How two perfect moments in time brought such tremendous joy and pride to a nation.
June 4, 2002 9:15 PM   Subscribe

How two perfect moments in time brought such tremendous joy and pride to a nation. To me, this truly is the world's most beautiful game, if just for moments like these. I wish everyone could feel this kind of passion for something, whether it be football or not. Sadly, we may never experience this kind of a reaction to anything here in the US.
posted by dopamine (120 comments total)

 
Honey, who hasn't beat the Polish? My God, I'm so bad... just send me out to sea!
posted by geoff. at 9:29 PM on June 4, 2002


I understand what dopamine is saying. The Olympics seem to be the only time that we are able to rally behind a group of athletes as a nation; if then.
posted by rotifer at 9:37 PM on June 4, 2002


We're so used to winning with our mounds of Olympic medals that we dont know what it is to come from behind, as the underdog, and savor that exalting sense of triumph and hope which feels like a blessing from the gods.

There was a similar reaction in Senegal when they beat France, when the colonized beat the colonizers. People dancing and crying in the streets. Their sense of themselves, of their national identity, for the moment replenished.

Me, I can't get enough of the World Cup. Its human drama on the largest scale.
posted by vacapinta at 9:50 PM on June 4, 2002


Don't worry, people. In a few hours time - I have it on the highest authority - Portugal will be gentle with the U.S. team and the two great Atlantic nations shall go through to the next round. South Korea and Poland be damned. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:01 PM on June 4, 2002


And yet... our wonderboy Figo said today that the U.S. has more World Cup experience than Portugal and that they'd beaten us before. (Treacherous little bastard).
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:14 PM on June 4, 2002


We had that kind of celebration in Canada this year, when we finally won The One True Gold Medal. It's truly a day I'll remember for the rest of my life. Cars honking, people cheering, flags everywhere. Amazing, even if you're not a sports fan.
posted by Succa at 10:25 PM on June 4, 2002


While I love sports as much as the next pinko-commie- tree-hugging-alfalfa-eater, nationalism in all its many guises is pretty wacky.

Excellent play...heart...a lust for the game... sportsmanship...these qualities know no national boundaries. Cheer it wherever you see it.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:43 PM on June 4, 2002


Not to be a parade-rainer, but :

It's been reported in the Korean media here that in the wee wee hours of this morning (edit : yesterday morning, now), outside the hotel at Haeundae Beach in Busan where the Polish team is staying, a large crown gathered. A large crowd of Korean fans. They proceeded to make a large noise. In order to deliberately deprive the Polish team of their beauty sleep.

I'm not sure if this is standard procedure or not, for the supporters of the home teams in host countries to try to disturb the sleep of competitors in hopes of a small advantage for the home team. I don't follow this soccer stuff very much.

Congratulations to the Korean team. They looked pretty well-rested out there.

[end crosspost from my blog]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:56 PM on June 4, 2002


Succa: We did? Weird. I must have been napping as I'm in Toronto and haven't a clue to what you're referring to.

I have no idea why people get excited about watching sports. I love playing them but am baffled at the enthusiasm people have for being spectators.

Though I can understand the fascination with a well-executed play, the mass hysteria boggles the mind.

With the exception of maybe Star Wars and phenomena of that ilk, nothing baffles me more than people running thru the streets waving sports franchise flags and yelling at the top of their lungs.
posted by dobbs at 10:56 PM on June 4, 2002


dobbs, you're a typical Torontonian (i.e. clueless to your surroundings)

kidding! relaxation!

Anyway, the fun of sports is the emotional investment you choose to make in them. You latch on to your team and get taken for a ride, of ups and downs but usually downs. It's no different than being a fan of anything else, really.
posted by Succa at 11:06 PM on June 4, 2002


I live in a country that is obsessed with soccer (Spain). I can't buy it anymore...
It's just a business and an instrument for dumbing down the masses.
Worst of all, it's boring!
posted by samelborp at 11:30 PM on June 4, 2002


If anyone's interested, Brit sportswriter Michael Davies is presently in Japan covering the games for ESPN in a series entitled "The Other Football -- A World Cup Diary". He's already on day 4, so you've got some catching up to do, but the writing is good and the analysis is at once very entertaining and astute. Day one contains "Ten random reasons, in a 4-4-2 formation, that Americans might actually want to give a crap about this World Cup." My favorite is:

"The French are the favorites. You're American and therefore hate the French. If the idea of them winning it again doesn't bother you because, after all, it's not the NFL or baseball or le basket, think how much pleasure winning it twice in a row would give the French people. You're with me. Root against them. But marvel at how good they are."

And congrats to Korea. They are fast like nobody's business. I would never laugh at the man who bets on them to take it all. They just might. Wish it was Japan, tho.

Nip-pon (clap-clap-clap) Nip-pon (clap-clap-clap)!
posted by Bixby23 at 11:33 PM on June 4, 2002


Maybe this comment reveals too much about my psyche, but I can't help thinking that, at the end of the World Cup, the people of 30 nations will feel like their hearts have been ripped out (I don't include the U.S., as only .07% of the nation will care). Perhaps having watched my beloved Mariners get their eyes gouged out by the big-money Yankees two years in a row has made me over-sensitive to the authentic pain that fans risk.

If the news reports are to be believed, Argentinians are turning to the idea of a World Cup as a desperate solace for the near-total collapse of their society. This news makes me very alarmed. I'm afraid that Argentina is going to get hammered right in its collective face.
posted by argybarg at 11:35 PM on June 4, 2002


> It's no different than being a fan of anything else, really.

