing. There may be a dozen shots-on-goal, but how many of them are legitimate scoring chances?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I need more scoring. As someone who prefers a 1-0 pitchers duel in baseball, and can really get into a hockey game of the same score, scoring isn’t exactly what keeps my attention. Big moments are, however, and you don’t offer enough of them.
And don’t get me started on the amount of ties. At the time of this letter there have been four games that ended without a winner…out of 11. Thirty-six percent of the time, so far, fans have watched 90+ minutes of Soccer only to see nobody win. As my good friend Jarrett Carlen, author of the Sports Kabob says, “I love soccer. I often say the thing I hate most about athletic competition is a TRUE WINNER.”
In closing, Soccer, I just wanted you to know that I gave you a chance – I really did. I wanted to believe the hype that is surrounding you; I wanted to get into the moment. While I am confident you will be fine without me, I can’t see a future for myself that involved you. However, I want you to know that if you ever want to be a big part of my life things will have to change.
Because, after all, it’s not me – it’s you.
Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by
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