Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Maybe it's a good thing soccer isn't big here

I didn't watch the US-Algeria game today because my dislike of soccer is Klostermanesque. But I realize if I was not American the World Cup would be a really big deal to me. Because of its global ubiquity soccer (er, football ... whatever) is the official sport of patriotism. That the sport becomes a conduit for national pride is still kind of crazy to me, but it must be nice from a rooting perspective. It'd be pretty cool to have one's country totally shut down for a few hours because of sports.

We don't really have the equivalent in the US, which is kind of sad and is what makes the World Cup remotely appealing to me (until I remember it requires watching soccer). Americans are too emotionally invested in their own, well-established and totally globalized professional sports leagues to really care about international tournaments. People sort of care about the basketball team doing well in the Olympics, but more out of the sense of mild embarrassment that comes with losing. I personally really enjoy the World Baseball Classic, but most baseball fans I know just see it as a stupid interruption of Spring Training. Americans are also more interested in and much better at sports that the rest of the world either sucks at or doesn't really play, like the hitting people kind of football.

But considering the kind of obnoxious sports fans we Americans are, it's probably a good thing that soccer's popularity here is somewhere between poker and Frisbee golf. If the vile smugness of the average Yankees or Cowboys fan, the volcanic behavior of Philly fans, and the terrifying obsessiveness of Red Sox or Steelers fans were transferred onto a national soccer team could host nations even stomach to let us into their venues come World Cup time? At least as things stand we only subject our fellow Americans to the contemptible nature of our fandom. If we projected it on the world, somebody would have nuked us by now.

No comments:

Post a Comment