Not really.

Musicians and most other performers are appreciated for what they do, while athletes are appreciated for where they play: sports fans are almost always place fans. No matter how good the Detroit Red Wings are, the folk in Toronto are (or were) cheering for the Leafs.

And when a band plays a great show, people yell for them, the band, and whoop about how effing great they were, but when a team wins a game, people scream that we won, that we are number one. This we includes, for example, the fat drunk blind one-legged chain-smoker at the end of the bar who has never played the game and doesn't even know most of the rules or the names of the players. But when the local team wins, he feels as if he wins. It's his team, he thinks, even when they suck, and he actually angry and depressed when they lose a "big" game.

Sports fans probably make the best foot soldiers.
posted by pracowity at 12:08 AM on June 5, 2002


I was in a downtown Vancouver sports bar when we won the gold in hockey and celebrated with thousands of others in the streets for hours afterwards. A friend of mine was walking along the streets downtown not aware it was the final seconds of the game. He said that all of a sudden the city came alive. People screeming out of their apartments and rushing into the streets. My picture was in the local paper the next day standing tall and waving the flag. One of my greatest days ever.
posted by futureproof at 12:09 AM on June 5, 2002


Counterpoint.

I think it's fine to cheer for your national team, but I don't think one needs to get all holy about the beauty of soccer. We've got our own sports in the US, thank you very much, and it's not like we can't appreciate the magical allure of supreme athletic talent.
posted by dhartung at 12:14 AM on June 5, 2002


I think it's funny to decry soccer as nationalistic and then point out how our sports are better than theirs.
posted by vacapinta at 1:59 AM on June 5, 2002


'king hell USA 1-0 Portugal


Don't worry, people. In a few hours time - I have it on the highest authority - Portugal will be gentle with the U.S. team and the two great Atlantic nations shall go through to the next round. South Korea and Poland be damned. :)

posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:01 PM PST on June 4


Name your sources Miguel
posted by fullerine at 2:10 AM on June 5, 2002


This we includes, for example, the fat drunk blind one-legged chain-smoker at the end of the bar who has never played the game and doesn't even know most of the rules or the names of the players. But when the local team wins, he feels as if he wins. It's his team, he thinks, even when they suck, and he actually angry and depressed when they lose a "big" game.

Sports fans probably make the best foot soldiers.


Bollocks. That's not a sports fan for a start. It's funny how some people get wrapped up in sport and some don't, but it's got nothing to do with how unquestioningly nationalist you are, as far as I can tell. Some of the most rabid football and rugby fans I know would be the first out of the country in case of war. Nick Hornby's a case in point.
posted by Summer at 2:13 AM on June 5, 2002


Name your sources Miguel

2-0 and it certainly looks like self-sabotage.
posted by Summer at 2:30 AM on June 5, 2002


> Bollocks. That's not a sports fan for a start.

If he roots for the team and pays attention to the games and is interested in the results, he's a fan. Guys who sit in the stadium and guzzle beer and get into fights over their teams are also fans. Maybe not athletes, but those are quite distinct things.

Or is it the foot soldiers bit you don't like? ("it's got nothing to do with how unquestioningly nationalist you are") The psychology of unquestionably following a team, investing yourself in its success, all based simply on where the team is instead of its intrinsic merits, is similar. If you can be gung ho (to the point of screams and tears, ecstasy and depression) for the Korean football team, you are promising material (psychologically) for the Korean army.

(This is supposed to be the current US-Portugal score. I don't know how quickly they update the thing.)
posted by pracowity at 2:34 AM on June 5, 2002


Incredible (3-1)
Portugal has no defense.
Four goals in the first half. wow.

This might turn out to be a really good game.
posted by vacapinta at 2:40 AM on June 5, 2002


Here in Kyoto I could hear the cheering in the neighborhood yesterday evening with each of Japan's two goals, and the painful gasps with each of Belgiums two goals. Having grown up in America, I am socially conditioned to scoff at soccer, but I am trying to broaden my perspective.

From the linked story: Many of the early arrivals cheered Belgium and booed rival and co-hosts Japan during their earlier 2-2 draw in Saitama.

That's sad. You won't see the converse here in Japan.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:51 AM on June 5, 2002


That's because the Koreans never occupied Japan, planetkyoto...
posted by salmacis at 3:00 AM on June 5, 2002


If he roots for the team and pays attention to the games and is interested in the results, he's a fan.

Yes, but...

and doesn't even know most of the rules or the names of the players.

Then no he isn't

Or is it the foot soldiers bit you don't like?

Yes

The psychology of unquestionably following a team, investing yourself in its success, all based simply on where the team is instead of its intrinsic merits, is similar. If you can be gung ho (to the point of screams and tears, ecstasy and depression) for the Korean football team, you are promising material (psychologically) for the Korean army.

Bollocks. I can't speak for Korea but that's certainly not the case in Europe. If you talk to people who have a strong emotional reaction to sport they are far from unquestioning, which is the principal quality you need to be a good foot soldier. They support their team and they can't help themselves, but they know exactly what that team's failings are. Part of the pleasure for a lot of people is endlessly picking over what's gone wrong and blaming individuals for that. Sports fans are not like foot soldiers, they're like armchair generals. They're also fickle. If a football manager isn't performing he won't be given the benefit of the doubt by adoring fans, he'll be out of a job. The ability to identify yourself with a group is not the same psychologically as being inclined to follow orders. That's very presumptuous.
posted by Summer at 3:04 AM on June 5, 2002


Hey, it's Metafilter out there!

