Volume 96, Issue 69
Friday, January 31, 2003

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Ignorance not always bliss

Them's The Breaks
Benjamin Mills
Sports Editor

There's a reason why it is the most popular game on the planet.

Soccer is an exhilarating sport to watch. Although some people refer to it as a gentleman's sport played by hooligans (rugby being the hooligans sport played by gentlemen), it is far from that – at least, most of the time.

Many North Americans say soccer is boring, or the players are wimps, or even that a room full of donkeys could muster a pretty decent soccer match (thank Mr. Hickman for that one), but don't many North Americans also fear that which they do not understand?

Granted, some soccer matches can be about as boring as watching C-SPAN on downers, but how many baseball games – out of the "necessary" 162 – have been played that sucked just as much?

And talk about unpredictability. Did anyone see last year's World Cup? By the way, it's over now, so certain boot-shaped countries should stop bitching about certain officiating in certain games against a certain South Korean nation. I may be a mangiacake, but that game should have been so lop-sided that officiating could not have possibly factored in – even though he was offside.

Lets address the topic of who's a bigger wimp – soccer players or other athletes. Didn't Shaq miss some games due to an in-grown toenail? My mom used to tear those things out herself, and she's far from 7'1".

Strategy is the main reason I watch soccer. You can see the entire pitch and watch the plays develop, just like a game of chess. Soccer players cannot simply rush to the net with reckless abandon and hope to score a goal – like I've witnessed in many basketball games – they must be patient and wait for the right opportunity to strike.

Speaking of strike, when was the last time you heard of a players strike in soccer?

Soccer is also a melting pot for countries, never dominated by one particular nation. Perhaps that is why North Americans don't like it, because we don't dominate the sport like we dominate basketball or baseball. Do they hate the competitive spirit?

My guess is yes.

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