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Are you an American exceptionalist to football?

Are you an American exceptionalist to football?

Old Jun 15th, 2006, 11:34 PM
  #81  
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wren,

I am fully aware of the difference in sports systems between Europe and the US - and am by no means implying that the European sports system would be better.

But thinking of some of the brilliant quotes from football players, I wonder if we would hear them if the players were a bit more educated.

Example - which also makes this thread travel related:

"Milan or Madrid - I don't care as long as it's Italy."
(Andreas Moeller upon which club he was going to play for in the then forthcoming season)

In contrast it is hard to argue with Jean Paul Sartre:
"In football everything gets more complicated by the presence of the opposing side."
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Old Jun 15th, 2006, 11:49 PM
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hsv; or a former German national coach, when asked if he objected to the players having sex before a game; 'No, I don't mind at all, but I forbid it during half time'.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 12:11 AM
  #83  
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Tulips,

the views seem to differ on that part.

(Good) Swedish striker Freddie Ljunberg:
"When I have sex the night before the match, I lose the feeling in my feet."

Former Brazilian striker Romario on the same issue:
"Good stikers only score when they had good sex the night before the match."

I guess the attitude of England's Paul Ince benefits the team best:
"Tackling is better than sex."

I start to feel as if I am still contributing to the useless information thread of a few days ago !
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 01:06 AM
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I think there are loads of reasons why the yanks don't "get" football (please never call it soccer).

Firstly it comes (like all British originated sports) from the "mens sane in corpora sano" ethos of the British public schools - ie it was always predominantly about playing rather than watching. It only went professional in the 1860s, and the game as played today is almost the same as played then (the fore-runners of football go back to medieval times, and are basically a codified mass brawl).

The fact that people enjoyed watching it was seen as by-product of the general benefits of playing it.

So by the time it had become a mass-spectator sport the rules were pretty much set, and haven't needed to be changed much to make it more interesting to spectators. Also if you are brought up in a world dominated by football you aren't upset by the concept of a 0-0 draw, which Americans regard as anathema.

Whereas American sports seem to be an offshoot of the entertainment business with cheerleaders, half time shows, celebrity fans etc. American sports of any description are barely watched outside the USA, whereas the English Premier league has a global market (as does the Spanish). There may be a lesson in there somewhere.

The brutal truth is we (ie the rest of the world) are quite pleased that the USA hate football, this is because if you did take a liking to it, your financial muscle would start to dictate the way the game is played - ie time outs, making play into quarters to get TV ads in etc.

So if you would rather stick to netball and watching cars turn right, then be our guests!
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 01:24 AM
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<<"Milan or Madrid - I don't care as long as it's Italy." >>

Another quote from Paul Ince on returning to play in England from Inter Milan, when he said 'it was like living in a foreign country'.

I think those people who say football's boring, certainly haven't been to a live match or I think more importantly don't support a particular team.

Walk into a pub in England, a bar or restaurant in Sweden, Italy, Germany etc when their national teams are playing and you'll feel the tension, atmosphere and europhoria when they score, you'll never forget it.

Recently someone listed 10 books that changed the world and one of them was the Football Association Rules Book, it seemed odd at the time but when you consider the impact it has on people's lives all over the world, it makes sense.

Personally, I think American football has been designed around TV. It's all stop ands start with adverts.

Why don't they just play the game on a computer as they have a statistic for every single aspect of the game. Maybe there's not enough action to commentate on?

I also find it strange that some players could theoretically play their entire careers and never even touch the ball.

Basketball is only worth watching for the last 5 minutes and baseball in the world series.

I think the US TV networks want to keep the sports within the country so that they know an American team will win.

Recently the US played in the Baseball World Cup and took a hiding from Mexico, Canada & Korea. They never got past the group stage therefore TV companies were left disappointed. The same goes for basketball & ice hockey where they can't make it to the world finals.

I could go on ...

Geordie
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 02:30 AM
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Hi, I am a soccer fun, and I think who says that soccer is boring, it is because they don´t know anything about it...... You have to put your heart in your supporting team as any sport and go....... It is so much fun. It is not only about scoring that is the same that any other game.....who has more point wins...but it is the game and the all kind of way to play it...the control, the coordination, etc....

GO....Go. world cup..a little support for our team...They need it.....
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 02:32 AM
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I love football. (soccer)

I never understand a man who doesn't.