What a great team the U.S. are!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:04 AM on June 5, 2002


Just remember the Korea match, 1966 Miguel.
posted by Summer at 3:10 AM on June 5, 2002


> That's because the Koreans never occupied Japan

Yes, that does make a difference. If the Russians played here in Poland, I don't think they would get a great reception.

> That's very presumptuous.

As is your assertion to the contrary. Presumption is a fine thing. Presume away!
posted by pracowity at 3:11 AM on June 5, 2002


Anyone know of a live webcast of the current match? I'm stuck at work.
posted by Optamystic at 3:23 AM on June 5, 2002


Me too. We're watching Yahoo coverage. It's photo's and text.
posted by thijsk at 3:26 AM on June 5, 2002


Text only I'm afraid as there are no webcast rights...

Here.
posted by i_cola at 3:31 AM on June 5, 2002


There's something about that map of where the Michael Jordan Imax film is showing in the world that doesn't seem to include the rest of it outside the USA and the token Japan and European markets dhartung. Imax and Nike and Hanes and Gatorade and pretty much everything else that sums up commercialization pretty much sums up why Michael Jordan is "larger than life". In countries without Imax screens, heroism could be perhaps, more authentic.
posted by crasspastor at 3:34 AM on June 5, 2002


The BBC coverage (here) can be made more, er, colourful if you download your own Mini Motty.
posted by malpractice at 3:44 AM on June 5, 2002


As is your assertion to the contrary. Presumption is a fine thing. Presume away!

My presumption is based on observation. Yours is based on, er, nothing.
posted by Summer at 3:44 AM on June 5, 2002


Thanks i_cola.
posted by Optamystic at 3:45 AM on June 5, 2002


Well that was conversion football if ever I saw it - designed to convert the U.S.A. to the joys of association football. All the thrills and spills in one addictive little ninety-minute package.

Forget your heathen sports and join the rest of us! And congratulations. Today you became world players. No grrrs about it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:54 AM on June 5, 2002


I think it's fine to cheer for your national team, but I don't think one needs to get all holy about the beauty of soccer. We've got our own sports in the US, thank you very much, and it's not like we can't appreciate the magical allure of supreme athletic talent.

dhartung: Thanks for that ;-) I'm going to print that out & stick it up on the wall here at work. Smiles all round *heheheh*

And USA win...brilliant. I really hope you guys do well this time. And I'll bet Mr Anchutz is too...
posted by i_cola at 3:55 AM on June 5, 2002


> My presumption is based on observation.

And I am blind. Yes, I know. I'm having my eyes looked at. Luckily for us, you see all.
posted by pracowity at 3:56 AM on June 5, 2002


Can I be the first to say well done to the USA. I thought it was going to be a rought but never mind how Portugal played, the USA deserved it for their thrid goal which was pure class.

This is turning out to be a classic World Cup.
posted by fullerine at 4:09 AM on June 5, 2002


USA USA USA
posted by raaka at 4:10 AM on June 5, 2002


And I am blind. Yes, I know. I'm having my eyes looked at. Luckily for us, you see all.

Yes I do actually.
posted by Summer at 4:13 AM on June 5, 2002


1) Do those self goals happen often? Is two in one game common?

2) Somebody explain offsides.
posted by raaka at 4:18 AM on June 5, 2002


Two OGs is a bit unusual in one match.

Offisde is simple.
posted by fullerine at 4:24 AM on June 5, 2002


Now someone explain the difference between a three-point stance and a four-point stance at a line of scrimmage.

Oh, and pinch-hitting.
posted by fullerine at 4:26 AM on June 5, 2002


Now we just need Ireland to slaughter Germany.
posted by Summer at 4:28 AM on June 5, 2002


The U.S. hasn't won a World Cup, but I would call the 1980 win over the Soviets in Olympic hockey a "perfect moment in time [that] brought such tremendous joy and pride to a nation" and a chance to "come from behind, as the underdog, and savor that exalting sense of triumph and hope which feels like a blessing from the gods."

Coming at the end of a decade that included VietNam, WaterGate, inflation, and gas lines, the victory was timed like the happy ending to a movie.

Even if we one day win the World Cup, I wonder if it will feel the same, given the general sentiment that pro athletes are a bunch of overpaid ingrates.
posted by rcade at 5:20 AM on June 5, 2002


'Even if we one day win the World Cup'

*snort*... I love you man.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:22 AM on June 5, 2002


Hey, at least I didn't predict it.
posted by rcade at 5:30 AM on June 5, 2002


this makes more sense to me :)

"The Lakers are the favorites. You're American and therefore hate the Lakers. If the idea of them winning it again doesn't bother you because, after all, it's not the NFL or baseball or college basketball, think how much pleasure winning it three times in a row would give Laker fans. You're with me. Root against them. But marvel at how good they are."

go nets! wings lost tho :(
posted by kliuless at 5:32 AM on June 5, 2002


I don't know a thing about sports, specifically football--American or otherwise--but I have noticed much more US media coverage of the World Cup this year--even more than the year it was here in Chicago it seems. So maybe the US is catching on to the football thing. As for the US feeling a sense of passion about something, I don't know. There's a guy I work with who has a countdown to the "Pitchers and Catchers Report" starting moments after the World Series is completed each year. (He's also a Cubs fan...so he tends to be a dreamer.) There's lots of sports for the Americans to feel passionate about.
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:37 AM on June 5, 2002


Before long Americans will forget that there ever was a time without soccer and will claim to have invented the game.

Class.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:39 AM on June 5, 2002


There was a pretty clear hand ball in the box by U.S. number 21 on the first goal by the way. It was incidental, and only caused a slight deflection, but it was there.
posted by jonnyp at 5:59 AM on June 5, 2002


I think it'll take us a while before soccer overtakes the Canadian sport as our third national pastime. And I kinda doubt we'll ever call it 'football'.
posted by darukaru at 5:59 AM on June 5, 2002


Yay! Ireland just drew with Germany at the last minute! Stuff Roy Keane. I've never liked football but am getting quite fond of it...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:26 AM on June 5, 2002


we dont know what it is to come from behind, as the underdog, and savor that exalting sense of triumph and hope which feels like a blessing from the gods

But once the Red Sox win, we will. Bandwagon riders who follow teams simply because they're good don't fit my definition of "sports fans." The point is to follow whatever team you pick blindly. If you suffer through the bad times, maybe you earn the right to say "we" when the team of complete strangers you root for wins.
posted by yerfatma at 6:28 AM on June 5, 2002


Whether you like it or not, ask a seven year old from Basingstoke whether he wants to support Manchester United or Basingstoke and you'll be hard pushed to get Basingstoke as an answer.
Cause let's face it, Basingstoke don't feature much on pencil cases, t-shirts or Match Of The Day.

I'm sure the same applies to the US and comparing The Yankees with the Hog City Dust-Wipes.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:40 AM on June 5, 2002


designed to convert the U.S.A. to the joys of association football.
No, Miguel, no way. Now the good American players after the Portugal game think that in soccer there is no defense.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as defense. Unless of course you're playing vs Portugal

;)
posted by matteo at 6:45 AM on June 5, 2002


Joke from Jay Leno last night: "They say 3 billion people watched World Cup soccer on TV last night. Three billion and three, if you count the people who watched in America." Amen.
posted by Faze at 6:50 AM on June 5, 2002


Um. Did we all forget what happens in the winning city of the World Series almost every year? Lots of college sports see riots after their wins. I think we've got a few events going on in the States that make us as gleeful as ever.
posted by fnirt at 6:56 AM on June 5, 2002


Macadamiaranch: "Pitchers and catchers report" are four of the best words in the English language.
posted by rcade at 6:56 AM on June 5, 2002


I don't see why anyone should care whether the US gets into football or not. Why on earth does it matter?
posted by Summer at 6:58 AM on June 5, 2002


Because at the moment we eat football, sleep football and drink shit loads of lager.
posted by Frasermoo at 7:01 AM on June 5, 2002


Jaysus, the luck of the Irish, an equalizer in the final 30 seconds!

I'm off to the Irish bar in Shinjuku.
posted by dydecker at 7:06 AM on June 5, 2002


My eleven-year old nephew is a sports maniac. He can get worked up over just about any kind of sweaty, grunting, head-banging, bone-crunching athletic competition ever created. When I asked him what he thought of the World Cup he shrugged and said, "Soccer? Soccer is for girls".
posted by jellybuzz at 7:10 AM on June 5, 2002


Soccer = Football in America, doesn't it? Now, footie that we play over here, thats a proper manly sport.. Nothing like a good kickabout on an English pitch in December (think: quagmire).

I think I remember seeing MLS a few years ago.. Do they still have ridiculously high scorelines and those odd penalties from the half way line?
posted by Mossy at 7:18 AM on June 5, 2002


rcade: "The season is cancelled" are four of the worst words in the English language.

I really hope I don't hear it this year.
posted by grum@work at 7:20 AM on June 5, 2002


Because at the moment we eat football, sleep football and drink shit loads of lager.

Zactly. Their loss.
posted by Summer at 7:28 AM on June 5, 2002


Aye, grum@work. Cancellation of the baseball season would be a tragedy. Unlike the total disappearance of soccer (footer). Which would only be noticed in countries which didn't matter, i.e., the non-U.S. I'm not much of a patriot, but I have to admit, my chest swells with pride when I think of how America has resisted European football for all these decades. There's a reason why we dominate the world. It begins with these words: "Play ball!" (Or these words: "Musical comedy!")
posted by Faze at 7:29 AM on June 5, 2002


"Soccer? Soccer is for girls".
Jellybuzz, he said that because he probably knows that the average American schoolgirl can kick and control and head a soccer ball better than the average American boy of the same age.
It's beyond me, the reason why American girls fell in love with the sport (and won a World Cup, congratulations) and boys don't like it. It's a great sport
Btw, I think that American basically like sports they excel at (basketball, football, baseball). When the quality of the game in the American championship is worse than abroad, Americans don't like it. It's a shame: the rest of the world loves basketball, baseball and to a certain extent football, even if they know that their national championship is nothing compared to the USA standard. But foreigners go to local games anyway, and watch NBA, NFL and MLB on TV to get a taste of excellence.
Americans don't. They lost a World Cup game against Iran and they decided soccer is not worth it
I hope that today's win (congratulations, great game even if the Portuguese were asleep or something) boosts the sport somehow in the US. It's a great sport, it's too bad a great country does not appreciate it yet
posted by matteo at 7:44 AM on June 5, 2002


matteo: You're wrong on a couple of points. The rest of the world is far less interested in American sports than you realise. Basketball is fairly popular in places (although there isn't a league outside America with a decent average attendance.) Baseball is popular in a few localised areas, mainly the Carribbean and the Far East, but generally has less worldwide interest than cricket. Nobody outside the States plays American football at all, or at least, the sport is played elsewhere like cricket is in the States.

