Why soccer is un-American

Soccer (or “football” as it is known virtually everywhere outside the United States) is a great source of entertainment for many fans across the world. We are reminded of this every four years when the national teams compete in the World Cup, which allows nations like Brazil, Argentina, France and Italy to best all the other nations in the world for a change. I’ve been to a soccer (football) game in Germany and it was a blast. Fans were excited the entire time, hooting and hollering continuously while the action on the field only paused briefly whenever one of the players pretended to be injured, only to jump up and get right back in the game after a minute or so of wriggling around in faux-agony on the ground.

So I enjoy soccer (James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal jokingly calls it “metric football”), and my comment that it is un-American isn’t meant to offend. However, I just look at a result like today’s match between England the U.S. and wonder what a “draw” is. I found out that it means there was actually a tie. To me, this is distinctly un-American and totally contrary to the notion of sport and competition. When in a competition, one team must lose and the other must win. One team must be destroyed, and the other lifted up to greater glory in hopes of destroying more teams as they progress through the tournament. This is also another reason why I have never been able to fully embrace hockey, which also allows tie games.

As a corollary, it is easy to demonstrate why baseball, though it can be infinitely more boring than soccer at times, is such a quintessential American sport. The longest professional baseball game in history took place in 1981 and lasted for 33 innings until a victor finally emerged. Very inspiring stuff.

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