But the strangest phenomenon is why it hasn't become popular in the US despite its widespread popularity with kids.

When the rest of the world enjoy the beautiful game, it's a shame that most of America is indifferent to its passion.

The day will come however. All that's needed is a sporting legend. A catalyst. A hero. (But It ain't going to be this World Cup!)
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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I don’t think it’s ever going to happen and here’s why…

Firstly for football to become popular in the USA there needs to be a domestic league of decent quality. There isn’t and there’s not going to be anytime soon. The MSL is third division standard at best – which is why the few half decent players the USA have all platy in Europe. The ones left behind are the ones who aren’t good enough to get a club over here.

Geography is also against you. The part of the world you are in is largely indifferent to football, or where it is as keen as mustard the countries are tiny. This means that you don’t get any meaningful competitive action (For example; once the World Cup is over England then start to attempt to qualify for the European Championships, and then hopefully play in the championships, and then it’s World Cup qualification all over again). CONACAF is a farce. This means that you always qualify for the world cup where you will get three real games, and then that’s it for four years.

I know that you play a programme of friendlies, but the major footballing powers treat friendless with complete indifference (FIFA recently had to change the rules to stop the England Manager – Montgomery Burns – from changing the entire team at half time).

And then there’s the fact that Americans are lousy losers (you’re not great winners either if truth be told!). This means that a sport that they will NEVER win stands as much chance in the USA as an Arsenal fan in N17 on derby day.

David – who’s addiction to the game costs at least £2,000 pa and will possibly cost double that if Tottenham do well in Europe this year.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 03:05 AM
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Challicewell, your Economist article suggests that to be a 'trendsetter' and a 'standard maker' is somehow inconsistent with being 'isolationist' or in other words, independent.

I ask, how could any party, be it a nation or an individual, start a trend without first starting the activity on their own, i.e. in isolation? Surely one can be either a leader in a trend or a follower, but not both.

I agree with you about Wimbledon, by the way. World Cup is thankfully not going to interfere with coverage. (Wimbledon is also one of the least jingoistic of sports events, so far as I can tell from the couch in front of the screen.)


P.S. David West - my Australian friend informs you that a) the only real sport is cricket, and b) they generally beat you at that, notwithstanding the size of the country. He does acknowledge the fame of the West Indies at the game, though.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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Your Australian pal is just indulging in a little light pommie-bashing. The Aussies do not “generally” beat us at cricket – although they have been the better side in the last decade. In our last meeting we beat them to win the Ashes. I suspect he forgot to mention that?

As regards Wimbledon. I live very near the tennis courts in “Wimbledon” (which isn’t in Wimbledon – it’s in Southfields), and there’s plenty of face-painted tossery going on there too. Have you never heard of “Henman Hill”? Which may soon be called Murrayfield.

Now try to imagine trying to convert the yanks to a game that lasts five days, has breaks for lunch and tea, can’t be played in the rain and often ends in a draw.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 03:30 AM
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He did indeed mention the Ashes, most specifically how often you had been losing it in the last decade. (I suspect this kind of repartee could go on indefinitely, which come to think of it is the ultimate sport, isn't it?)

Re: Wimbledon: well, I acknowledge that I have never been there in person. (Have often thought about it, but it would be hard to come by seats that give me as good a view as the tube...)

I can well understand why cricket hasn't caught on in Canada, if not the U.S. All outdoor sports must be completed here within our seasonable weather, which lasts all of four months. Hardly enough time for a single match!

You still did't resolve the conundrum of how a nation (or anyone) can be both a trendsetter and a convert.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 03:45 AM
  #92  
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Its hard to believe I only fired off this thread less then 24 hours ago, its taken on a life of its own, I wonder if I will be the subject of a congressional hearing?

Touche Susie-X, the original article did not actually mention the word isolationalist, only exceptionalist, that was my own sensationalist reporting, techically you are correct although it went over the heads of 80 odd others.

And as for Wimbledon, well coverage and interest is high in USA as so many stars are American, either native born or adopted, and its lends easily to commercial breaks on TV, but no TV set can beat the thrill of being at centre court live as I was thanks to a Japanese company that wanted my business.

And I am still waiting to hear from the America's as they come on-line, its their service now, who can tell us if the old gridiron football rules changed to match TV coverage in the 50's when the AFL came into its own?