On the other hand, quite a few Americans do like soccer. Average attendance for MLS is about 14,000, and for WUSA, 7,000. That's not chickenfeed, even if it isn't NFL levels.

Faze: piss off to Fark if you want to troll. MeFi is not the place.
posted by salmacis at 8:05 AM on June 5, 2002


when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty? sports suck. out loud.
posted by quonsar at 8:23 AM on June 5, 2002


salmacis
I hear you man, MLS and women's soccer attendance are exciting.
Anyway in Continental europe there's American Football leagues and baseball leagues also ( I sometimes watch Italian baseball on tv, it's not as bad as Americans would imagine ), it's not an invisible phenomenon.

Anyway, did you know that when it comes to participants the most popular sport worldwide is volleyball, hands down?
Basketball second, table tennis (really!) third and soccer only fourth?
posted by matteo at 8:24 AM on June 5, 2002


Btw, I think that American basically like sports they excel at (basketball, football, baseball).

i would respectfully contend that it's the other way around.
posted by hob at 8:24 AM on June 5, 2002


As someone who finds watching sports very boring I think the attraction of the World Cup is its unpredictable and democratic nature. It's not all about who's richest and more powerful, as club football increasingly is, since the richest clubs can buy the best players. The underdog, as proven today, can be the U.S. and can win against one of the best teams in the world - even though Portugal is a tiny country(10 million)and the second poorest in the EC. Or Senegal and win against the world champions.

It's a great leveller and it's exciting.

Also, for a spectator it's nice to know an expert doesn't have a much better chance of predicting a result or a winner than anyone else.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:30 AM on June 5, 2002


Somewhere, on the other side of the world, barely conscious and surrounded by unopened Champagne bottles, someone is crying.

It's the Baby Portuguesus.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

What a great game! Beautiful!
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:31 AM on June 5, 2002


there's also the wonderful and exciting world of a-league soccer!

ping-pong rules btw. they don't show it enough on tv, except in that new p.o.d. video :)
posted by kliuless at 8:33 AM on June 5, 2002


hob
I'm talking about tv ratings and game attendance...
the point is, is there a sport beloved by millions of Americans even if Americans suck at that game? I don't think there is. Soccer? Formula One? (Indy drivers suck at F1, F1 drivers kick ass in Indy...)
When it comes to tv audiences, Americans like a sport where they have the world leadership. They probably don't like it if other countries can easily kick their ass, and they don't want the trouble to have to watch foreign championships (of course American soccer fans are better off watching Brazilian or Italian or English soccer games than MLS)
posted by matteo at 8:35 AM on June 5, 2002


when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty? sports suck. out loud.

Note quonsar's devotion to deep, serious issues like peace and the end of hunger at his listed user page, the Everlasting Blort.

Great. You think sports suck. That's so, like, radical! So why would you even bother to show up in a sports-related thread?
posted by Skot at 8:36 AM on June 5, 2002


Sports promote teambuilding, health and when England play at 10.30 in the morning, filthy all -dayers.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:41 AM on June 5, 2002


We had that kind of celebration in Canada this year

That's what I thought of right away too, Succa. We had people in the streets making noise and being seen for hours after the game in Vancouver. It was nice.
posted by holycola at 8:42 AM on June 5, 2002


when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty? sports suck. out loud.

what is the point of promoting peace, abundance and the end of hunger if not so that we can get on with the important things, like sports? seriously, if you can't see the need for games, lesiure and serious beer drinking then i don't want to be part of your revolution.
posted by hob at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2002


Coming from a more or less standard American viewpoint (heaps of baseball, a ton of hockey, garnish with football and basketball) I've still managed over the last 2 years to become something of a soccer (EPL specifically) fanatic. The culprits? Tagging along with English and Irish expats down to the pub at ungodly hours to watch games on a scratchy satellite whilst downing Guinnesses (Guinni?)

I truly believe a large number of Americans would embrace the game if they saw it played at the highest levels and received a bit of background from a mentor. Before my enlightenment, I'd been dragged to a few MLS games and promptly dozed off. But watching the EPL, Serie A, La Liga, etc. was a completely different experience. The day I found myself completely mesmerized watching Thierry Henry's feet while he dribbled around 3 defenders was when I knew I was hooked.

Bottom line: Soccer can be dreadfully dull at times but can be as exciting as anything in sport, just as "our" sports can. We point to the excitement of the hail mary pass or the open field run in football but conveniently forget those long stretches where everyone: lines up, crashes into each other for .5 seconds, moves everything forward a yard, waits 40 seconds, repeats (Yes, I'm a Giants fan....). There's a similar corollary for most American sports. So if you don't like soccer, fine - but don't think we're nuts for loving it.
posted by jalexei at 8:58 AM on June 5, 2002


is there a sport beloved by millions of Americans even if Americans suck at that game?

hockey. we have been getting our asses kicked by the canadians for a century and yet we're still wildly enthusiastic about the game. why do you think it was such a big deal that we whupped the russians? and since the seventies, when there was this big wierd hockey thing here, we've gotten much better at it.
posted by hob at 9:00 AM on June 5, 2002


Faze:

Cancellation of the baseball season would be a tragedy. Unlike the total disappearance of soccer (footer). Which would only be noticed in countries which didn't matter, i.e., the non-U.S. I'm not much of a patriot, but I have to admit, my chest swells with pride when I think of how America has resisted European football for all these decades.

