The 2010 World Cup is here. All over the globe, humans of every race, religion, and creed will watch the unfolding competition in South Africa with the keenest attention, hoping that their favorite can prevail and bring home the most coveted honor in international sport.
So why don’t I give a flying fig? Obviously, I would like the Americans to do well; I’m as mindlessly nationalistic as any red-blooded American when it comes to competition between the Stars and Stripes and other countries. But really, the World Cup barely registers on the Webner House interest meter.
Why is this so? Mainly, it is because soccer is a relentlessly boring spectator sport. Who wants to watch a bunch of earnest lads sprinting up and down a long field kicking a ball without seemingly accomplishing anything? Baseball is boring too, of course, but soccer manages to combine the boredom with painfully embarrassing touches. The players wear shorts and knee socks, for example. When a goal is actually scored the player takes off his shirt, runs aimlessly, and then falls to his knees like a goal has never happened before. Even more appalling is that all world-class soccer players practice faking injuries. It is humiliating to even watch these fine athletes squirming on the field like over-tired children, shrieking and blubbering and holding their knee or ankle or head and acting like their limbs are so brittle that a slight bump caused crippling disfigurement. In Europe or South America cultures might celebrate a guy who is a good injury-faker and can draw an unwarranted penalty; in America we would rather emulate the athlete with the toughness to play through real pain or overcome an actual injury.
So, good luck to the U.S. and the other countries vying for the Cup. The world will be watching, but don’t expect me to join in.