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Do you fail to 'get' football?

Left cold by the world cup?

     
5:53 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The crowd roars in anticipation, assorted footballers amble out from the tunnel, the kickoff is staged and the game is underway. Men jostle for position as the ball flies from end to end, days of training paying off as the ball is propelled into the net.

But do you fail to connect to the game at any personal or emotional level? Would you far rather be watching an action thriller or a comedy on another channel?

I must admit to falling into this group, never finding any enjoyment in watching football. What am I missing? What is the secret attention-holding ingredient of football that I have failed to notice for all these years? Not that I don't like watching any sports - I quite like watching cricket and tennis - but somehow football fails to hold any interest.

9:02 pm on June 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What is the secret attention-holding ingredient of football

I believe it is 20 pints of lager and way too much testosterone. Get "loaded and pumped-up" and the game takes on a whole new perspective.

These are just my own personal observations as a Liverpudlian (ex-pat).

3:23 am on June 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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soccer is pretty boring
8:44 am on June 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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soccer is pretty boring

My girlfriend says the same thing - but I'm guessing she find it pretty good fun if I took her to a big game - the derby or cup final.

Like all sports it's only really good viewing if you have an interest - personally I find American Football hard work - but I can watch baseball all day.

Go Dodgers!

9:19 am on June 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I suspect this:
Football is more than just a "game" or a "sport".

Has much to do with this:

one of its main benefits is an excuse to socialise with large groups of others (eg men)...

If it were about watching and enjoying skill and grace, wouldn't you be at the ballet, too?

I was invited to a basketball game a few months back and only went when I was told it was a corporate box with free beer. Spent the evening socializing with friends, which was cool. Enjoyed every minute.

As far as sports itself, I have had a lot more fun playing football (soccer) than watching it. Having played the game, I appreciate the skill and grace involved. I appreciate it very much.

Having boxed with my friends when I was a boy, I find that the one on one finesse and skill in both boxing, soccer, and basketball is quite exhilirating. It's as much mental as physical.

The supposed lack of enthusiasm in the US, I suspect, has nothing to do with being American and being unable to get it, otherwise baseball wouldn't be so popular. Football (soccer) is fairly popular in the States. We just don't have large organized clubs- and have many other sports to follow already (pro football, college football, baseball, pro basketball, college basketball, horse racing, dog racing, auto racing, boxing, golf, bowling, etc., etc.). I suspect many sports, including football/soccer are very much a cultural bonfire for men to gather around.

Nevertheless, I do not deny that sports is also theater, with all the drama, comedy, pathos, and catharsis you would find on stage or film.

9:11 pm on June 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The real reason football (soccer) is not popular in the U.S. is there is no $$ in it. Because there cannot be commercial breaks in a match, there can be no advertising which means there can be no commercials and that is sporting death in this country.

Baseball is popular here not only because of its longevety, but because you can cram about 25 minutes of tv commercials in to an hour, football (NFL) and basketball are close.

Can you imagine 45 minutes in prime time with no commercials? never happen.

9:11 am on June 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Can you imagine 45 minutes in prime time with no commercials?

In the UK we do, its called The BBC.:)

2:51 pm on June 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In the UK we do, its called The BBC.

The commerical stations don't seem to have a problem with it either, judging by the licenses they pay to screen football matches.
4:44 pm on June 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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6:21 pm on June 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Football (soccer) just isn't high scoring enough to be entertaining. The action also is much slower moving compared to American football and basketball. I don't understand how it is the most popular sport worldwide, when there are better options. Maybe its because American football and basketball are so expensive to play yourself? Basketball courts are expensive to build and football requires extensive padding in the uniforms.
7:02 pm on June 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I like football (soccer) much better than american football. My girls and I always get into discusions with my husband and their boyfriends all the time about the differences. In american football, they plan a play, try to execute it. Take a break line up and plan that play again. How boring. In soccer you are moving non stop. You have to have great skill and stamina to keep moving.

In US some towns are just as devoted to their football teams as soccer teams are revered in other countries. I am from Pittsburgh where the city lives and breaths by the Steelers. Our quarterback was recently hurt in a motorcycle accident. Television with filled with news stories and they actually did live broadcasts with almost hourly press releases on his condition and interrupted all television programming to do a live press conference to announce that he would be getting a nominal fine for driving without a permit. The poor women who caused the accident has been receiving death threats. Devotion like that exceeds sports. I think most sports are more than just the game.

9:15 pm on June 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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joel02078,

You're correct, soccer can be played anywhere with enough dirt and anything that can be shaped in to a ball, this is a primary reason for its worldwide popularity.

This is also a reason it is popular in the U.S. That being said, it can never commercially succeed in the U.S. due to it's extremely limited ability to generate advertising revenue.

11:14 am on June 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

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martinibuster

Yep, football is a great sport to actually play and far more enjoyable than watching it. I love playing football and it's the kind of game where you don't need to be good at it to enjoy it.

Regarding the commercial aspect of football, I don't think that side of the game is undermining the US's interest in it, I just think there is no real base for football in the States because it's a fairly new concept in the main.

Basketball is played in the UK and quite popular in some parts (my own city has it's own basketball team), but it will never take off or dominate because it has no real ground roots, it's not a part of culture and society like football is and like Baseball is in the States for example.

That said the US aren't doing too bad, the game is finally laying down some roots and winning over fans, the MLS seems to be thriving and the national team are a regular feature of World Cup's. There are nations out there who have been playing the game for over 100 years that haven't the interest, the facilities or international pedigree that the States have.

In 100 years from now, who knows maybe football will be a much bigger part of American life. I understand it's increasing in popularity at grassroots level because it's inexpensive and anyone can play it, where as you have to be a big strapping jock to play American football or look like an truck driver to play Baseball ;)

The latin influence on the States is cleary visable on the football scene too which will help the game grow and I'm sure if the US were to one day win the World Cup for example, football will rapidly take off.

Going back to some other comments, yes football is a social sport and a group thing... for fans anyway and that's what separates it from other sports which are more about spectatorship or entertainment.

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