There are certain things Americans do that make us the butt of jokes across the world. We deep fry everything and dump cheese on it. We drive giant gas-guzzling SUV’s. We watch “Two and a Half Men.” (If the world doesn’t make fun of us for that, they should.)
One of the biggest differences between America and the rest of the world is the view on soccer. In the rest of the world (minus Canada, I would assume) soccer is the biggest and best thing ever. Here in America, though, we could not care less about soccer. There are a lot of people who would rather watch golf than soccer. They don’t understand soccer.
I am ashamed to admit, I am one of those people. I do not understand soccer.
I’ve honestly tried to like soccer. If the rest of the world likes soccer, I really should at least attempt to understand it. Every time I watch, though, all I see are men kicking a ball back and forth, unless I’m watching women’s soccer. Then it is women kicking the ball.
My confusion starts even before I get to the game. Sporting KC? What do you call the players? Would you say, “Yeah, Teal Bunbury sure is one of the best Sportings?” Would their mascot be a creature that just sports? Why can’t they be the Kansas City insert-proper-noun-heres? I chalk the name up to trying to sound cool and European, something that Kansas City is not known for.
On the way into the stadium, I was surprised and impressed with the turnout of fans. I walked by tent after tent of tailgaters, all sporting their Sporting jerseys (Maybe that explains the name?). Granted, they were probably just using this event as an excuse to stand outside and drink beer in a parking lot, but there were a fair amount of fans. I grabbed my Teal Bunbury bobblehead at the gate and headed inside.
The biggest pregame confusion came as the starting lineups were announced. Sporting KC had a player named Jeferson. You might think I’m referring to him by his last name, but I’m not. In fact, he had no last name. He had only one name and that was Jeferson. He was like the Cher of soccer, but less known and with a name that was not near as interesting.
The game happened. I wish I could tell you what I watched, but I still don’t know. At some point, a goal was scored. The crowd occasionally booed at something that happened, usually involving a player kicking something other than the ball or a player falling down and playing dead, a possum on a soccer field. People played some drums throughout the game, probably because they were too bored to pay attention to what was happening on the field.
At halftime, I took my leave. I was tired and hot, not to mention confused. Leaving the stadium, I saw the same fans that had been drinking outside before the game still in their lawn chairs, Miller Lites in hand. The biggest fans of the Sportings (I’m calling them that, I don’t care what anyone says) had not even gone into the game, but rather had chosen to stay outside in the summer heat and drink beer.
If these fans can’t even be bothered, why should I have to like soccer? I at least graced the stadium with my presence. I might be a bigger fan than they are.
Someday I might care about soccer. It doesn’t seem likely, but I’ll give it another shot. I fancy myself a worldly scholar of a man. I should develop more of a bohemian lifestyle, expanding my horizons.
Besides, they give away awesome bobbleheads. Seriously, how could I say no to a bobblehead?
- Bunbury’s bobblehead night inspires strikers’ heroics (mlssoccer.com)
- Sporting KC signs Brazilian Jeferson (soccerbyives.net)