Friday, July 13

Why soccer won't overtake football

I was just watching the news on the cable news channels. Today is evidently the unveiling of David Beckham and a great day for American soccer, I guess. Fox had a British guy in L.A. reporting, among other things he said that Britain was happy to be getting rid of them as celebrities. Then CNN covered it and I think the business channel was interviewing a team business man.

I think that in America in the near future, soccer won't overtake football here. Between the US and the rest of the world, football and soccer are like water and oil. The division is a lot more deeper than a nation's attention span. Football is a pretty good demonstration of American success in comparison to soccer, which is a socialist success model.

Football is very American. Though it's a team sport, it's individualistic in that every player has a special set of skills and job to do: big people play on the line, fast people are receivers and runners, quarterbacks are smart, kickers kick. Yet everyone is willing to work together, at least enough, to achieve a bigger goal.

War imagery is used a lot in football. Offense and defense, attack the opponents, blitz, etc. Everything is measured out and every movement is defined by strict rules. Both teams line up in neat little formations and take turns, "downs" as they say, attacking each other with plays. It's not unlike Napoleonic Warfare which was the style of fighting in use from the War of Independence through the Civil War.

Just like war and traditional adult life, it's the males doing battle and the women are on the sidelines cheering them on. Consider the uniforms. Sure they make playing safer, but they accentuate certain areas like the shoulders and other spots to make the players look bigger and stronger, more manly. It's the same for the cheerleaders. Their uniforms highlight their femininity and they're assigned to doing what they do best: making noise and looking pretty.

In football, like capitalism and war, the point is to win. Both teams may score dozens of points, but there's a definite winner. In soccer the scores are often less than 5 points total and there's often no winner, just a tie.

Soccer, like socialism, is more team oriented. In soccer there are ten players on the field and a goalie. With the exception of the goalie, there's no exceptionally special skill to soccer other than running around and kicking. For the most part the players are all interchangeable and virtually the same, striving for the glory of the team. Players are much more equal on the soccer field than they would be on a football field.

Soccer is the main sport of the Europeans. I think it fits well. For example, the French are upset that their new president jogs every morning. They hate jogging so much that they call it "le jogging"--they haven't even made up a French word for it, which they do for everything because they hate using foreign words. Whereas we'd see jogging as maintaining one's health, they see it as "Sarkozy [fueling] a French suspicion that running is for self-centered individualists like Americans." Talk about cutting the tall flowers.

Though, I suppose, it's not completely black and white. Touchdowns are often made after a team working down the field and soccer goals can only be kicked in by one foot.

No comments: