Gut Rumbles

June 18, 2007

Screw soccer

Originally published July 2, 2004

I must respectfully disagree with one of my *favorite bloggers here. Soccer is a boring, pussy sport.
*[Ed. He's referring to Kim DuToit. The link comes up with a 404 error.]

Get pissed at me all you want to, but I simply do not see the fascination in watching a bunch of pansies running around a field and kicking a ball that goes out of bounds a lot more often than it finds the goal. I don't like ANY sport that frequently ends games with scores of 0-0, after an hour of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I was in Costa Rica for the Championship de Nationale, which is the Costa Rican equilivant of Super Bowl Sunday. The National Championship soccer game, and EVERYBODY in Costa Rica loves soccer. Every esquela in the country has a soccer field and every kid old enough to shed his diapers is kicking a ball on any flat piece of ground he can find. They love their futbol there.

I watched the game on a big-screen TV, but I wasn't thrilled by it. The game was played in a pouring rain (at least the pussies played in the rain, unlike even MORE PUSSIFIED baseball players) and a lot of guys went sliding on the muddy turf in a 3-0 victory for whoever was wearing the red jerseys. I applauded and yelled when everybody else did, although I usually had no clue about what I was applauding for. It damn sure wasn't for a lot of scoring.

Give me gridiron football anytime. I understand that game and I believe that it is a truly American sport. The design of the offense is to score points and the design of the defense is to PREVENT the other team from scoring points, but the whole game boils down to a bunch of individual battles on the field. You hit and you get hit. You stop the other guy from doing what he wants to do.

The average football play lasts seven seconds or less. During that brief seven seconds, all kinds of violence whirls around you and the sounds people make are remarkable. Yeah, you growl like a wild animal. You hear the "oofs!" and "ugghs" of bodies slamming against one another and you go beserk because that's what a football player does. You use hands, elbows, knees, forearms and whatever else it takes to stay on your feet while very large, very angry people attempt to knock you down.

At the end of that seven seconds, you get up and prepare to do it all over again. It's a goddam war out there and only the strong survive. If you play the position I did, strong-side linebacker (or "monsterman") you can bet your sweet ass that somebody is assigned to hit YOU on every play. But if you don't want to hit, you shouldn't be playing football.

I enjoyed the violence when I played and I enjoy watching it now. Wearing the pads and the helmet made me feel like a knight in armor and I feared no one on the field. I got my ass racked, knocked right-over-tea-kettle and damn near handed to me on a tray a few times, but I gave back better than I got. Pain was a given on the football field. I didn't think I really played a game if I didn't have some blood on my uniform at the end.

That's American. That's suck it up, grab your jock and go. That's real football.

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