T Nation

The LOVE Soccer Thread

So, I was thinking what with all the anti-football (soccer) commentary going around on the various threads it might be an idea for people to talk about why they LOVE the beautiful game, and why it’s the most popular competitive sport on the planet.

Maybe the haters can leave off trolling this thread, and perhaps instead gain an insight from fans as to what makes it so special. The World Cup is as good a time as any to check it out and maybe get into it.

A couple of reasons off the top of my head:

Not EVERY sport has to be about knocking seven shades of shit out of the opposition (although it happens all the time). Football, while still very physical, especially in the lower divisions, is a finesse game.

For me, a good football match is an organic and flowing thing - it’s beautiful to watch a team like the old Real Madrid, Arsenal in full flight or Barcelona when they get going and the almost telepathic passing and movement in a counterattack.

Skill:
To kick a ball 40 yards a la David Beckham in sometimes terrible and windy conditions and place it squarely on a teammate’s head or directly in front of his feet is an astonishing skill that many of us take for granted. Add to that doing it when the opposition’s neanderthal defender is baring down on you and another one is sliding in to take your kneecap away with his studded boots and it’s remarkable.

Stress:
Then there’s the tension. The fact it is a low scoring game adds so much tension and pressure to it, for players and fans alike. One goal can settle a match - I can think of few other sports that are decided by a one-nil scoreline. Unlike say Basketball, it is very hard to score a goal, and that only adds to the excitement.

Simple to learn - A lifetime to master:

All you need is a ball and two jumpers for goalposts and you are off. That’s why on the international level it is not always the biggest nations that tend to fare best. Not many other sports have such a level playing field.

Argentina, the Czech Republic and Brazil for example have grand traditions in football and none of these nations are anywhere near being superpowers in any other field. Okay Brazil also produces great race drivers, fine women and many ladyboys but you catch my drift…

The US team for example are all remarkable athletes, but athleticism on its own is not enough. They will improve for sure but have a ways to go to match the top teams and its not necessarily something that can be bought.

Global Village:
Football truly is a universal language. I was working on a documentary about football hooliganism in 2002 prior to the World Cup in Japan/Korea, and everyone thought there would be a huge hooligan problem with England out there as our fans were ever so naughty at Euro 2000. However once the tournament got underway we started to see all the Japanese and Koreans wearing England shirts and it promoted such a sense of love for the game and brotherhood between fans, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Even just now the news was showing German and Englishs fans partying together after we drew with Sweden - something I never thought I would see.

Another example was the sportsmanship between the US and Iran in 1998 which was a wonderful thing to behold even though political tensions between those nations at the time were extremely strained.

Physicality:
In addition to all that the physical side of it is mind boggling to me. The stamina required to last 90 minutes at the top level is incredible. Yes I KNOW they are not sprinting flat out for the whole time but even so, they are always moving…

Anyway, why do YOU love football?

BTW Holland play Argentina tomorrow. If you’ve never watched 90 minutes of top quality football I urge you to watch that match as they are two giants of the game. If that doesn’t convert you, there’s probably no hope for you. lol

You’ve made some great points about various aspects of the game. I especially like the fluidity of the game. The field is constantly changing based on the ball’s position and it takes awhile to appreciate how much positioning affects the gameplay. I know this is true of most sports, but the field is way too large to recover quickly if you’re out of position.

I actually think this one reason that soccer is not yet fully appreciated in the good old US. It takes a while for people to understand and appreciate the flow of the game. Watching the offense constantly shift to keep or open up passing lanes and watching the defense work to shut down those lanes is beautiful. Not to mention the skill level that makes very difficult things look very easy when performed on the run. To me, there’s nothing like a good build up and finish, particularly if the defense also has its act together.

The equality of the game is also great. It’s not so much about equipment as some sports, although good equipment helps, it’s about skill. I grew up knowing kids who played with a bunch of plastic bags tied into a ball and a couple of stones for posts. And the skills that some of them demonstrated were amazing.

Combine that with the factors the OP mentioned (physicality, skill, etc.) and it’s a great sport.

I love it because it stops all the pussies of the world from playing rugby.

I only watch soccer games in the Euro Championship and the World Cup, so I can only talk about those… But one of the things that make me love soccer is how different countries have different styles of play. They have different speeds at running, different strengths, different tactics, and different flair. and these differences are consistent over generations. i love that.

1 londoner…

although I am not a convert to loving “soccer”, sorry man, football is my first love so won’t hear me referring to soccer as football; i will bare no negativity out of respect for your thread.

i am impressed at the endurance and agility of soccer players. the ability of their sure footedness with either left or right foot and their ability to be so precise with their kicks.

If you don’t mind could you go further with your comment about being the most competitive sport in the world…

I don’t care about it much aside from world cup, but it’s damn hard to disrespect the sport which has far and away the deepest talent pool on the planet.

[quote]1-packlondoner wrote:
BTW Holland play Argentina tomorrow.

This is going to be such a fuckin great game to watch. Can’t wait.

In honor of the World Cup, I have set the thermometer on my Air Conditioner to read in Celcius instead of Farenheight, and have set the Odometer in my car to read in Kilometers.

