By Tyler Lemco
Soccer is undeniably one of the most popular sports on the planet, if not THE most popular. Why is it so popular? It’s simple! No, really, it’s simple. That wasn’t the build up to some elaborate point I was making, it’s just a really basic, easy sport to get. You kick the thing into the net to score, and you want to do that more than the people trying to stop you. It can be played 1 vs. 1, 5 vs. 5, 11 vs. 11, or with any number of people. It can be played on basically any surface so far as the ground is flat, and it can be played using practically anything. All you have is an empty soda can and two garbage bins? You’re golden! Roadkill and four twigs is all you can find? You’ve got yourself a ball and some goal posts! Game on!
I don’t trust anything that’s that simple. After ‘tag’, it’s the most basic activity I could think of. In an era when all we care about is explosions and intricate rules and lots of colors and people falling down, how are we all still so entertained by 22 dudes running back and forth for hours? It’s like filling an entire stadium full of energetic, face-painted, ready-to-fight, die-hard fans to watch marathon runners go in a circle for three and a half hours. It’s just absurd. The lack of action is astounding. It’s organized running. That’s really the extent of what it is.
After watching a couple games, I have issues with the pro level as well. First of all, what the hell do the coaches do? How in the world do you coach soccer? “Hey! You! Run faster… You! Kick the ball… Harder… No! You’re kicking it the wrong way!” Aside from substitutions, I can’t see the coach providing any more strategy or value to a professional player who understands how to play. There’s no additional advice that someone could say. Is some old, fat dude wearing a polo shirt going to tell David Beckham, “Look, I know soccer better than you. You should probably try to kick the ball harder, this time away from where the goalie can block it”? And David responds “Oh! Away from the goalie! Why didn’t I think of that??”
And what’s with all the faking? Can’t these guys just play the sport and run around kicking the thing like they get paid trillions of dollars to do? Why must every single gust of wind bring about a theatrical display of pain and heartache? Soccer players flop harder than JaMarcus Russell’s career. You can’t watch a game for more than 45 seconds before someone hits the ground like he’s been shot because another player ran within his vicinity. Fakers are the most annoying part of any sport, and it’s most prevalent in soccer. The “soccer flop” has even infiltrated other sports and is slowly infecting the good ones with its awfulness.
Finally, everyone needs to come to a unanimous decision on the name! Is it ‘soccer’ or is it ‘football’?? Granted, ‘football’ makes a lot more sense, but here in North America we already have a sport called football. It’s played with lots of padding and you have to hold a weird-shaped ball in your arms and run with it. THAT’s football! To the rest of the world, that’s “American Football” which is just condescending and unnecessary. At least we had the decency to call it “Wipe Out!” rather than “American Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.”
All in all, soccer needs to figure it out! I have no clue how legions and legions of fans are so enthralled with the sport and how dedicated they become to these teams. People shell out fortunes and even get into fights in the stands over their allegiance to their club. Don’t they know they can just find a rock outside the stadium and play a match of their own? I just don’t get it.
Tyler is a writer from Montreal, Canada. He enjoys cheeseburgers, sports, music, and double cheeseburgers. Follow him on Twitter and every other social media @tlemco