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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WANE!!!


OK, so I don't like soccer. Not a hater, per say. Just not a fan. A fact that will probably lead you to dismissing my opinions on the future of soccer's popularity in the United States. AKA The topic du jour. That, and the fact that I'm writing this the day after the US apparently lost in rather excruciating fashion. Either way, I still have a (scorching hot!) take on the subject. And by God, if you've already made it this far, then you're gonna hear it! Because I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL READ! I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL READ! I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL READ!

Yeah. Dumbest chant in all of sports. Oh yeah? You believe your'e gonna win!? What a novel concept!! And to take that one step further, it's really the chant of the "trophies and ribbons for everyone!!!" generation. I know that, because that's more or less my generation. Or at least that generation was in charge during my youth. Probably another reason why I don't like soccer. Trying to make me feel unnecessarily shameful, and whatnot. Due to my Teddish peers, their Teddish parents, and their myriad of Teddish tendencies. Not to mention their penchant for "participation"....

Yeah. And BOOM goes any sort of neutrality I may have just convinced you I had. Meh, whatever. Freakin' soccer...

For me, it's not that hard to imagine soccer's future in the US. And when describing my opinion, I find the best comparison to be hockey. AKA Soccer's Eurotrash counterpart. More to the point, professional hockey in warmer US markets. When those teams are good, (Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, etc), hockey becomes the hottest ticket in town. When they're not? Well, when they're not, fans begin to wonder why they allowed their tax dollars to be be used (probably) to put a chunk of ice in the middle of their city if they're not even allowed to take luge shots from it when the temperature hits triple digits and you've got a few liquored up coeds that you want to impress...

Now, there are exceptions. The Carolina Hurricanes, for example. They're located in a warm weather city, yet they still seem to maintain their popularity through good times and bad. The reason? Well, from what I've been led to believe, it's because the area is flooded with Northeast transplants that have brought their love of the game with them. Granted, I don't have any numbers to actually back any of this up. But it's just a well informed impression I've developed over the years. It's basically, "how often do I ever see anyone rocking your gear when your team isn't on a championship run". Far from scientific, I know. But it is what it is...
Who knew Tony Meola could
grow such a thick beard?

So, what does any of that actually tell us about the future for soccer in the US? Well, probably nothing. But it does offer a decent comparison. Which is to say this: Soccer's popularity will continue to grow in the United States if:

A) The US continues to win on the international stage (I assume this would help legitimize the MLS as well)

AND/OR

B) Enough immigrants flood into this country, and bring their love of soccer with them

Not hating on immigrants, and lord knows I'm not even remotely trying to turn this into a citizenship issue. BUILD A FENCE AND GET THE GUNS! But we all know soccer has never really been our thing here in the US. Just like hockey was never Charlotte's thing. Or wherever the Hurricanes are locaTed (within walking distance of several fried chicken joints, for sure). But we also know that winning goes a long way towards changing how people feel about a person or sport. As do demographics. And if soccer wishes to continue to thrive (I'm not going "old sports radio bastard" on you. There's no doubting the recent uptick), one, if not both of those things, will have to continue to trend in their favor...

It's important to remember, too, that we can't be sure that we haven't just seen a spike in popularity for a particularly good US Men's National Team, as opposed to soccer on the whole. Again, I don't have the ratings at my disposal. But I'd need to see that exponentially more Americans were watching "soccer" as a whole before I went declaring that the sport was on any sort of sustainable rise. Not saying it can't happen, but attempting to take that pulse right now would be akin to trying to find a sprinter's resting heart rate the second they crossed the finish line. It's just not the right way to go about it. And the only reason you would, is if you were in need of biased numbers in order to prove your point...

So, yeah. Call me skeptical, or even a pessimist if you think I'm just denying the facts. But I'm gonna need a little more than a peak in popularity coinciding with a peak in talent and success before I believe that soccer is about to "blow up". Mostly because I've been hearing that for the better part of the last 20 years. Or 1994, to be exact. Which, coincidentally enough, was the last time the World Cup took place in the USA. AKA The last time the Word Cup was even remotely front and center in the minds of American sports fans...


So, yeah. To summarize, before I waste anymore of my time on a sport that still claims racist chants as one of it's in game attractions:

-Soccer sucks

-Hockey sucks

-I don't hate Patriotism, anyone displaying patriotism, OR anyone simply in search of a good time...

-...However, bandwagon fans are as intolerable as they are predictable

-The US Men's National team was very popular this year. But that doesn't necessarily mean "soccer" gained in popularity in the US

-fans of other sports weren't "converted" so much as they were immensely entertained and distracTed for a few weeks

-The sample size is still too small and too specific to determine whether or not soccer is "here to stay"

-OMG IMMIGRATION BUILD A FENCE FOOTBALL FUTBOL FOOTBALL!!!


No, but I wish soccer all the best. I really do. And I can't wait to hear former NFL and NBA players talking about it on local sports talk radio as if they've been watching the sport for decades. No, yeah. Because that'll be great. I mean, if a former tight end or a baseball beat writer can't be relied upon to accurately and articulately break down the nuances of soccer while some meat head shouts through his speaker phone, then who the Hell really can?

Freakin' soccer. I liked you a lot better when you were a punch line. And I can't wait until next week when that normality can be restored...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 38-46 (8 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 3-4

The Bad: The Red sox backed up taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees in New York, by dropping 2 straight to the Cubs at home while only scoring 1 run.

The Good(?): Heard a stat that the Dodgers were 9.5 games behind the Giants a month ago. A team they're now neck and neck with in the NL West. So, yeah. Anything's possible? Probably sound like a more realistic outcome if I said like Kevin Garnett:

ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE!!!!

It's a lot more possible if you only have to chase down 1 team, like the Dodgers. As opposed to the Red Sox, who currently have 6 teams between them and an AL Wild Card spot, and even 3 teams to track down in the AL East. But let's not let the details get us down. I mean, after all. I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!! And I think we both know that's usually enough to do the damn thing...


And now, to prove I'm not a Communist...


See? I still love me some America. Which is probably why I still don't like soccer. Freakin' soccer...

Oh, well. Until next time, friends. Enjoy the 4th, and I'll catch you on the flipman...


#BAGSMUNMAN

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