Opinion

American Kids Need An American Sport

I’m still proud to be an American.

Our soccer team losing to a team from a country that is 1/22 the size of Texas is no reason for any American to hang his or her head. We fought the good fight. The Americans played four games and won one.

They tell me that, in soccer, that’s pretty good.

I try to know as little about soccer as I can. My problem is that, every time I force myself to watch it, I like it less.

I can’t get past the writhing.

Call me old school, but I prefer the, “Rub dirt on it and get back in there” approach to acting like you’ve been shot multiple times every time someone has the nerve to bump into you.

Polls show that liberals love soccer. How could they not?

It’s lots of hard work. Everybody is equally miserable and there’s very little reward. And lots of ties. Yep, hard work, plenty of misery, nothing is accomplished and nobody’s feeling are hurt.

Kind of like public schools in 2014.

The best description I’ve come across for soccer was in a piece written in 2009 by Wabash College philosophy professor Stephen H. Webb: “Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without bullets in their guns.”

Losing to Belgium may have been good for America.

Not because it will make us humble or because, if we had won and gone on to win the tournament, President Obama would have needed to go on another European apology tour, but because winning might have accelerated the growth of this dreadful sport in America.

The Soccernistas in the media would have you believe that the awe-inspiring 1-2-1 performance by our guys has already established soccer as America’s next big sport.

They don’t like to point out that “our guys” aren’t really ours the way, say, the US hockey team at the Winter Olympics was our guys.

The coach is from Germany. Five key players were born and raised in Germany. The German coach cut Landon Donovan, who (they tell me) is the best American player ever. Several other players are American only for the purpose of playing in the World Cup.

Lots of American kids are playing soccer and fewer are playing baseball. Why? Because all kids are playing organized sports too early and baseball is much harder to teach to four year-olds.

Organized sports have been turned upside down.

There was a time when a kid learned how to play a sport and THEN decided to join a team and get a uniform. Now, kids are assigned to a team and given a uniform and then taught how to play the game.

Roll a soccer ball out there and the kiddies start kicking it and there’s little or no failure. And it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

No thanks. Give me an America where kids grow up playing sports that require lots of mental and physical toughness and individuality. Keep the writhing to a minimum, please.

And for God’s sake, let the kids use their hands.

Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, Just Watch The Game. Follow him on Twitter.