I think the points have been made:
— Soccer is largely a tedious game featuring long stretches of uneventful play punctuated by the all-too-rare moment of scoring;
— The clock concept is infuriating. We love the 45-minute halves with no commercials, but then the arbitrary one or three or six minutes of “extra time” violate every concept of precision that a clocked sport should have;
— Soccer has its fan base, and it is not small; but the pressure on America to embrace it to some far larger degree is absurd. We simply never will as long as we have other sports featuring far deeper intrigue.
I have spent a lot of time during World Cup 2014 making these very points against those passionate souls who have insisted that this is the year, this is the time, now is the juncture at which America welcomes soccer in a fashion approaching football, baseball, basketball— hockey, maybe ? Golf? NASCAR?
Nope. Not going to happen. They say never say never. I’m saying never. Soccer will never— ever— reach consistent viewer levels approaching even our fifth or sixth most popular sports, in terms of TV ratings and attendance.
The attempt by elites to cram soccer down our throats are comical, as we are made to feel like rubes for not embracing the sport most of the world loves— because most of the world doesn’t have anything else.
That said, I have heard the diatribes and read the columns crafted by people pushing back against soccer fever— and enjoyed them all, and agreed with most.
But with the USA team’s improbable path into the World Cup’s final 16, I want to offer advice to all the soccer critics— everybody gets it. Points made. Now shut up and root for the Americans.
There has been a window for slapping soccer around. It was wide open for the opening games, when soccer dorks scolded anyone not embracing the sport as God’s greatest gift. We gave as good as we got, and we won. Even the late-arriving bandwagon types knew they were crowded into various venues for two reasons— first, the USA was playing, and second, we understood what a big worldwide deal it is.
As soon as America is ousted— and that could well be after the Belgium game Tuesday afternoon— this entire phenomenon evaporates. We will not gather by the thousands to watch Argentina battle Colombia. But if we can get by Belgium and make the Final Eight— the nation will be going crazy, and everyone keeping the soccer hate alive will come off looking like a bunch of jerks.
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