Carry on.

[quote]Anthony Roberts wrote:
In honor of the World Cup, I have set the thermometer on my Air Conditioner to read in Celcius instead of Farenheight, and have set the Odometer in my car to read in Kilometers.

Carry on.[/quote]

In the world of celcius, it is spelt kilometRE.

I’m a more recent convert to “the beautiful game” after I started playing indoor with people from work… then I found myself watching Fox Soccer Channel… then I was ordering every Manchester United match I could on pay-per-view… and then I was playing outdoor. So yeah, basically hooked.

There is something about the flow of the game I enjoy. It may be deemed boring to a lot of Americans, but to me it has a certain poetry to it. I think a lot of the people who bash the game need to try playing it in order to develop a proper appreciation.

But I saw this on one of my favorite Web sites (www.proteinwisdom.com… which has nothing to do with bodybuilding despite the name. lol). It gave me a good laugh:

What do I hate about soccer? Well, first of all, it’s so very European-what with the ridiculous colored socks, and with the hand made to feel guilty over what is its clear superiority in most activities requiring dexterity. That is to say, for the offense of being so useful, the hand is marginalized to the point of criminality. In soccer, using your hands is akin to committing a hate crime. And you know how eager Europeans are to prosecute hate crimes.*

Put another way: soccer is nothing more than affirmative action for the foot-a sport built around forced equality, “justified,” in the eyes of some, because the foot hasn’t mastered the art of cutting a steak, or pitching a dart, or finding a teenaged girl’s happy place in those two magical hours right after prom.

That the hand is being punished by presumptuous social engineers at FIFA, et al., simply because it has achieved a remarkable degree of transcultural success is truly insulting. Me, I can’t look at a European foot in a position of prominence without thinking, “gee, I wonder if that foot got where it is on merit, or if it was given a leg up by the policy dictate of some pandering politico who is looking to shore up the soccer hooligan vote.”

There. I said it.

[quote]BSims wrote:
1 londoner…

although I am not a convert to loving “soccer”, sorry man, football is my first love so won’t hear me referring to soccer as football; i will bare no negativity out of respect for your thread.

i am impressed at the endurance and agility of soccer players. the ability of their sure footedness with either left or right foot and their ability to be so precise with their kicks.

If you don’t mind could you go further with your comment about being the most competitive sport in the world…[/quote]

Most popular competitive sport. I believe fishing is the outright most popular sport. Now THAT’s for pussies.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
I’m a more recent convert to “the beautiful game” after I started playing indoor with people from work… then I found myself watching Fox Soccer Channel… then I was ordering every Manchester United match I could on pay-per-view… and then I was playing outdoor. So yeah, basically hooked.

There is something about the flow of the game I enjoy. It may be deemed boring to a lot of Americans, but to me it has a certain poetry to it. I think a lot of the people who bash the game need to try playing it in order to develop a proper appreciation.

But I saw this on one of my favorite Web sites (www.proteinwisdom.com… which has nothing to do with bodybuilding despite the name. lol). It gave me a good laugh:

What do I hate about soccer? Well, first of all, it’s so very European-what with the ridiculous colored socks, and with the hand made to feel guilty over what is its clear superiority in most activities requiring dexterity. That is to say, for the offense of being so useful, the hand is marginalized to the point of criminality. In soccer, using your hands is akin to committing a hate crime. And you know how eager Europeans are to prosecute hate crimes.*

Put another way: soccer is nothing more than affirmative action for the foot-a sport built around forced equality, “justified,” in the eyes of some, because the foot hasn’t mastered the art of cutting a steak, or pitching a dart, or finding a teenaged girl’s happy place in those two magical hours right after prom.

That the hand is being punished by presumptuous social engineers at FIFA, et al., simply because it has achieved a remarkable degree of transcultural success is truly insulting. Me, I can’t look at a European foot in a position of prominence without thinking, “gee, I wonder if that foot got where it is on merit, or if it was given a leg up by the policy dictate of some pandering politico who is looking to shore up the soccer hooligan vote.”

There. I said it.[/quote]

Great post man, but did you ever stop to think that when you guys aren’t looking, maybe we Europeans do EVERYTHING with our feet. Washing up. Making toast. Fighting duels. Invading Poland.

The Pilgrim Fathers were actually a bunch of freaks who liked to pick everything up with their hands and so subsequently we sent them packing on a ship we just pointed west.

lol

[quote]Kuz wrote:
I’m a more recent convert to “the beautiful game” after I started playing indoor with people from work… then I found myself watching Fox Soccer Channel… then I was ordering every Manchester United match I could on pay-per-view… and then I was playing outdoor. So yeah, basically hooked.

There is something about the flow of the game I enjoy. It may be deemed boring to a lot of Americans, but to me it has a certain poetry to it. I think a lot of the people who bash the game need to try playing it in order to develop a proper appreciation.

