Before I get into this let me start off by saying that I grew up playing soccer. From the moment I could play organized sports until I was out of high school I played the game. I was even halfway decent at it. When I lived in Germany I had a couple of really fun years playing the game. My freshman year of high school we had a team that was so good we beat a team 20-3 (it should have been 20-2 but I actually scored a goal for the other team…that is another story altogether) and the only reason we didn’t win the European championships that year was because we all partied a bit too much the night before the final game of the tournament (I don’t think there was a player on our team that wasn’t hungover to the point of sickness when the game started). And I was All Conference during my sophomore year where we weren’t quite as good but we had a lot of fun traveling around Germany for our games.
So I do have a lot of great memories of playing soccer and I will readily admit that playing the game is really a lot of fun. But watching the game on TV is so dreadfully boring that I just can’t stand it. Every four years I try to give the game another shot. I get excited as the World Cup draws near and get ready to watch the game I grew up playing and trying so hard to get into it. I just can’t do it.
There are several reasons why the game of soccer is just unwatchable for me. First is the pace of the game which is just so incredibly slow. Pretty much the entire game is spent passing the ball back and forth across this enormous field (If the field was about half the size I think the game would be so much more fun to watch) with the sporadic runs and attempts at scoring. It always seems like the teams aren’t playing to win but instead are just playing to put me to sleep. It just drives me crazy when a team gets down towards the other side’s box and then passes the ball all the way back beyond midfield to move the ball to the other side of the field to only drive down the field and start the process over again. Snorefest.
The second issues is the scoring. 0-0 and 1-1 ties are just unacceptable to me as a sportsfan. Score some freakin’ goals already. The fact that teams can even be allowed to tie is just pointless to me. This should be like playoff hockey and you just keep playing until everyone drops dead or someone scores. There should always be a winner in every game. Seeing a game end in a 0-0 tie just makes me feel like I have completely wasted 2 hours of my life watching this game when I could have been watching something more exciting…like WNBA basketball.
The third issue I have with soccer is the amount of terrible acting that goes on during every game. Watch the players…when they are out there it is like you are watching an old silent movie. Every gesture is so exaggerated when they are complaining to the referee. The soundtrack to all soccer games should be that cheesy piano music that you always hear playing when you see a silent film on TV. And god forbid another player touches someone. They are down on the ground writhing around like they have a compound fracture until either a.) the ref blows the whistle and issues a booking to the other player or b.) the player on the ground realizes that no whistle is going to be blown because it wasn’t actually a foul or his team has the advantage. When either a or b happens the player that was just on the verge of a trip to the emergency room is back on his feet and right back into the action like nothing happened. I really think that the player on the ground should either be penalized with a yellow card for his ridiculous acting or made to sit out to nurse his “injury” for a few minutes making his team play with a man down while he is sitting on the sideline.
The fourth reason I just can’t get into the games are the announcers that both ESPN and ABC are using during the games. Seriously, we have no American announcers that are competent enough to be our play-by-play and color analysts for these games? I spend half of the time watching trying to figure out what that guy is saying. I know he is speaking english but I just can’t understand half of what these guys are saying. I should just watch the games on Univision and be completely certain that I didn’t understand them as they are speaking Spanish. Or maybe I should make this a game within the game and try to decipher what these guys are talking about….maybe then I would not be quite so bored out of my skull by the time halftime rolls around.
The fifth reason is new to this World Cup: Vuvuzelas. The vuvuzela is the cheap plastic horn that has been around forever at sporting events in the States but is something of a tradition in South Africa. From what I understand this horn will make the same sound no matter how hard you blow on it. And these South Africans never stop blowing on them. So no matter what is happening during the game the crowd always sounds exactly the same. There is no roar of the crowd as a player is streaking towards the net…just more of the horns. There is no singing like you would hear at pretty much every soccer game…just more horns. From some of the reports I have read the sound in the stadiums from the horns is pretty much at a constant 144 decibels which is the equivalent of a passenger jet. That is pretty crazy loud.
But it isn’t the volume of the stupid horns that drives me crazy because you can’t really tell how loud they are when you are watching on TV. What drives me crazy is that it sounds like a swarm of bees is surrounding my head during the entire game. I spent most of Saturday hiking around in the woods and the most annoying thing that happened to me during that time was when some little flying insect would buzz into my ear. That sound and feeling when a bug is right there in your ear…the loud humming of the wings that makes you instantly thrash at your head to remove it….Yeah, that is pretty much the same feeling I get watching the World Cup. Between the announcers that I can’t understand half the time and the constant buzzing of a swarm of bees around my head I have to watch the games with the sound muted just to be able to get through the game without downing half a bottle of Advil.
Every four years I try to give soccer another chance to make me even a casual fan….and every four years the game just drives me further and further away. I honestly don’t know why this is the world’s game. Why is this sport so popular everywhere? Is it just because it is the least expensive sport to play and even the poorest kid in the poorest country on the planet can play and compete? I just don’t get it.
Maybe one day someone will be able to explain it to me in a way that makes sense. Until then I am just gonna be bored and turn off the games before halftime every four years.