Tuesday, June 22, 2010

footie frenzy

in the midst of the world cup going on in south africa, i thought now would be a great time to post the various reasons why i love football so much.  [note:  in this post, i will refer to soccer as football, since that is what the rest of the world calls it]. 

1) it is a sport you can literally watch year-around.  each country has it's own league (including the MLS here in the states), with some playing during different parts of the year.  the european leagues play september thru may.  while the MLS plays during the spring and summer.  between the various leagues and all the international matches (many of which are play-offs for the world cup), it's hard to go a couple weeks without an important game or two going on.  it's great to be addicted to this sport.  you don't have time to suffer from withdrawal.

2) it's not called "the beautiful game" for no reason.  when you watch games from the premiere league (the english league), la liga (the spanish league) or serie a (the italian league), there's an artful flow to the game that doesn't happen in most other sports.  due in part because there are no time-outs.  the development of "total football" in the 1970s by the dutch added to the flow because all the players on the pitch became interchangeable.  teams like arsenal in the premiere league and barcelona in la liga also have a history of playing in a manner considered "beautiful".  long, arching passes combined with excellent ball control add to the art form.  many of the world's best players tend to play in these three leagues, making them the best ones to watch.

3) it truly is a team sport.  yes, there are superstars within football.  current players like ronaldo, wayne rooney, didier drogba and lionel messi definitely take their teams to the next level.  but it's really rare for a team to rise and fall simply on the ability of one player.  although maradona and pele are exceptions to that.

4) the sport is a reflection of the cultures in which it's played.   read the book "how soccer explains the world" by franklin foer to get a good picture of what i mean.  it really is an international sport, which is why the world cup deserves to be called the world cup.  unlike baseball's championship, that for some reason is called the world series...where only teams from the u.s. and canada are able to compete.

those are a few reasons why i enjoy football.  i hope you take advantage of the coverage of the world cup on espn and abc to watch some games, and begin to understand why the rest of the planet is so passionate about it.


GadflyGimp said...

I have to give YOU a lot of credit, Dutch. You are truly a fan through-and-through. I have grown weary and wary of all of the hype that happens every four years in the media where it's like all of the suddden... "hey, there's FOOTBALL?"

You're the real deal and that's pretty cool.

Josh said...

It's been cool this year to go to the Club World Cup here in Abu Dhabi and see a game (it's going to be here next year too), and now with the World Cup, the city is going crazy. In most bars/restaurants there are huge screens showing the games, specials on food and drink, or at the very least just nice places to see the game. Nicole and I checked out one at a nearby restaurant the other day. It was a lot of fun to be around all these people from around the world cheering on the teams. With something like 208 different nationalities living in this country, we get a wide range of fans. Lots of fun! Cooper's bar soon to watch the England game with some from the UK and Wales. Should be a blast.