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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Challicewell,

World football is boring. After a lively 45 minutes or so the athletes plod along in the second half completely spent randomly bashing each others heads.

Your favorite, tennis, rivals football in its boredom though it has its own special monotony.

Mindless sport takes up the idle time of the plain people and one must admit it prevents them from committing burglaries and car thefts they might otherwise be involved in. It must also be conceded that the painted faces, the flag bedraped half-naked bodies are hilarious to watch. Perhaps tennis might emulate those quaint customs, or perhaps it already does.

Americans have seen many reports of drunken morons leaving football games breaking down barricades intent on mayhem. These reports could hardly attractive to the family set.

As my Dad used to say, the ever growing idle time will bring a befuddlement to the plain people, one they will not know how to handle. (In another "arena" note the proliferation of cell phones and the endless, mindless babble conducted over them.)

Bring back the sixty-day work week.

Anthony
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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So Americans are bad losers, bad winners, lousy "football players" bad tourists, money-grubbing, isolationist, fat, loud, stupid, unfashionable. Gee, can anyone think of anything positive about Americans? ANY redeeming features? I can't believe even a thread about sports turns into the same old, same old.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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And they say yanks can't do irony! Top hole work there Anthony old chap - almost had us going!
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:42 AM
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So Americans are bad losers, bad winners, lousy "football players" bad tourists, money-grubbing, isolationist, fat, loud, stupid, unfashionable. Gee, can anyone think of anything positive about Americans? ANY redeeming features? I can't believe even a thread about sports turns into the same old, same old.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I suppose you could add thin skinned to the list….

Let’s go through them….

Bad winners: I’m afraid that that is the global perspective – triumphalist and graceless in victory. It’s the whole USA! USA! USA! Thing – it grates on us. In fact your Olympians were told by your own team management to tone down the winning celebrations.

Bad losers: It’s the corollary of the above

Lousy “football players”: Surely no argument here? There’s no American playing anywhere near the top of the game – it’s hardly a surprise though is it, if you don’t play the game? I can’t imagine there are many Brits in the NBA.

Bad tourists, money-grubbing, isolationist, fat, loud, stupid, unfashionable: No one said any of these – I think you’re projecting old bean.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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'I think the US TV networks want to keep the sports within the country so that they know an American team will win.'

I was in the USA during the Atlanta Olympics, and from the coverage there, it seemed to be a mostly American event.

If you are in Amsterdam today, go and watch the Dutch play against Ivory Coast tonight at 6 pm local time; go to Leidseplein, and enjoy the atmosphere! (dresscode: anything orange)

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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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Wren - Maybe add paranoid to your list.

I think you may be overstating the case, or at least taking things out of context.
Everybody is entitled to their opinion abiut whether football is interesting or not - but I find the two subtexts rather offensive. These are namely "America doesn't get soccer so therefore there is something wrong with them" and "The rest of the world things footabll is good, when it is obviously boring - so they are all stupid".

Generalisations don't help on either side, and many of those who get upset about Americans being called loud, stupid, fat etc seem to have no problem with concepts such as all gypsies steal, Europeans don't wash, the English are all football hooligans etc.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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I think you get a good view of part of the problem from many of the "it's boring" posts. Many Americans have developed a horrible addiction to mindless physical action coupled with a short attention span. There's an analogy in film production: we excel at action movies with so little dialogue that they can be sold around the world without many subtitles needed. Fortunately, there are those baseball fans and soccer fans who understand that a great sport involves intelligence and strategy at least as much as brawn.

Added to that is the commercial problem: By the nature of the game, sponsors can't expand the amount of commercial time indefinitely, so US media have trouble selling advertising or branding.

Then there's the related lack of regional soccer mania -- I think you first need to develop fierce and energetic loyalty to a local team, which then works its way up to the national level. I'm guessing most Brits know which teams the English players come from and are rooting for them. With the US team, we have no clue.

And related to THAT is the absence of charismatic star players (at least men; a lot of people do know who Mia Hamm is). But watch Freddie Adu in a few years, maybe.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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willit...I agree with you wholeheartedly. You expressed my thoughts exactly when you said that about the two subtexts: that "America doesn't get soccer so therefore there is something wrong with them" , and conversely, "The rest of the world thinks footabll is good, when it is obviously boring - so they are all stupid". My point is that neither side needs to be "degraded" to make a valid point. Also, broad generalizations and stereotypes bother me greatly.
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