Monday, July 10, 2006

Death Cab for Beckham

Italy has won the World Cup. Hooray for you, Italy. You're a lovely country. And now that that's over, I can say what I really think about soccer.

Soccer is the hipster sport.

No, hear me out. I appreciate the physical strength that soccer players have. I appreciate that they run more than David Ortiz, there's more physical contact with less padding than American football. I appreciate David Beckham. I like Mia Hamm. But I do not like soccer.

Soccer is boring. Soccer is a lot of running without a lot of scoring. American sports media makes a half-assed attempt at covering soccer to convince Americans it's cool. American kids play soccer to keep them from obesity. The girl I babysit loves soccer. But some disconnect happens between childhood and adulthood, because American adults, on the whole, don't give a shit. We love the NFL and the NBA and MLB and occasionally the NHL, but not FIFA.

During the playoffs, NPR had a commentator ramble about how much he loves that guys at the gym were talking about soccer games that America had no stake in, how great it was to hear their opinions and their knowledge of soccer. It was when I heard the smug liberal intonation that I became aware that soccer is for hipsters. Hipsters tell you something is cool only because you don't know about it. Did you hear the new Death Cab for Cutie album? That Thom Yorke has a side project? Someone tosses out names of soccer players just to make you feel stupid for not knowing soccer, just like music hipsters toss out the names of bands you don't know, and give you the withering stare just because you like Kelly Clarkson and not whoever the fuck. Take your PBR and Buddy Holly glasses out of BeerWorks, hipster, and let me watch some damn baseball.

I don't like soccer. I resent ESPN trying to tell me I like soccer just because they're trying to fill the highlight reel at SportsCenter. If ESPN thought soccer was a viable sport, we'd see many more televised matches throughout the season. Instead, we get bass fishing with Mike Timlin or paintball playoffs, unless it's the World Cup. It's like Rolling Stone telling me I should listen to Radiohead when they're selling magazines because Mariah Carey is on the cover. Nobody cares-- if they did, we'd have a soccer channel. I, for one, am glad this stuff is over. Now we can get back to the business of David Ortiz playing home-run derby and trying to light Rudy Seanez on fire with only the collective power of our hate.

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