Monday, July 10, 2006

Force-fed Football?

Second post in a matter of minutes, but oh well. I thought of something to write/rant about.

I am so tired of hearing people complain about the World Cup being "shoved down their throat." When last I checked, I don't think that FIFA, ESPN, or ABC were forcing people to watch games at gun-point. If there has been a big deal made about it, it's because the World Cup is a big deal. It is an international event, with a far greater audience and wider fan base than any American sport or even the Olympics. Yet one never hears anyone accusing the networks of "force-feeding" us golfing tournaments.

One of my favorite radio personalities, Mark Belling, filled in on Rush's show this afternoon. He was driving me a little nuts. He kept saying that he "got" soccer and still found it boring and lacking any sort of strategy. It seemed to me that he was mistaking a knowledge of the rules of the game for an understanding of the game. I know the rules of golf, American football, baseball, NASCAR, and hockey, but I don't "get" any of them. I know how one would score in a game of American football, but the strategies and intricacies of the game are completely lost on me, and so I find the game incredibly dull. Having played and watched soccer for most of my life, however, I can see all of the finer points which are, apparently, lost on most of the American public.

I miss having World Cup games to watch already. I'm glad our satellite provider carries Fox Soccer Network and Telemundo so I can still get my FOOTBALL fix. ;o)

Incidently, Italy stinks, even if they are good-looking. Frace totally should have won....


Anonymous said...

I live in Kansas, and don't have cable because normally I don't watch much TV (almost none). However I tried to follow the World Cup as much as I could from watching the game on the network ABC or reading the scores/news from the Internet because I like soccer. However, the 2nd round games on Saturday on ABC was cut off by the local TV station. Instead of showing the game, the local station decided to show its regular Saturday church service. It's irritated me to no end because of the pretentiousness. I'm not anti-religion nor anti-Christian, in fact I think religion is good (necessary) for the soul. However, if a person is really religious or want to attend church, he will go to church. It's ridiculous to stay home and watch the church service on TV. It's like those people attending the drive-by church service and think (or act) as if they're really religious. Furthermore, those tele-evangelists are the cheap version of car salemen. They have no wisdom, no enlightment (but have lot of tax free money), tunnel vision, limited education, and loud mouth. They stand in the deep hole in the ground and want to pull more people down with them. Clearly the station believed that no one around is seriously watching soccer. I believed that this might be the similar case for other "deep south" States where American football is considering as a form of religion. Football = religion - now who is the referee?

Thomas said...

I believe that the British Thomas would most definitly agree with you on the ignorance of some people in regards to football. However, he would also reassure you to the fact that, according to the New York Times and many other news-worthy publications, football is rapidly over-taking American football.

Fickel said...

Thomas the Young said: "football is rapidly over-taking American football."

If you were older, you'd know that the sentence in the paper has been published regularly since at least the early 1970's. Still but a struggling professional league and a very poor national team to show for the "growth" of football in this country.

Bethany is correct in a sense. Thomas is the counter-example. Calling people ignorant because they do not understand or enjoy soccer is the kind of heavy-handedness Mr. Belling complained about. Why can't we simply dislike soccer and fail to appreciate it and not be ignorant or neanderthals?

I happen to enjoy a couple of sports that aren't that popular in America. Hockey is hard to watch on television, if you haven't watched a lot of it. Maybe HDTV will fix that, maybe not. Bicycle racing is rarely televised -- maybe six or seven races per year are easy to find. These are great sports, enjoyed by many throughout the world. I don't decieve myself into believing they are growing rapidly in this country. Here, they will always be cyclical. Soccer is the same.

Enjoy the World Cup and the Olympics and the Telemundo and whatever avenues you have to watch this sport that you love. Please, though, don't tell others they are ignorant because they don't love it too. Worlwide popularity is not measure. There are lots of things the world loves that I don't.


Bethany said...

Pr. Fickel-

I wasn't meaning to say that not enjoying soccer equals ignorance and I'm sorry if it came across that way. Perhaps picking on what Mr. Belling said was the wrong road to take. It was more the, "no real American is watching soccer, it's just those Euro-wannabes" attitude that was irking me. Perhaps I wandered too far from my original intentions for the post.

In my mind "getting" a sport means that you not only know all the rules of the game, but enjoy it. If someone finds a particular sport boring and uninteresting, of course that is a matter of taste.

When I said that I "got" soccer because I grew up with it, I didn't mean that I must be more enlightened than the morons around here. I just meant that, having had soccer around a lot, I am more "emotionally invested" in the game. Had I grown up watching/playing any other sport, I'm sure I'd feel the same about it.

Looking at what I wrote, I can see that it would probably be taken the wrong way. That would be the disadvantage of writing only a little bit of what is swirling around in my head- vital parts get left out, but I don't notice.

Thomas said...

I would like to point out that it was not me who made a comment about some people being ignorant about football, but it was in fact my counterpart British Thomas. I apologize for any offense he may have caused.

fickel said...


You said nothing that I found distasteful or off-putting. In fact, I thought you're post fairly even. However, Thomas the Brit did add the word ignorance to the discussion. It is he who added the naughtiness.

Of course, the regular Thomas is not to blame either. It is only his slightly younger, though far better looking, British counterpart.

All in all, though, my point was that Mr. Belling had one about force feeding. It's not that the networks forcefed soccer on television, its the gaggle of soccer fanboys running around telling everyone who doesn't like the game that they are ignorant, provincial, or Hiksos because they have a distaste for soccer.

Neither you or Thomas are in that group. I'm not so sure about British Thomas.


Thomas said...

British Thomas feels he is being misrepresented and would like to state that by ignorant he meant the meaning of "unaware or uniformed" and meant to use it in the sense that it seems many people are uniformed about football and dismiss it without giving it a chance.

He also told me that I spelled it wrong and that it is actually spelled "ignoraunt."