PARIS — Soccer fans have decided to prove me wrong about soccer being a fruity sport by spending the last week throwing hissy fits. This, in defense of a “sport” where the losing players cry on camera.
The massive and hysterical response to my jovial sports piece proves how right I was. Nothing explains the uniform, Borg-like caterwauling, but that soccer is a game for beret-wearers. Most of the articles attacking me are verbless strings of obscenities, their subject matter identified only in the title.
Consequently, I’ve decided to emulate The New York Times, which runs the exact same column, year after year, “Soccer Catches On, Take 27,” by re-running mine on how excruciatingly boring soccer is.
This past week has allowed me to add several new items to my list of grievances.
Further proof that soccer is a game for girls: Since my column came out, a guy from the Paraguay team (Uruguay? Who cares?) was caught biting an opponent in a match. Not punching. Not a cross-body block. BITING! How long can it be until we see hair-pulling in soccer?
I was in Paris the night Algeria played Russia, prompting hordes of drunken Algerians to riot on the Champs Elysees, hanging out of cars, yelling and honking all night. V-Day was not celebrated with as much enthusiasm.
This was for a game that ended in a tie. Yes, a TIE — an exhilarating 1-1 final score. I don’t speak Arabic, but I assume they were shouting something like, “WE TIED! WE TIED! WE TIED!”
So in a 100-minute game, something happened two times and nothing happened 98 times.
As with Algeria’s glorious 1-1 tie game against Russia, Team USA tied Portugal and lost to Germany — and then advanced. How did the U.S. fail to win in two straight games, but advance in this apparently interminable tournament? I believe we are witnessing the implementation of that favorite rule of soccer moms: “Everybody’s a winner!!!”
The reason there are so many fights among spectators at soccer games is to compensate for the tedium. Fans feel like they’re watching a sport, so there ought to be excitement someplace. Even the players would rather watch the action in the stands than what’s happening on the field.
Being in France does expose me to a way of life that illustrates why foreigners like soccer so much. The BBC News network proves that Europeans are incapable of being bored.
You can never tell how much time is left in soccer, which only adds to the agony. The refs keep extending the game like snippy hall monitors with their little red cards and yellow cards.
Another crucial role of the refs is to stop the games for a “heat rest.” Tell that to NFL players in New Orleans or Miami, where regular-season games have reached temperatures of over 100 degrees. Two Super Bowls hit temperatures above 80 degrees — and football players are wearing about 100 pounds of gear, not the airy frocks of soccer players.
NFL players have died of heat stroke. The only risk of death in a soccer game is when some Third World peasant goes on a murderous rampage after a bad call.