Thursday, June 19

Euro 2008, a Great Spectacle of Sport

An unfortunate consequence of not being in grad school any more is that I can't just cut out of work to watch Euro2008. But I was off last Friday, and watched Italy-Romania. I can't stand Italy. Verily, they are the Syracuse of international Soccer. Whenever Italy wins, my day is noticeably worse.

Anyway, I'm amazed that the American sports "Fan" thinks Soccer is inherently any more boring than football. True, there can be a ton of midfield play, and goal kicks rarely keep my interest, but it's not any more uninteresting than watching two NFL teams trade 3-and-outs. Moreover, the average world class Soccer game (i.e. World Cup, Premiership, Euro Championships) ends in with a final score of 3-1 or 3-2. In Football terms, this is equivalent to a 21-7 or 21-14 final. Not many people would eschew a score like that. Hell, people are happy with 3-2 Baseball games.

The case could be made that international Soccer players are the best true Athletes on the planet. Football and Basketball players are freaks of nature. Maybe Hockey players are more athletic, but it's hard to tell because they are on ice. Soccer players, though, have incredible balance, and the fact that they can both possess the ball while fighting off a defender. And, like true men, cover quite a bit of distance. If ESPN coverage is to be believed, these guys run 5+ miles in each game. Each game!

Plus, there are NO COMMERCIALS during the game. No TV timeouts. No breaks in the action. Total nonstop action.

It's a great sport, and unfortunate that the average American sports fan is so xenophobic that he discounts soccer out of hand.

8 comments [add yours!]:

spanky said...

I don't think it's the 3-2 games that particularly annoy and bore people. It's the regular prospect of 0-0 ties that annoys and bores people.

Crispin said...

periodic pace of a war, where short skirmishes decide how far downfield an army gets. It's easy to concentrate, talk, then concentrate, then talk. Soccer is like watching a marathon where no one knows the path they're running. Sure it takes skill and endurance, but it's just ho-hum to watch.

Crispin said...

Er, the beginning of that should say: Football also has the..

Anonymous said...

The great joy of international soccer is watching some of the greatest athletes in the world prancing around a field -- and at the slightest physical provocation, hitting the ground as though assaulted by the full kinetic force of a wrecking ball. These "true men"'s drama puts to shame anything displayed by a xenophobic American's eight year-old daughter at a Saturday morning game.

spanky said...

Seriously dude, is there a reason I shouldn't just report you to Homeland Security for this treasonous nonsense?

Ezra said...

Even though the comments were by the likes of spanky, crispin, and anonymous, you will hereafter be referred to as Balki Bartokomous. Please, stop being ridiculous.

Seriously, though, why are people so hung up on ties. It happens every so often, get over it. Moreover, not all ties are considered equal, just as wins and losses aren't equal. I refer you to the 2008 Mariners (alas) or any Baltimore Ravens game. They are boring and annoying, despite the fact that there is a victor. If a football game ends 10-7, was there truly a winner, in the spirit of victory? No. One team just happened to be less suckastic than the other.

Apparently the anonymous commenter has never played actual sports before. If I had to guess, I bet he's a tennis dork who wears sweaters tied around his neck (trying and failing to emulate Zack Morris). Only 47 days until Beijing.

There are some theatrics in soccer, I'll admit, but most of what appears to be drama is an actual foul. Anyone who has played an ostensibly non-contact sport (i.e. soccer, basketball, etc) understands that when you are flying through the court/field, it doesn't take much to knock you off balance (cf. James, LeBron).

And while you are all hung up on the imagined faults of soccer, you're missing out on some wonderful Sport. Turkey advances to the knock-out round by scoring 2 goals in the last 5 minutes. In the next round, Turkey and Croatia go to extra time, with Croatia scoring with 1 minute remaining and Turkey tying it up in stoppage time? Germany picking apart Portugal 3-1.

No, sir, it just doesn't get much better. Now, if only Italy will lose tomorrow!

Crispin said...

You type so much, but it's a house of cards brought down by one link.

Ezra said...

Touche, crispin. Touche.