Just Doesn't Get It

By GotDesign
I figured something like this would happen. Frank Cannon & Richard Lessner wrote an article for the Weekly Standard titled Nil, Nil -- The nihilism of soccer: The more you look, the less there is to see. The article sound to me more like some backwoods hillbillies decrying the diversion of public interest from typical American sports (and trust me, living in Kentucky, I hear a lot of this. to Kentuckians there are only two sports -- Cardinal or Wildcat). But let's take a look what these two "learned" gentlemen have to say about soccer.

First they take aim at the U.S. Men's National Soccer team's match against Italy. Compared to the US's other matches (against the Czech Republic and Ghana), the match against Italy was remarkably well played. The US worked better together and showed a more aggressive spirit than they did in their match against the Czech Republic. And while the US team's lone goal was due to a shot being deflected by a defender into his own goal, American player Brian McBride was waiting at the back post for the pass that was deflected into the goal by the Italian defender. It would have been an American goal even without the Italian deflection.

Then the authors the move to their primary point -- not enough scoring. I can see that these gentlemen are probably great afficionados of professional basketball where scores often range near 100 points. But it seems to me this is more boring than soccer. When you're scoring 100 points per game how much time do you actually have for tactics and strategy? Many basketball fans I know cite this as the primary reason they have moved their interest to collegiate basketball. Except in the extreme, scoring has never been the primary determinant in what makes an exceptional game/match in American sports. More often than not, American sports have attributed greatness to the level of struggle in a game or match. The true giants of American sports have claim to their titles due to stratagem and talent, not ability to score. Pete Rose, for example, is considered great due to his hitting consistency. When the focus of American sports turns solely to scoring, we will get nothing but Barry Bonds clones.

Cannon and Lessner then take stabs at the fans of soccer. They belittle them for their enthusiasm over near misses and their notoriety for violence in defeat. But Americans are not to be left out of the fanaticism debate. I still cannot understand the draw of watching two dozen (or so) high powered automobiles speeding around an oval track. But fanaticism is not explained by its active environment, but by the emotional and psychological setting of the fans themselves. The fanaticism display in the stands of soccer pitch is more a product of the nihilism of their own lives that they ascribe so much personal meaning to soccer. European soccer fans have so little to hope for in their increasingly socialist home countries that they seek achievement and glory in 22 men kicking around a sown leather ball. South American and African fans have even less to which they can tie their personal identity. While I call myself a soccer fan, I do not find meaning in the actions of Beckham, Ronaldo, Donovan, Ronaldinho, or any other soccer phenom. I derive my meaning and self worth from the Lord God Almighty and his son, Jesus the Anointed One of God.

The authors denigrate soccer by claiming that any sport that denies players the use of their hands is contrary to nature. Golf? Duffers cannot simply pick up their dimpled white pellets and throw them up the fairway. They must use a club. Sounds cave-mannish! How about billiards? Tennis, anyone? In basketball you can't just run down the court, you must "dribble" the ball while you walk/run. There are plenty of sports where use of the body is restricted.

It sounds to me like the authors just have decided to respond to a drought in their usual sports fixations with a childish rant. I enjoy making references to Shakespeare so let me say that I think
"it [this article] is a tale Told by...idiot[s], full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5)"

1 comment so far.

  1. Anonymous 10:33 PM
    Please note this article was a joke.

    Written by the son of Frank Cannon

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