You Don’t Care about World Football

America's Future Enemy: Ghana!Every day for the past week or so, Google has had a new Doodle about the World Cup. And that’s fine, because Google serves the world and the world is crazy for what they rightly call football and we call soccer because what we call football should really be renamed, “The boring homoerotic game where men bend over to display their genitals to their betters.” The fact that “world football” is only slightly less boring than “American football” really doesn’t matter. People find many boring things interesting just because everyone else finds them interesting because the one thing that really makes humans unique is just how ununique we are. That doesn’t bother me.

What does bother me is how my fellow Americans get interested in world football whenever “our” team does well. Remember the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup? This was an especially big deal because Americans cared about soccer and a sport played by women not dressed in bikinis. And this year, I see a lot of interest among people who otherwise have no interest in anything that happens outside the world unless it is one of our “shock and awe” wars, who are interested in the World Cup. In particular, they are excited that we beat the team from Ghana.

Did you know that the population of Ghana is less than 8% of the population of the United States? Did you know that Ghana’s economy is one-quarter of one percent the size of the United States’? Did you know that the average person from Ghana makes 3% what the average American makes? So the United States beat Ghana in the last 5 minutes of a 90 minute game by a single goal. And you, my fellow Americans are excited? This victory is like if Goliath had beat David, except that not only did David not have his sling, he had been born without arms and legs, and yet Goliath still managed to lose a considerable about of blood because of numerous bite attacks from David. That’s what the United States’ victory over Ghana is.

I have a special admiration for Jonathan Bernstein. He’s a political scientist and a good writer with great insights into the political process. But that’s not the reason for my special admiration. You see, he is a baseball fan. But he doesn’t start talking about baseball just when his team is doing well or during the playoffs. Every Friday, he writes about baseball. The man loves baseball! I respect that.

What I hate every March is that all these nerdy political writers who I read suddenly start gushing about NCAA basketball. Is it the case that they just love the sport all year long but just can’t contain it in March? I don’t think so. They are just like the fools who are all excited that we beat a tiny African country in a world football match. They’re just following the herd. Meanwhile, Bernstein has been silent on the issue of the World Cup. But last Friday, he did write, The Best, and Worst, Places to See a Game. That’s a baseball fan. Because he actually goes to see them. It isn’t like where Americans see their world football games: during the sports section of the evening news.

6 thoughts on “You Don’t Care about World Football

  1. Frank, I’m with you on drug policy and environmental issues, but never on football. I love football.

    Canadian football the best, of course, with the NFL my second-favorite.

    Sometimes our students say that math, physics, etc. are ‘boring’ (so why did you want to register in engineering then?). I say ‘you’re boring". Same here.

    But I’m jesting. But not about football.

  2. @RJ – My point is not that [i]you[/i] don’t like football. Just that the sudden American freak out about the World Cup is nonsense.

    On the issue of American football, after many years of watching it, I have come to the conclusion that it is a shockingly boring game. I was being hyperbolic about "world football," which I don’t know enough about to say. It seems reasonably interesting, but its structure is such that it makes me anxious to watch.

    But my statement that finding a subject boring generally indicates the observer is boring doesn’t really apply to sports in my opinion. This is because I find most sports fans shockingly ignorant of the sports they like. They are mostly interested in watching the score change. I noticed this at a NASCAR race. I was amazed at the the subtle nature of the race. I can see how someone might get into that. But it’s not why the place was filled.

    BTW: my big problem with American football is the constant starting and stopping. It doesn’t help that all this time is filled with ignorant chatter by "experts." Regardless, how can you even compare that to world football where at least the game is constantly being played rather than planned?

  3. Considering the United States Men’s National Team was knocked out of the 2006 World Cup by a one-goal loss to Ghana, and that the USMNT was also knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by a one-goal loss to Ghana, I think there’s reason to be excited that the United States finally defeated Ghana in the World Cup.

    Incidentally, according to 2 Samuel 21:19, Elhanan, the son of Jair-Oregim, killed Goliath. Some believe that the version where David killed Goliath was created by storytellers who wanted a more well-known character to have performed the killing. This Elhanan is not to be confused with Elhanan, the son of Dodo, who appears in 2 Samuel 23.

  4. @Sam240 – The fact that you even know about these previous losses proves I’m not talking about you.

    But thanks for the info on Samuel! I am especially ignorant about the Old Testament. Of course, if I had mentioned Elhanan biting Goliath, I think I would have confused people. It’s like people who say that it was Tommy Johnson and not Robert Johnson who was taught guitar by the devil. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

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