Sacre Bleu, Piere, Stop Soccer-Shaming Me

Where are the Red Cards for Excessive Sports Snobbery?

We get it, Uber Hooligan. You like wearing overly tight jerseys with names you can’t pronounce and pretending to be a supporter of locations you’d be hopelessly unable to find on a map. Congratulations on being faux cultured. Now please just give me a moment’s peace.

I swear to Lionel Messi that if one more person “informs” me that soccer is the world’s most popular sport or that it’s actually more accurately referred to as futbol, I’m going to gouge out my own eyeball with an athletic cup. You don’t say! That’s very enlightened thing for someone who’s never left Cowhump, Indiana to know!

My lack of enthusiasm about the World Cup is not indicative of a systemic ignorance inherent in the American hegemonic and xenophobic psyche.

You see, it’s not that I mind if you like soccer (and, for the love of Christiano Ronaldo, please just call it that; I completely understand that people who live in other countries and speak different languages than you call it something different — they actually do that with lots of things). It’s that you can’t seem to handle the idea that I don’t like soccer.

It’s also not even that I actively disapprove of soccer. It seems like an okay game, I suppose. It’s just not for me. I’m going to give you a second to embark on your “Americans are so stupid and uncultured and xenophobic” tirade, even though when I got back from Japan you asked me if “they know English or” if “they all talked Chinese”. Just nudge me when you’re done.

I don’t like soccer because I don’t like sports in which there is continuous movement rather than spurts of movement broken up into individual plays. I like (American, sigh) football, and I like baseball. I’m not a fan of basketball or of hockey. I also don’t like sports in which the players do an excessive amount of “flopping” to draw foul calls from the referees. It’s another reason I don’t like basketball, and it’s probably my least favorite recent development/escalation in (American) football.

Still my sports watching preferences don’t keep me from watching a game (or a portion of one) on a rare occasion. It’s still athletic competition, and I like that. What I don’t like is the attitude and accompanying accusatory tone/nature I receive when I’m asked if I follow soccer and I admit that I don’t.

What’s with all the judgment, Kingsley McPitchpants? I don’t give people a hard time when they tell me that they don’t like American football. I don’t rattle off to them the number of people and countries who watch the Superbowl. I don’t look down on them for being unfamiliar with iconic players. I don’t assume that if they don’t like American football it is because they’ve never really watched a game or that they don’t understand how much skill is involved.

It is true that I didn’t grow up in a very pro-soccer environment. My school didn’t have it as an official school sport, and the community league wasn’t very popular if there even was one. It’s definitely not a part of the culture where I’m from even now, although they have made it an option for this generation of children.

It still a little presumptive to assume my preference is the result of ignorance, though. I’ve lived in multiple countries and spent time in more others than I can count on one hand. I speak other languages. I’ve been paid to act as a consultant regarding some other cultures. Hell, I’ve participated in organized kendo and muay thai in their countries of origin, and I played rugby on a team in South Korea. I’m not afraid of soccer because it’s foreign.

So maybe back it off a little, Pele Stan. My lack of enthusiasm about the World Cup is not indicative of a systemic ignorance inherent in the American hegemonic and xenophobic psyche. It’s not the result of my rural Ohio upbringing or a stubborn adherence to misguided patriotic loyalty. I’m not asking you to stop watching soccer or trying to decrease your enjoyment of it. I just don’t personally find the sport that enthralling.

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor, veteran, Top Rated on Upwork, former Medium Top Writer in Humor, Feminism, Culture, Sports, NFL, etc.

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