To Meet Enemies Undaunted

Today, as you may have heard, is the last game of the World Cup. Germany will take on Argentina, and the nations have met thrice before in the final. I’ll be cheering for Germany, land of my birth (on a US military base, that is).

A couple of weeks ago pundit Ann Coulter remarked that no one whose great-grandfather was born in America is watching soccer. Time for a poll to guage interest in the world’s so-called “beautiful game” among devotees of American style. — CC

23 Comments on "To Meet Enemies Undaunted"

  1. Roger Crowell | July 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

    Unlike (American) football, soccer is about brains, not brawn.

  2. Unlike American football, soccer is the equivalent of 1950s TV professional wrestling.

    http://9gag.tv/p/a5bpML/exaggerated-soccer-fouls-look-ridiculous-in-real-life-everyday-football-fouls

  3. I’ve always favoured tiddlywinks myself. A game that truly stirs the blood.

  4. gantshirt | July 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm |

    Soccer is about accidents called goals, while football is about plans called touchdowns. Watching soccer is like watching a football game in which one quarterback is 0 for 19 and the other 1 for 26 for a scintillating 1-“nil” victory. Yes, soccer fans, it really does take a lot of brains and ingenuity to delude yourself into thinking you’ve just seen something other than a random chaos event.

  5. I am English, a lover of nearly all things US and, of course, a football (us) soccer (you) fan and avid follower. Unless I am mistaken, the stirring endeavours of the USMST as well the following the game has in countries with large diaspora in the US (Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia to name but three) have enabled the beautiful game to reach critical mass in the US. This is wonderful to see – the only truly global game needs the US on board and the thousands in the fan parks for the USMST games have been a great sight.

    Enjoy & vamos Messi & Argentina tonight T

  6. I think ‘American’ football is brilliant, but it would be even better if you were allowed to tackle chaps who don’t have the ball yet. In case they do later. Just a thought, to improve your already excellent national game that no one else plays, apart from the Philippines, and possibly Japan.

  7. Of course there is also baseball that you invented, only we invented it first (called rounders) and gave up on it because it’s not as good as cricket, which you don’t like because you can play for five days and still not have a ‘result’. But actually, there has just been a cracking game of cricket between us and India, that neither side won, but was still excellent in parts. Trust me.

  8. I’ve always followed soccer and the World Cup in particular just because national competitions always have that extra layer of tension and pride.

    When I watch a soccer match 90 minutes of game time are completed in under two hours, with the ball constantly in play. When I watch American football it takes three to four hours to get through 60 minutes of game time. I especially love those scintillating five minutes waiting for the referees to determine if the running back’s little toe was in fact an eighth of an inch over the out-of-bounds marker.

    Every sport is exciting, tedious, ridiculous, life-affirming, and useless all at once. Debating them is about as senseless as arguing over which shirtmaker from which decade had the buttondown collar roll… oh

  9. gantshirt | July 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

    Watched a little World Cup soccer, until the lower two-thirds of my body fell asleep (about three minutes.) Typical commentary from “announcers”: “Yes, that was a nice kick that fellow made to the fellow over there but then he should have gone there instead of the other place and so when he kicked the ball it went back to where it had been and yet another chap had a kick at it, only I don’t believe it went where he intended because another fellow kicked it to the left, and then to the right, and two fellows briefly bounced off each other and the ball went free and this other fellow, whichever one he was, he sort of did some little kicks until still another fellow kicked it to still another fellow. It was all interrupted when a fellow squirted shaving cream on the field and yet another handed out business cards and it all began again although I’m not at all certain what the antecedent of ‘it’ would be.”

  10. SanchoPanza | July 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm |

    …still want Ethan Hawkes Welton hoodie…

  11. Tried to watch to soccer World Cup, but the wife had the kitchen painted and I found watching the paint dry much more exciting.

    Surprised that you Ivy/Trad/Preppy types are not all tuning into the World Cup happening in Denver. The Lacrosse World Cup. Lacrosse is as Ivy/Trad/Preppy a sport I can think of. Tonight’s TV schedule has the USA vs Japan and the Iroquois Nation vs Australia. When the Thompson trio gets rolling for the Iroquois Nation you will see more action in 5 minutes than the entire Soccer World Cup.

  12. If we Americans were improve the game of soccer, we would make the goal twice as big. We simply have to have scores of 24-14, 48-21, etc to go with our beers, dogs, peanuts and crackerjacks!

  13. There were three Europeans on our high school soccer team: a Scot, a German, and an Italian. They were brilliant and we were not. Our coach show us film of the Brazilian team, which I thought was inspiring. Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho. Amazing skill. But there was also thuggery, particularly aimed at Pele, which the referees don’t always control. Like the cynical attack on Neymar.

    It can be slow at times, but so can baseball. And as with baseball, the tension can build. 1999, I think, Manchester United was down 1-0 in injury time at the very end of the game. Then they scored two goals in something like 90 seconds to beat Bayern Munich and win the European Championship. Like lightning striking the same place twice.

  14. RJG: I always think the best analogue for non-soccer watchers/players is baseball. To non-aficianados, the sports are filled with worthless minutiae, outsize egos, drawn-out waits for infrequent scoring, and cloying amounts of bygone-hero worship. To the initiated, the chosen sport is both fascinating and consuming. But then, I rarely meet people who are fans of both. I’d rather play fullback than shortstop, for one.

  15. Redcoat
    Prior to the 1970s, a defencive player could pretty much do whatever they wanted to offensive player. The rules were changed to allow offensive player the use of their hands, no harassment of pass receivers and rules to make the game less violent. The rules were changed to increase scoring for the TV audience.

  16. Gary Crant | July 14, 2014 at 8:35 am |

    gantshirt says: “Soccer” is about accidents called goals, while football is about plans called touchdowns. Watching soccer is like watching a football game in which one quarterback is 0 for 19 and the other 1 for 26 for a scintillating 1-”nil” victory. Yes, soccer fans, it really does take a lot of brains and ingenuity to delude yourself into thinking you’ve just seen something other than a random chaos event.

    Methinks either 1) gantshirt doth protest too much (feeling left out maybe?), or perhaps

    2) gantshirt is a bit of a twit

  17. What I’ve always noticed is that American sports fans prefer sports where the managers can micro-manage. Soccer is too egalitarian, the players have too much freedom, Americans just don’t like it.

    America, the self-styled “land of the free” likes its sports nice and feudalistic. The lord sits on the sidelines drawing up the plays, making all the decisions, and the serfs go out on the field and “execute”.

  18. I don’t thnk football was like that until fairly recently. Certainly NASCAR drivers being talked to via radio all during a race is absurd.

  19. I can assure you that my great-grandfather’s great-grandfather was born here and I still enjoy watching and playing soccer. sports are not a zero-sum game, in which we can only follow and enjoy watching/playing one, despite all of the above protestations.

  20. There was a time when sports was the arena to challenge each other to be our better selves; to be better men. Now, (I argue) sports has become the arena of hegemonic masculinity, homophobia, putting one another down at all cost. Thank you for posting this video. It is one of my favorite movies of all time.

  21. Christian | July 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm |

    Even badminton?

  22. Osvaldo
    I would argue that in western culture there is less homophobia now than in the past. I would also suggest that marxist theory of hegemonic masculinity is probably less true that ever. Sports have always been about competition and improving one’s self, otherwise your career is over at 15.

  23. @MAC

    Re: “I would argue that in western culture there is less homophobia now than in the past.”

    That’s certainly clear from many of the preppy/ivy offerings nowadays.

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