Call me me a curmudgeon, unpatriotic. Call me what you will, but I don’t know if I believe WE can win, and I don’t care. There I said it. I’m not a soccer fan, and I’m not into the World Cup. I haven’t watched one minute. No face paint, no authentic team jersey or watch parties, although I have to admit the scene Monday at Dugan’s Pub for the USNT’s opener Monday against Ghana looked to be electric.
I would say I may not watch at all, but I know I am guaranteed to watch at least a few minutes as I am appearing on The Zone on 103.7 The Buzz Thursday at a watch party at Jim’s Razorback Pizza in west Little Rock.
However, this whole thing is not for me, and I’m not going to be bullied into thinking it is a must-watch event for Americans. Just like I don’t question those that don’t watch the wall-to-wall Summer Olympics coverage like I do, or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament or the Super Bowl for more than the commercials or an excuse to drink and eat good food.
There are two reasons for my indifference. 1) I have never played soccer. I don’t appreciate the nuances. I watch a match for nearly 90 minutes and see guys running all over a field with a couple of goals to show for it. It’s similar to why people don’t like baseball. I started playing it as soon as I was old enough to swing a bat and appreciate the finer details that are lost on those who were never exposed. This may change in the coming years, as my 5-year-old son, J.D., loves playing soccer, and we are learning it together.
2) I’m not one to hop on a bandwagon. I’ve never gone wild over something, just because it is the ‘in’ thing to do. I suspect some of those wearing a $100 authentic game jersey marching into pubs around the country with American flags draped over their shoulders are as clueless about soccer as I am, but don’t want to miss the party.
I know the soccer freaks have a pitch for me, just like I do for the non-baseball believers. ‘The World Cup only happens every four years, it’s the most popular sport in the world,” etc, etc. I know, I get it. And, when the soccer madness ends, SportsCenter will go back to its wall-to-wall football coverage instead of futbol. Soccer won’t ever be as popular in America as it is in other parts of the world, and our team probably won’t ever win a World Cup. I already root for a team with those slim odds — the Chicago Cubs. I don’t have room for one more.
Enjoy your watch parties and face paint and don’t get too upset about buying that expensive jersey when the Americans disappoint again. And more importantly, don’t look down on me for lounging around the pool, watching “Scooby-Doo,” Major League Baseball, cleaning the garage, detailing my car or the myriad of other things I’ll do besides watching the world’s biggest sporting event.