Let's face it, the reasons that Americans hate football/soccer is because we royally suck ass at it compared to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, baseball is the most boring and wussy team sport ever (with the possible exception of cricket).

See George Carlin:

In baseball if it rains, we don't go out to play. "I can't go out! It's raining out!"

Not that I really give a rat's ass.

Team sports in general bore me into a coma.
posted by mark13 at 9:07 AM on June 5, 2002


Football is the beautiful game because it's like sex. It's all about trying to break through the defense, a period of hectic physical effort, and a moment of pure joy.
posted by SiW at 9:13 AM on June 5, 2002


Football is the beautiful game because it's like sex...
...a period of hectic physical effort

90 minutes of it?
posted by matteo at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2002


I'm not much of a patriot, but I have to admit, my chest swells with pride when I think of how America has resisted European football for all these decades

*heheh* The point (such that it is) is not to do with 'European Football'. Football, of the association variety, is the world's game.

The World Cup has brought so many people together which is a good thing in lotsa folks' libraries...

...and what Miguel said.

[And generous in defeat too - read & learn little Faze]
posted by i_cola at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2002


90 minutes of it?

Well not anymore..

I was actually referring to slowly playing it around in the back, getting it upfield, then a burst of speed past a couple of defenders and scoring. (Pick and choose your innuendos there).

The comparison wasn't just a lame attempt at comedy btw, I really do think that the build-up/release is what makes football so exciting to watch.. My (American) wife said the same thing when she became a convert.

And those of you who return to the old "Americans don't like soccer because we suck at it" argument haven't been keeping up. Current FIFA rankings have the USA listed 13th in the world, just behind England at 12. And the US just beat 5th-ranked Portugal.

Now that US players appear regularly in European teams and the MLS is maturing, the days of the national team being crap are over.
posted by SiW at 9:29 AM on June 5, 2002


[american] Football is the beautiful game because it's like sex.

interesting as it's most commonly compared with strategic warfare (& chess, which is also compared with warfare)

It's all about trying to break through the defense, a period of hectic physical effort, and a moment of pure joy.

bleah. men suck.
posted by mdn at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2002


"It's beyond me, the reason why American girls fell in love with the sport (and won a World Cup, congratulations) and boys don't like it."

I think it's pretty simple: it's one of the few sports available for young girls to play. And it's not a bastardized version of a boy's sport (e.g. softball. Underhand pitching? Come on!) With youth soccer leagues all over the country, young girls have the opportunity to play a great game that doesn't cost a lot of money and is tremendous fun to participate in. Young boys have more choices -- Pop Warner football, Little League, ice hockey. And as I recall, the local basketball court was always filled with boys, creating a very intimidating environment for a girl to play in.
posted by megnut at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2002


Costa Rica (the entire country) had a huge party until Tuesday morning. We won 2-0 to China. You can't imagine the people dancing and hugging on the street, even if everybody had to go to work/school next morning.

I don't know why, but there seem to be bigger parties when we beat up the U.S team, even if we think they suck. I guess it is because once the U.S. team came to visit and they behaved like shit with local press/people. Since we have thousands of U.S. tourists all year long, some naive gringos joined the party waving the U.S. flag and cheering for their team. Poor guys.
posted by papalotl at 10:02 AM on June 5, 2002


mdn - sorry you missed my point. I'm talking about real (round ball) football which is all about build-up.

American football is about power and planning. If I was comparing that to sex, I'd be a serial rapist.
posted by SiW at 10:21 AM on June 5, 2002


bleah. men suck.

bleah. women suck.
posted by mrhappy at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2002


bleah. men suck.

bleah. women suck.


Today on CrossFire.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2002


The beautiful and fascinating thing about soccer is that it's so incredibly difficult to do right. Unlike many (most?) sports, a world-class soccer match consists of the players getting it wrong for the majority of the game - passes are intercepted, tackles missed, players caught out of position, goal kicks straight to the opposition.

At the top level, other sports often seem to be won by default - the opposition made a mistake - but in soccer its the rare combination of moves that go right that wins games - passes into exactly the right space, long high crosses timed perfectly to the head of a centre-forward, beautiful curving shots around defenders and into the corner of the net, balletic footwork to reveal the goal as a clear target.

It's the expectation of success when there's so much that can and will go wrong that makes the game so engaging.
posted by normy at 10:57 AM on June 5, 2002


One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread, is that Basketball and American Football require a lot more money than Soccer (Football). To play Basketball requires a paved court, backboard and rim. American Football requires tons of expensive equipment. To play Soccer (Football), all you need is a ball and a field and a simple goal frame (a net is nice, but not necessary).

I think this is one reason Soccer (Football) is so much more popular in the rest of the world.

As a confirming example, Baseball, which requires a little more expense (you need a bat and gloves as well as a ball) is more popular in other countries than American Football, and maybe Basketball.
posted by straight at 11:02 AM on June 5, 2002


Did not the citizens of this country flock to the streets when the Lakers beat the Kings? Oh yeah, that's right, we all rolled our eyes with disgust and longed for the return of
West Wing.
posted by mecran01 at 11:11 AM on June 5, 2002


its probably because we spend the majority of our days simulating emotion watching garbage like the West Wing.
posted by Satapher at 11:31 AM on June 5, 2002


Skot: kindly tell me WTF my website has to do with my comment here? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. your remark is a complete non-sequiter. so because i beleive sports in schools and sports pervasive throughout society only fosters cruelty and meanness and distracts us from important issues i am ineligible to publish a humorous, flippant, bizarre and stupid website? what an asshole you are. i bothered to show up in a sports related thread in order to make my statement. thats why. and thanks for the link, every mention of my site in a mefi thread boosts traffic enormously. why don't you go throw a ball around or something?
posted by quonsar at 11:57 AM on June 5, 2002


Oooh, Somebody didn't get picked at tryouts.
posted by SiW at 12:08 PM on June 5, 2002


If sport does nothing else, it keeps a lot of people from turning into slobs.
posted by MUD at 12:10 PM on June 5, 2002


Skot: kindly tell me WTF my website has to do with my comment here?

