I have never been a big sports fan. I even attended University of Texas at Austin and never saw a Longhorns football game. Usually, I can’t understand the entertainment value of watching a bunch of guys or girls run from one side of a large space to the other side carrying, kicking, or scooting an object and trying to put said object in a confined area for hours and hours. Maybe it’s because I get bored fairly quickly and unless my attention is completely captivated, I will find something else to watch or do.
Now being in England, they take soccer (football) very seriously. The entire city is decorated with flags, signs, and even the subway has the score posted on the marquee. So even if you make a conscious effort to avoid it, they want to make sure while you’re checking the time of your train, you know who won and who’s playing next.
I have been getting teased at my office this week with my lack of “appreciation” for football. Someone even asked me why it was Americans don’t watch as much soccer. I didn’t know how to answer really because I don’t understand how Americans can watch baseball, American football, or basketball. But I think Americans watch a decent amount of soccer (especially when David Beckham plays). But one colleague’s comment was about how over the top Americans are when they do support soccer.
I sat there for a moment as he flipped through picture after picture of enthusiastic Americans supporting their teams. My only response was that we see how the English do it and we just copy them. He was a little taken aback by my frankness, but it’s true. The English are just as gung-ho about their teams as America is about theirs.
Granted, I’m not in America right now to see if there are banners strewn along 6th street in Austin or if the bus stops have scores posted, but if America didn’t embrace soccer at first, where are we supposed to learn how to cheer for our team?
Friday night’s game of the Netherlands versus Spain was pretty captivating, I will say. And the Switzerland versus Ecuador game with the winning point won in the last five minutes was pretty astounding. I usually watch at least 20 minutes in between reading, but each time Jeff shouts, I know to look at the TV screen and see the replay of the goals.
But can we admit that watching soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. is watched for the same reason people watch Nascar? You just want to see the fouls, the injuries, and crashes. Sure the goals and wins are pretty extraordinary as it takes so long to get there, it’s just a relief to not have to stare at tiny men running around on a green platform anymore.