Kevin, I've been waiting for the inevitable "why soccer will never make it in the United States" commentary since yesterday's USA loss in the World Cup.
And while your interesting post is several cuts above the usual brainless soccer-bashing in this country, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what it usually comes down to for Americans: "I don't like soccer and you can't make me."
Which is why, as a Southern-born fan of the sport for 35 years, I no longer even try to convince people otherwise. People just have the right to be wrong. And, as you say, that's OK.
But I couldn't let some of your arguments pass without comment:
I wouldn't think that the fact that you don't have to be 7 feet tall or weigh 250 pounds (see basketball and football) to excel in a sport would be a reason to dislike it. (See baseball for the American example of this.)
People who look at soccer and don't see complexity, miss it because they don't know what they're looking at. And that's not meant as an insult -- nobody's born knowing how to watch an NFL or an NBA game either. Sports fans learn that from someone or they pick it up on their own. Americans just haven't had --or haven't taken advantage of -- any opportunities to do that.
I think much of Americans' resistance to soccer is cultural -- which is what I hate the most about our loss yesterday. "We're the most powerful and richest nation in the world and we lost to -- Ghana? Where's that?"
I suspect that, despite what you say, Americans might embrace soccer and the World Cup more fully if we were threats to win the title every four years. Americans love winners in pretty much anything -- round of 16 losers not so much.
And then there are the other usual arguments -- the game's played by all those foreigners, there isn't any scoring. (That objection is amusing to me when you think about all those NBA teams that struggle to break 80 points in 48 minutes of basketball with a 24-second clock. Where are the indignant columns about THAT?)
Your contention that soccer fans disparage baseball to defend their sport is puzzling. I've never heard any soccer fan do that. But there are plenty of examples from other sports of plays which probably won't result in a score -- a football running play up the middle from a team's own 1-yard line, a 75-foot shot in basketball. And I don't hear anybody using these examples to say football and basketball are lousy games.
Finally, I was interested in your references to hockey in your post because of my own personal experience. I'm a hockey fan myself, despite the fact that I grew up in South Carolina during a time when you couldn't even get NHL scores in the paper or on the local sports news. Later in life, I found myself having to cover the sport for a newspaper -- I had to write a story about the first game I ever saw in person. So I learned about it by watching it on TV and reading about it. I learned the lingo, as you say, and how to make sense of what I was seeing.
As I said earlier, I'm no longer trying to convert anyone, but I am a little tired of the "I'm ignorant about soccer and I'm proud of it" mentality.
On a totally different note, I'm familiar with your station from having watched it while living at North Myrtle Beach a long, long time ago. Whatever became of a guy named Gene Motley, who I used to enjoy watching on the sports news there?
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