Like I said, I'm an American.  Soccer (or futbol) has never been on my radar, and actually until I moved to China five years ago, I had never watched a complete professional game.  When I visited Hungary as a teenager, I watched some beefy farmers duke it out in a soggy farm field, and that was hardcore.  Professional football...meh.

I know by virtue of the fact that I'm American and pre-disposed to not liking football, my opinion is worthless, but the purpose of blogs are for people to display their worthless opinions to the world.  So here's my opinion: football is kinda boring to watch, really fun to play, but requires far too much patience to enjoy.

Let me break it down.  Football is a simple sport.  Run and kick the ball- that's the basic gist.  Now don't get your knickers in a twist- I didn't say it was easy.  In fact, it's incredibly hard to play well.  Hell, these dudes on TV are the cream of the crop and most of them spend 90 minutes running and sweating with nothing to show for it.  Football requires immense talent and endurance, but that doesn't mean it's fun to watch.  The action is pretty constant, but monotonous, with occasional moments of "whooOOOAAA...ohh..."  When a goal is finally scored, it's a big release of tension and aggression but these moments are too few and far between.

The field is so damn big, and the sweeping camera pans make the action seems slow and tedious.  If there was an on-field cameraman, that would be sweet.  And don't get me started on the vuvuzelas, the damn horns that the locals insist on blowing for the whole match.  South Africa, no one's slamming your culture or identity, but these jumbo kazoos are annoying.  Where are the chants, the songs, the taunts?  Oh right, drowned out by the vuvuzelas.  Yawn.

But wait, Mr. Stereotypical American Hater, what about all your boring American sports, like baseball?  I concede that baseball is boring to watch as well, but it is also multi-faceted and the strategy is much more important.  American football is sissy compared to rugby, I'll admit, but at least it's not boring (usually).  And who can hate on basketball?  That sport was invented for American's short attention spans.  NASCAR is monotonous and tedious, but the connection between Americans and cars transcends attention spans.  Perhaps that's an important reason why soccer never caught on big in the USA.  Americans aren't connected to their feet like other countries are.  Americans don't walk, they ride or drive.  Football is all about the feet, and Americans use theirs to press the gas pedal.

So that's my ramble.  Futbol is a simple game that requires too much effort for too little result.  I know I don't get it, but I don't really care.  I watch the World Cup when it rolls around, and I'll cheer for this or that team, but all in all, it's boring.  I think it's more about the hype than the actual game.  Look at the advertising- you'll see Ronaldo roundhouse kicking a bullseye goal shot while Powerade splashes in the background, but in the actual game, most goals are weak kicks or awkward head balls.  At least in American sports, you've regularly got soaring basketball dunks, monstrous baseball home runs, and American football players catapulting themselves into the end zones.  Much more visceral and aggressive, which, in my opinion, sums up the American experience pretty well :-).



06/16/2010 22:09

I am hardly a sports fan. I don't even like watching American football. But soccer? Oh. Man. People say golf is a boring sport to watch, but soccer is my golf. I can't stand it.

06/17/2010 21:15

It's not an American thing, I think it's a matter of really understanding the game. Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, Golf - all are great to watch when you are just watching great athletes doing what they can do. I can't wait for the WC every four years, and now my problem is that the matches are on while I'm at work - we wish we were still in China since late night and early morning games are easier to watch - I can go to work tired but I can't not go to work...

06/17/2010 22:38

I disagree it's about understanding it, I understand football and baseball completely (played both all my life) but it's still incredibly boring to watch. Some sports are just too slow and unrewarding for me to bother with. Ice Hockey on the other hand... (Yes I'm Canadian..)

06/18/2010 03:43

I think culture and the sports environment one was brought up in plays a huge part. I grew up on baseball and I have no problem squandering an afternoon watching a game but two hours of soccer is cruel and unusual, but someone from Panama or Peru would have the same feelings about baseball. I give all sports a chance, and I understand almost all of them to know what's going on, but enjoying them is a lot harder, and it's not just the complexity/simplicity of the game. For me personally, I like high point totals and fast ball movement, like in football and basketball. Other people have different preferences, and that's cool. BTW, ice hockey would also be unbearable if it weren't for body checks. Forget about scoring, I just like seeing dudes get blindsided :-P.

06/19/2010 05:17

I hope you were able to watch the entire match against Slovenia. It took me quite a while to finally 'get soccer', but once I did, I really began to love it.

Also, off topic, I ran across a Xiamen related story. This is a great website that you should check out, if you don't already know about it.


06/19/2010 05:58

Nah I didn't get a chance to see it, I found out about it today. I would have been jumping up and down like Yosemite Sam if I had seen it live. At least it was the USA and not, say, Brazil. I think there would have been mass riots and anarchy if that had happened to another country.

06/21/2010 14:13

But there is one fact with which you can't argue - football has the biggest number of fans in the world among all sports...

06/21/2010 22:16

@ Crystal- yes that's true. I think it's probably because football is the easiest sport to start playing- all you need is a ball. With baseball, golf, swimming, etc, you need a lot of equipment, but football is available for everyone.

06/22/2010 02:23

I'm totally crazy about football (or soccer as Americans say). We, Slovenia, just played an epic game against USA and judging from comments around the web, many Americans were quite passionate about that game. I guess the perceptions are changing. Once USA starts to win big tournaments, soccer will be popular in your country :)

06/22/2010 07:53

@Kafka- haha well Americans are passionate about that game because most people think the US got robbed. Americans are extremely competitive regardless of the sport and even more so when we feel we've lost unfairly. It's only because of the worldwide recognition that Americans are so angry...if the same thing had happened in bowling or darts, people wouldn't care nearly as much. And you're right: if America did start to win, soccer would catch on a lot more quickly. As things stand now, we're not the best, so we don't bother :-P


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