You showed up in a thread devoted solely to talking about a sporting event to drop in a pissy, self-righteous comment in which you lamented that people basically don't pay attention to Big Important Stuff like world peace and hunger. I posit that your website stands as an index of the hypocrisy of your own statement, which is why I brought it up. I never said anything about you being "ineligible" to publish your website, whatever that could possibly mean.

i bothered to show up in a sports related thread in order to make my statement.

And it was a really stupid statement, which was sort of my point. But as you eloquently point out, I'm an asshole, so what do you care? Play ball!
posted by Skot at 12:15 PM on June 5, 2002


<way off topic>kindly tell me WTF my website has to do with my comment here? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING...i bothered to show up in a sports related thread in order to make my statement. thats why.

Actually, Skot's link and contention has everything to do with your website, quonsar, because clearly you implied that the world should be thinking about the aforementioned "important things", whereas your site seems to contradict your self-aggrandizing statement. If you really wished to make a statement about violence, then you ought to have made yourself clearer.

Come to think about it, you would have been much better served to start a new thread and made an attempt to elicit learned discussion based on something on the web rather than trash the thread with your admittedly unclear comment. By tossing your off-topic (or at best, tangentially-related) quip onto this thread, your statement is rendered weak and ineffectual.</way off topic>
posted by Avogadro at 12:17 PM on June 5, 2002


Football to most is not macro, it's micro. It's about being selfless within a team. In earlier times it was a genuine poor man's sport, and essentially it can be socialism in action. Look at greedy, prima donna Roy Keane. Think of how one twat like him has unified the rest of his team mates to play beyond themselves...

I played football early every Saturday morning with friends and against people I didn't know from the age of 8 to 14. Pure joy. People who would normally spit on each other come together and learn about each other sometimes.

The best football is art, a thing of pure beauty and craft. And we all know the reason Football has failed in the US for ages is because 'not enough points get scored'.
posted by boneybaloney at 12:24 PM on June 5, 2002


bleah. women suck.

well, that's true too.

sorry misunderstood you SiW.

posted by mdn at 12:28 PM on June 5, 2002


its probably because we spend the majority of our days simulating emotion watching garbage like the West Wing.
posted by Satapher at 11:31 AM PST on June 5


oooooh, I bet you're sitting at home reading War and Peace right now...
posted by mecran01 at 12:40 PM on June 5, 2002


And we all know the reason Football has failed in the US for ages is because 'not enough points get scored'.

Though I cant find them now, I've read some good articles in the past about how Americans love of high scores is tied to their love of excess. How soccer, on the other hand, is closer to a philosophy of life that recognizes that we mostly struggle and fight and only rarely, when fortune and timing and skill have all gone our way, do we reach these climactic moments which, when they occur, have the quality of an orgasm.

Pragmatism vs. fatalism perhaps. Something like that.
posted by vacapinta at 12:48 PM on June 5, 2002


Skot:
And it was a really stupid statement, which was sort of my point.
'sort of your point.' hmmm. i wonder why you did not just make your point. ok, we'll go by your standards of self expression and clarity: humanity would be better served expending the energy and time spent on sport by working on peace and eliminating hunger. that was 'sort of my point'.

Avogadro:
because clearly you implied that the world should be thinking about the aforementioned "important things", whereas your site seems to contradict your self-aggrandizing statement. If you really wished to make a statement about violence, then you ought to have made yourself clearer.
implication takes part in the listener. not in the speaker. my words were my words. my words are 'sorta my point', to apply Skot's standard. you don't hear what is said, you hear what you hear. 'self aggrandizing'? where did i bring my SELF into this? i did not. Skot and you did. you both chose to infer meanings and interpretations that were not a part of my sentence. for example:
trash the thread with your admittedly unclear comment
you actually have me 'admitting' something about the clarity of my comment, and i've done no such thing.

you both apply a standard to my remarks which seem to require consistency in every facet of my life with my one-off statement about sport being unproductive (another "sorta my point"). niether one of you could meet such a standard. none but the pathologically obsessed could.
posted by quonsar at 1:24 PM on June 5, 2002


when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty? sports suck. out loud

This is where you brought yourself into it. You attack our own devotion to what is, admittedly, ultimately pointless, but you seem to have no problem pursuing your own ultimately pointless pursuits. Can you say "hypocrisy?"

implication takes part in the listener. not in the speaker. my words were my words

If you were not then implying that sports are pointless, and that people ought to stop paying attention to them, I humbly request that you clarify what you point was.

sports in schools and sports pervasive throughout society only fosters cruelty and meanness and distracts us from important issues

Oh, so these things that you've linked are fostering only the best of human behavior, eh?

what an asshole you are

That's just mean, and may even qualify as cruelty or meanness.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:06 PM on June 5, 2002


Hey, if anything can bring about peace, albeit temporary, it's football.
posted by SiW at 2:07 PM on June 5, 2002


niether one of you could meet such a standard

They aren't the ones belittling other people for expending effort on entertaining things that don't happen to address world hunger while doing so themselves. Don't dish it if you can't take it. Why are your chosen diversions more noble and worthy of time, money, and effort than theirs?

