Monday, June 12, 2006

The beautiful game was ugly today

The USA was completely dominated by the Czech Republic, 3-0. I am not sure if they are that good or we just played that badly. They do seem very good.

We have to beat Italy on Saturday to have much of a chance of getting through.

I want to take this opportunity to comment on American attitudes toward soccer. One common view is that soccer is wimpy. This is a view held mostly by those who have never played or watched a game. Once kids get past 8 or so, soccer moms who think their little darlings can't get hurt on the pitch are in for a rude wakening. Soccer is not more physical than american football. It is way more physical than basketball.

Another complaint is the low scoring nature of the game. This bespeaks a certain lack of patience. Much of the beauty in soccer, as in romance, is in the anticipation.

A more sophisticated critique is that its a socialist game, since individual effort is subordinate to team effort in a way that it is not, in say, baseball and basketball. But you can make the same "criticism" (if that's what it is) of american football. Besides, a communitarian game should appeal to crunchy cons.

I think the real reason Americans are down on soccer is that it wasn't invented here. I don't regard that as a negative, but, alas, it seems to be true of baseball as well.

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