But I saw this on one of my favorite Web sites (www.proteinwisdom.com… which has nothing to do with bodybuilding despite the name. lol). It gave me a good laugh:

What do I hate about soccer? Well, first of all, it’s so very European-what with the ridiculous colored socks, and with the hand made to feel guilty over what is its clear superiority in most activities requiring dexterity. That is to say, for the offense of being so useful, the hand is marginalized to the point of criminality. In soccer, using your hands is akin to committing a hate crime. And you know how eager Europeans are to prosecute hate crimes.*

Put another way: soccer is nothing more than affirmative action for the foot-a sport built around forced equality, “justified,” in the eyes of some, because the foot hasn’t mastered the art of cutting a steak, or pitching a dart, or finding a teenaged girl’s happy place in those two magical hours right after prom.

That the hand is being punished by presumptuous social engineers at FIFA, et al., simply because it has achieved a remarkable degree of transcultural success is truly insulting. Me, I can’t look at a European foot in a position of prominence without thinking, “gee, I wonder if that foot got where it is on merit, or if it was given a leg up by the policy dictate of some pandering politico who is looking to shore up the soccer hooligan vote.”

There. I said it.[/quote]

Funny stuff.

Stop bumming up a sport that aint that great, yes the world cup is but the sport is not.

I used to play it myself (was very good at it), until i found other sports.

Football is not a great sport it is good but far from great.

The skill produced from some top pros is amazing but only a few pros are at that level. Most pros are not impressive at all.

The level of fitness needed for it isnt at all impressive either.

So why make it out to be something it is not.

[quote]superscience wrote:
Stop bumming up a sport that aint that great, yes the world cup is but the sport is not.

I used to play it myself (was very good at it), until i found other sports.

Football is not a great sport it is good but far from great.

The skill produced from some top pros is amazing but only a few pros are at that level. Most pros are not impressive at all.

The level of fitness needed for it isnt at all impressive either.

So why make it out to be something it is not.
[/quote]

And your reason for posting is?

It’s a thread for people to talk about why they love the game. You don’t do that. You don’t even offer an insight into why it ISN’T a great sport other than to boast of how good you were at it before you moved onto better things.

Your post was like a broken pencil: Pointless.

I just think youve bummed it up to much because it is not that great.

The stamina needed for a match isnt incredible either.

I do enjoy the game and i enjoy playing it an odd time in the year, but the level of skill produced from the pros in football isn great enough to be classed as incredible, only some pros are truly incredible.

Things i love about the game are, its very exciting watching big matches like in the world cup, champions league etc.

Sprinting to beat someone to the ball is also cool. Long balls in the game are amazing to watch and it gives you a good feeling you complete one yourself.

But the best thing about the game is scoring and watching scorchers hit the back of the net.

[quote]superscience wrote:

But the best thing about the game is scoring and watching scorchers hit the back of the net.

[/quote]

No shit Sherlock

[quote]superscience wrote:
I just think youve bummed it up to much because it is not that great.

The stamina needed for a match isnt incredible either.

I do enjoy the game and i enjoy playing it an odd time in the year, but the level of skill produced from the pros in football isn great enough to be classed as incredible, only some pros are truly incredible.

Things i love about the game are, its very exciting watching big matches like in the world cup, champions league etc.

Sprinting to beat someone to the ball is also cool. Long balls in the game are amazing to watch and it gives you a good feeling you complete one yourself.

But the best thing about the game is scoring and watching scorchers hit the back of the net.

[/quote]

I gave the reasons why I love the game and asked why others do. How’s that bumming it up?

Saying ‘it’s not that great’ is neither a particularly erudite statement nor does it serve to add anything at all to the conversation.

And really, who made you arbiter of what can and can’t be classed as ‘incredible’?

Here’s a video of some kids playing. Not top pros. Not even pros at all - And they are devastating to watch.

If you can’t find entertainment in that you have something seriously wrong with you.

Oh, and yes the best moment is when someone scores but if it happened every thirty seconds then it wouldn’t be quite so exciting. Also, it is the build up to the goal that makes it exciting, not the act of the ball crossing the line.

That’s like the ejaculation with none of the sex :wink:

[quote]superscience wrote:
I just think youve bummed it up to much because it is not that great.

The stamina needed for a match isnt incredible either.

I do enjoy the game and i enjoy playing it an odd time in the year, but the level of skill produced from the pros in football isn great enough to be classed as incredible, only some pros are truly incredible.

Things i love about the game are, its very exciting watching big matches like in the world cup, champions league etc.

Sprinting to beat someone to the ball is also cool. Long balls in the game are amazing to watch and it gives you a good feeling you complete one yourself.

But the best thing about the game is scoring and watching scorchers hit the back of the net.

[/quote]

superscience your comments in general led me to ask about your age in the thread the other day. You sound like youve just achieved a GNVQ in sports science or something. Regardind your comments…
'I do enjoy the game and i enjoy playing it an odd time in the year, but the level of skill produced from the pros in football isn great enough to be classed as incredible, only some pros are truly incredible. ’
The level of skill to make it appear easy is misleading. I dont mean the fancy ronaldo shit either.
The rest of your post resembles a 10 year olds essay on what he did for the summer holidays.

[quote]superscience wrote:

But the best thing about the game is scoring and watching scorchers hit the back of the net.
[/quote]

Let me write this down:

  1. Scoring = good.

It’s gems like these that keep me coming back to this site fourty-eight times a day.