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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why REAL Conservatives love Soccer

When I read Glenn Beck's recent ridiculous tirade against soccer where he proclaimed, " ... we don't like the World Cup, we don't like Soccer...." I admit I was astonished by Beck's arrogant decision to misrepresent all of us, conservatives, with his narrow-minded proclamation. Wow. Glenn Beck has certainly struck a cord, but from comments I'm seeing around the web - clearly, the wrong one.

There are a lot of conservatives that seem to be wrapped up in hero-worship of Glenn Beck for his opinions on politics. I guess I've never fallen into that category so I haven't really lost much. But his soccer comments this week put a good size chink in his so-called in penetrable armor. What Mr. Beck may not realize is that most of American parents have children in soccer programs across the country. Hey Beck, ever heard of the term Soccer mom? or Soccer Dad? The fact is that most of America loves soccer, and enjoys cheering their sons and daughters in a game that is played in the rain, in the snow, in 90 degree weather, and in the frigid cold.

This whole inflammatory discussion actually came to me via a tweet from National Review. Jonah Goldberg via National Review's The Corner posted a soccer commentary discussion, which wasn't particularly favorable to soccer or the World Cup. But, in fairness his main reason for posting appears to oppose The Nation's article here which falsely makes the complaint that racism and nativism is the reason that the right-wing doesn't like the World Cup or soccer. At least Jon Miller goes on to defend soccer - although he does take a swipe at MLS.

Our kids (and I mean our true blue American kids) learn more from soccer than they do any other sport played in a group setting on a field. And unlike Little League where kids check out after the 6th inning after standing alone out in the middle of left field, soccer demands consistent athletic ability, stamina and team coordination. You sprint for the larger part of 90 plus minutes trying to outrun and out-maneuver your opponents. And you score not by hitting a ball over the fence with a bat and jogging around a set of bases, but from a fast moving position with nothing more than your own body as the tool of execution while eleven other players try to stop you. And rules - well there are many, and subjectivity of the referees calls are a lot like you see in the real world - imperfect and frequent.

In the advance soccer leagues, if you are even able to make the team, not everyone gets a trophy like they do in most American Sports. From a fitness standpoint, there are no long huddles, television timeout or breaks unless you have to remove an injured player from the field - and the referee then adds time on to the half to make sure that the game isn't shortened for intentional wasting of time. Stamina and fitness matter in soccer. There is no room for overweight kids to stand around and be an observer.

Complaints about soccer not being a high scoring game are equally short-sighted. Perhaps the problem lies with the lack of understanding that in a skilled strategic game that solid defensive play can be more rewarding than a contest of endless high scoring numbers through runs or touchdowns. Soccer operates on a point system, and an elimination system. Goal differential and goals not scored you actually count for something.

Beck sadly makes the mistake of making fun of the European version of soccer, and this too is a foolish position. European soccer fans - chat, yell, sing and engage themselves through out the game - as a near interactive collective during the game. Baseball fans sit silently gnawing on their hot dogs until something happens or they get caught up in a wave. Do you hear anything other than, "Defense, Defense" chant at an American Football football game? And never mind the dozens of opportunities given to get another snack from the fridge. Oh man, thank God for commercials, right?

At the Euro Professional League Level, you don't get situations like you do in Major League Baseball, where teams not headed into playoffs just go through the motions in August and September. In Soccer, you could face relegation, and in that - lose your salary and perhaps your job. Games count through the end. And your play impacts the fate of other teams, so no one limps through knowing careers are on the line through the last game of the season. In American Football, the season is just about over after six weeks, and you know your team can't be dropped from the league. But can you image the increase in the level of intensity if demotion were a real possibility in American Sports? Ha. American fans would get their money's worth.

So Beck, let's not antagonize our Middle American base. Let's not have you speak for us and scare away millions of soccer moms and dads from conservative candidates because you insist conservatives don't like soccer. In fact Beck why don't you just stick to politics, and shut it. Maybe over the next month you might tune into the World Cup and see what competition is really about.

Here are 10 basic reasons why Conservatives should be soccer fans:

1. Not everyone gets a trophy. Only those who win get trophies. The runner ups get a handshake,if they're lucky.

2. Soccer is sport where fitness and talent actually matter. This even applies to officials who are grosely obese in MLB - if you haven't noticed.

3. Passion is part of the game, on and off the field for players and fans alike. It doesn't die when you leave the venue. You carry it with you everywhere. It's like religion.

4. It's ok to hate your rivals, and its ok for your rivals to hate you. It's part of the game, and no one need make excuses for making opposing fans feel bad. American sports used to be more that way - this goes to fandom and passion.

5. In Soccer, teamwork is essential to winning. If one of eleven men doesn't do their job for 90 minutes, you'll probably lose

6. Fair weather fans aren't part of the equation; soccer is played in heat, cold, snow and rain. Pansies need not apply. There are no tarps, or rain delays, or postponements (after management feels they milked the fans for a few bucks while they wait for a planned decision)

7. No commericals disrupting every stinking play, inning, possession, or worse - creating an actual break in the game like you see in basketball. You only get them a half-time.

8. If you do drugs, you're done. There is no union group of players schemeing with their attorneys to find ways to cheat by making up lists of drugs that you can and can't be tested for. Or finding ways to get out of drug testing in the name of "privacy", or defending people like Barry Bonds, who care little for "fair play" and more about getting juiced so they can break records.

9. Full body commitment. Soccer players give 100%. They don't take one hops, or come out of the game because they have a hangnail, or don't "feel just right." They play the game like true athletes do - and don't spend all their time trying to take it easy to extend their million dollar contracts to milk the system over the next 10 years. Oh, and many of them return to regular jobs after they play, not try to sell your kids Nike shoes or sugar bars.

10. Merit counts in Soccer. Lack of effort means your team gets relegated, or eliminated. There is no mandate forced by a liberal union to keep the money flowing in for poor results.

1 comment:

Closet Gop said...

Thanks for the article. Some of my conservative/libertarian friends label me as a commie/socialist because I like World Cup Soccer. A win for the USA is a win for all of us.