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Thursday, June 19, 2014

My inadequacy over soccer

The FIFA World Cup is underway. I am following the scores, but the competition doesn't excite me. In fact my interest in soccer overall is lukewarm — even though there was a strong interest in the sport among Georgia Tech undergrads from other countries, and even though the Atlanta Chiefs were actually the first major-league team in Atlanta to win a national title, and even though I have had two friends who are soccer referees, and even though I usually like international things, and even though the USA women's team has been outstanding for 15 years now, and even though our long-time babysitter for Ryan and Eric was quite a soccer player herself. Despite all that, as well as my baseline interest in all sports, I just can't get into soccer. However, I am enthusiastic about rugby, Australian rules football (often televised during the early years of ESPN), and Gaelic football.

One often-quoted reason not to like soccer is lack of scoring. I'm ambivalent about that, too. It drove me nuts when the National Hockey League had so many 1-0 and 2-1 games in the early 2000s, and apparently I wasn't the only person put off by it; the league made changes to increase scoring. Nor do I like low-scoring basketball games, many of which I had to write about when I was sports editor of the Tech student newspaper (Tech was talent-challenged at the time). On the other hand, I have never objected to a low-scoring American football game or baseball game. I can't explain the inconsistency.

Actor and comedian Jason Alexander summed it up nicely in a tweet this week: "I want to care about the World Cup. I really do. Great athletes. Great game. I feel so inadequate."