You said:

when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty? sports suck. out loud.

I don't really understand how you can plop into this thread, make this statement totally out of the blue, and not expect to be called on it. You went so far over the deep end of personal attacks with no direct provocation that it's boggling that you could complain when the facts of how you spend your spare time are brought up.

You acted like an asshole, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise if you get treated like one.
posted by daveadams at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2002


you actually have me 'admitting' something about the clarity of my comment, and i've done no such thing

Hey y'all! It's fun to trash people's arguments by going after the semantics of their word choice and ignoring what they are trying to say! Wheeee!
posted by daveadams at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2002


ok ok ok. i'm beaten into submission.

They aren't the ones belittling other people for expending effort on entertaining things that don't happen to address world hunger while doing so themselves... Why are your chosen diversions more noble and worthy of time, money, and effort than theirs?

excellent point. and point taken.


I don't really understand how you can plop into this thread, make this statement totally out of the blue, and not expect to be called on it. You went so far over the deep end of personal attacks with no direct provocation that it's boggling that you could complain when the facts of how you spend your spare time are brought up.


having a bad day prolly won't cut the mustard for an excuse, but its all i've got.

You acted like an asshole, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise if you get treated like one.

yes, i acted like an asshole. i apologize to Skot, Avogardo, and all the rest of you who had their entertaining thread shit on by me. the truth is, i'm the guy who never got picked for the team. as a clumsy, uncoordinated and socially awkward kid, i developed a big chip on my shoulder about sports. really, i'm sorry. slinking away now...
posted by quonsar at 2:44 PM on June 5, 2002


As a fellow former clumsy, uncoordinated, and socially awkward kid (now adult) who also happens to like the bouncing bucky-ball, I humbly recommend There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, a fine footie film for awkward kids/ex-kids everywhere.
posted by Avogadro at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2002


hockey. we have been getting our asses kicked by the canadians for a century and yet we're still wildly enthusiastic about the game.

Hockey used to be a great game before America bought it.

Skot, Avo, daveadams : you guys are freakin' scary, ok? If this were grade school (and sometimes it seems...), I'd be afraid to go out on the playground at recess if I'd crossed one of you.

quonsar : although in my books you often tend to be oversnarky in your one-off comments, crossing from sardonic to shrill, a tic from which there is ample evidence that I also suffer, this "you both apply a standard to my remarks which seem to require consistency in every facet of my life" is exactly dead on. I'm with you on this one, for what very very little it's worth.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2002


I'm glad somebody slid in a reference to the "Miracle on Ice" when the US beat the USSR for the 1980 Olympic hockey gold medal. Those of you who are not hockey fans (I personally find soccer as exciting as watching my toenails grow) may not understand the magnitude of what occurred that year. There were no NHL players on any team. The US team was made up of college aged kids who were not being payed to play hockey - true amateurs. The Soviet players, on the other hand, were all enlisted in their military forces - even though all they did in the military was play hockey. This allowed the USSR to pay "amateur" athletes to play - something that was verboten elsewhere. Therefore, the USSR usually brought to the ice teams that were nearly unstoppable - veteran players who had played together as a unit for years, with some members already having two to three Olympic medals to their credit.

The US team didn't have a chance - and they went on to make it look easy. I went berzerk during that game - I'm sorry that many of you seem to have missed it. It wasn't just a victory for the US, it was victory for the "free world."

when is the world going to get its asinine mind off sports and on important things like peace and abundance and the end of hunger and poverty?

Well, quonsar, why don't you be shining example? Instead of sitting on your ass posting asinine BS like this on MeFi, you could use that time productively to put your efforts where your comments are! People could also take their minds off of art, music, travel and all those other "leisure" activites - wouldn't that make for happier, more enjoyable life for all?

Hockey used to be a great game before America bought it.

You still have curling all to yourselves mostly! I'm not upset about America "buying" hockey, I'm upset at the generally poor coverage hockey gets in the US. Except for Barry Melrose and maybe Darren Pang, most of the television announcers being used in th US are horrible. One guy used during the playoffs last year was on the 1975 Flyers Stanley Cup team and from his commentary you would have been hard pressed to believe that he hadn't absorbed ALL of his hockey knowledge from a pamplet he got twenty minutes before game time...

Give me the Hockey Night in Canada crew anytime...or even my favorite, the guy who calls the Buffalo Sabres games for Empire Sports who sounds like he has an aneurism evey time they score a goal!
posted by RevGreg at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2002


daveadams : you guys are freakin' scary, ok?

If defending Skot from a cruel attack from anyone is wrong, I don't want to be right.

*gives stavros a noogie*
posted by daveadams at 7:35 PM on June 5, 2002


The "Miracle on Ice" game was not for a gold medal. The US team's gold medal game was against Finland, two days after the win over the Russians. And apparently, the Finns weren't exactly pushovers themselves.
posted by kindall at 7:45 PM on June 5, 2002


Eek! Noogies!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on June 5, 2002


right, if you have all stopped hugging each other and being a bunch of benders, let's get back to talking football

looking at the FIFA rankings, indeed America ranks 13th, but this is because of the amount of points they have accumulated in their group. If you study the group itself and look at progress, you may be overlooking the real future contenders...CANADA !
posted by Frasermoo at 1:24 AM on June 6, 2002


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