Culbreath: Soccer hatersWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you get to talking like this, you sound panicked.”
-Detective Rust Cohle, True Detective
We’re through the group stages of the World Cup, and it’s been pretty damn exciting. Last-second finishes, groups undecided until the last game, and, oh yeah, someone bit a guy. All in all, I can’t wait until the knockout rounds begin. And the TV ratings have been pretty good too.
So, of course, the more coverage it gets, the more the haters have come out. A cursory search of social media will find plenty of people complaining about ties, or making cracks about orange slices, or any number of xenophobic jokes about other countries. The more hype it gets, the more they scream.
And to the haters, I ask: what exactly is it you’re afraid of?
I’m not going to sit here and claim that soccer is right around the corner and is set to explode in this country. It isn’t. It’s just not a part of our culture. And there’s a very simple explanation as to why: in most of these countries, the sport of choice among the poorest children is soccer. In ours, the underprivileged play basketball instead. The cost of getting into both games is next to nothing, you can play with as few or as many people as you’d like, and there’s no shortage of playing surfaces for either. Soccer can be played in an alley, and there are plenty of basketball hoops in public parks in urban areas.
So, are you afraid that it’s going to take over from your favorite sports? Because it’s not. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can like more than one sport. In fact, they air at different times! I’ve been watching World Cup games for the past two weeks, and still watching baseball in the evenings! It can be done!
Are you afraid that it’s some conspiracy? That it’s a worldwide effort to eat away at the moral fiber of the country by making us watch 22 people on a field kick a ball for two hours? Hell, I can appreciate the fact that it’s just two-hours, and not a three-hour grind with commercial breaks every five minutes. I’d say the NFL could take a hint. Decrease the number of breaks, charge more for the spots. Less is more, after all.
I mean … is it all the foreign people? Because it’s a big, wide world out there, and y’all need to come to terms with it.
Soccer being on TV for a month isn’t going to ruin America. Or baseball. Or the NFL. It’s just another thing. You can ignore it pretty easily if you really don’t like it. But ripping on people who do enjoy watching it, even if it’s only every four years, is childish. I don’t like watching “The Big Bang Theory,” but I don’t berate people who do. You’re allowed to ignore it. Please do.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbrath is sports director at Newsradio 1370 WSPD.