So here we are, June of 2010. Football still a couple months away, basketball is in the Finals, but they have an off day (my team isn’t in it anyway), baseball hasn’t heated up yet, and golf is…golf. So on a lazy Saturday, when you’re in the house wanting to watch some good ole’ fashion American sporting competition, I find myself watching the World Cup Soccer (I mean…football. Let us contemplate a bit on the sport of soccer (I mean…football).
It’s a game that got popular over one hundred years ago, primarily in Europe. But to be honest, we can likely attribute the 50 years from 1850-1900 as a time when competitive sports in general became popular. Baseball, football, the Olympics, soccer (I mean…football), and even basketball became the great skillful games that millions of us watch everyday today. But now the sport of soccer is the most watched sport around the world. Millions play and millions more watch. Part of the draw is probably it being cheap and easy to play the game. All you need is a bunch of people and a round ball. No pads, helmets, sticks, clubs, bats, rims, or hoops. You probably don’t need a goal either, just drawn a line in the dirt.
But in my American barbarianism, I must say I don’t understand the game. Sure I can watch two dozen guys kick a ball up and down the field for a couple hours, but where does it end. I’m watching this game and the clock is counting up, not down, no one is scoring, people are kicking each other which you’re not supposed to do, I can’t tell where they’re going with the ball sometimes. And seemingly the only time when people get excited is when a goal is scored. But that only happened twice in this game. You mean to tell me so many people watch this game just to get excited only a couple times throughout the match? Where’s the slam dunks, where’s the 50 yard bombs, can a brotha get a homerun, an interception taken back for a score maybe, a no-look pass…something, anything to add some flavor to the game of soccer (I mean football).
And with this World Cup match between England and the United States, it’s all everyone has talked about in relation to this year’s World Cup. unbelievably the first time these two met in the World Cup in 60 years. You would think that with the buildup, we’d see a hotly contested match, maybe a little drama. England scored once, the US scored once, they kicked around the ball some more, and then they stopped. Even the way the US scored was a bit uneventful. It looked like none of the players even realized it.
But to add to my frustrations, the game ended in a tie. Yes, a draw, as in no one won, no one lost. Okay, so you I understand in this round you advance by how many points are scored, and not necessarily the wins or losses. But isn’t winning part of the competitive game? There wasn’t an overtime, no extra innings, no sudden death, they just stopped and called it a game. In a game there can be one winner. Two can’t win only one. I understand some formats for extra play after regulation time is fouled, but at least there’s usually a decision.
Not for nothin’, but Herman Edwards said it best, “We play to win the game.” It’s like in movies, I shouldn’t have to watch a prequel or a sequel to enjoy one single movie. I should be entertained nonetheless and if it plays out like its supposed to it concludes and ends with a resolution that can be enjoyed. Every story has a beginning, a middle and end. The millions of people who waited 60 years for this match can’t be happy with its ending. A draw. It’s a “to be continued” that might never be continued.