In honor of the World Cup. Who knew it could be even more annoying. Just add a few thousand fans blowing three foot-long plastic horns which reach 127 decibals each. Tell me that isn’t a riot waiting to happen.
As an average red-blooded American male who’s prone to reliving exaggerated accounts of past high school athletic glory (usually while under the influence of several glasses of one of Kentucky’s finest bourbons), I enjoy sports. I love football, baseball, basketball (strictly college) and hockey. I’ve watched every Indianapolis 500 car race since 1970.
I play golf badly, but I don’t mind watching golf…but only if there’s nothing else on television, or if it’s the final round of the Masters. I enjoy boxing, but let’s face it, there hasn’t been a good heavyweight fight since Mike Tyson went to jail. I love watching world cup skiing, especially a downhill event. You never see a good wreck during a slalom race. I will even watch women’s gymnastics and figure skating during the Olympics, especially if it means the U.S. has a chance of putting a beating on some second-rate communist empire. And of course there’s always Rugby and Australian Rules Football…basically football without pads. There’s no way that could be boring.
For my readers from any of the member countries of the British Commonwealth, I’m sorry, but I’ve tried to understand cricket. I once spent an entire rainy weekend watching a test match on Sky Sports while living in Milan, Italy. Two days in front of the television and I think I only witnessed half of it. I just don’t get it. I guess it makes more sense if you care about who is next in line for the throne.
As far as women’s basketball is concerned, to me, it’s like watching high school baseball or professional bowling. And since I don’t consider NASCAR or professional wrestling as sports, I won’t mention them again.
What I have a hard time understanding is the fascination with soccer. There’s many other exciting forms of athletic competition…curling, cycling, kite fighting. Why in the world would anyone get excited over a 2,500-year-old Chinese kickball game?
To get worked up over 22 players in shorts kicking a ball around a large field, scoring maybe only one goal during an agonizingly long 90-minute game is beyond my comprehension of enjoyment. It’s also beyond my threshold of patience. I might as well be watching competition fly fishing, rhythmic gymnastics or Frisbee golf (for all you dirty hippies, I refuse to describe it as a disc).
What blows my mind is how the rest of the world reacts to this game. Riots started, murders committed and even a war fought (1969 100-hour war between El Salvador and Honduras) over a game where you’re given a “warning” for running into someone and can be ejected for doing it twice. We in the U.S. are more civilized, at least in that respect. These fanatics make even Philadelphia Eagles phans look like saints.
This unruly behavior even has its own name…Hooliganism. Over the years, hundreds of people have died as a result of the rabid reactions of soccer supporters:
May 24, 1964: More than 300 supporters are killed and another 500 injured in Lima, Peru, in a riot during an Olympic qualifying match between Argentina and Peru.
More than 150 people have died in Argentina since the 1930’s as a result of soccer riots.
May 29, 1985: 39 Juventus supporters are crushed to death by a collapsed wall after they are attacked by Liverpool supporters during the European Cup Final match in Brussels.
May 9, 2001: 125 people died and hundreds were injured at a match in Accra, Ghana, during a stampede at the end of a soccer match.
March 12, 2004: 25 people die during a fight between rival Syrian football club supporters at a match in Qamishli, Syria.
No one’s ever died from rioting at an Eagles/Giants football game…and we hate each other. And you wonder why people who enjoy football are called “fans,” while the people who enjoy soccer are called “supporters.” Think about it…
Soccer moms…is this what you want for your children? To grow up like some annoying French wanna-be gang member, throwing beer bottles at other people, just because they are Los Angeles Galaxy supporters instead of D.C. United supporters. Besides, soccer is so passé…lacrosse is the new sport of preppie Ivy League sweater-vest-wearing, BMW-driving momma’s boys. Well, at least it’s an American (native) game.
Marc “Wiggy” Kovacs – Factotum of Fustian on Foreign Futbol and Fatally Fanatical Fans