Friday, June 18, 2010

Why I Love the Beautiful Game

Every four year's the soccer critics come out of their closet. On the positive, they are taking an interest World Cup and learning something about the nations which are competing and something about the USA roster. On the negative, they share their opinions about why soccer has not caught on in America and make their annual rule change suggestions.

I love soccer despite it flaws, and there are some rather obvious ones. The casual observer complains about shirt tugging, diving, and offsides (assuming they understand it). They complain about the substitution rule, teams entering the field -- prior to the start of the contest -- holding the hands of little children, and the fact there is only one referee on the field. The biggest complaint deals with the lack of goals.

A soccer fan takes great joy in watching individual performances; goals are nice but not essential to game enjoyment. I can watch a player or team turn in a dominate performance controlling the midfield. I love watching a set of defenders work together as a team. I love seeing a well-defended corner kick.

I would consider a well-earned and delivered soccer goal, especially a World Cup goal, one of the greatest athletic achievements in sport. Consider goals by Brazil's Roberto Carlos, Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, or BBC's Best 10 World Cup Goals. I get goosebumps on some of these. That feeling rarely rears itself in basketball, college or pro. Football? Some. Hockey? More. Baseball? Even more.

We all have our favorite sports. I love the NFL and NCAA Football. I love the NHL -- Stanley Cup is my second favorite sport tourney. The college basketball (March Madness) is fun. The NBA is pathetic. Baseball is my favorite sport and I like the world Series is my favorite annual tourney. UEFA Champions League final is a must-see annual event. Although there are other world cup events (rugby, cricket, baseball), nothing compares to the FIFA World Cup.

There are some things people will stay firm in their whole lives: politics, religion and sport. I could care less if my fellow American's like soccer. I do and will always consider it the beautiful game.

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