I don’t really listen to political pundits. I get my information from several sources then sort through the rhetoric and form my own opinions. I try not to drink political Kool-Ade. My views are somewhere in the middle with, I suspect, most American political views.
I don’t pay attention to edge-of-the-bell-curvers because I get tired of the dogma. This time however, I felt compelled to read Ann Coulter’s piece on soccer in America because it was about a sport all of my children play or have played and truly enjoy. I broke a personal value and I paid for it. I am pretty sure I am less intelligent after reading her drivel.
If you haven’t read her piece just Google “Ann Coulter Soccer Column”. Her column is the worst type of pandering. She spews column inches that have her devout readers trading high fives and the rest of us wondering if she bothers to actually think about what she writes or says.
In summary she decries soccer because it doesn’t stress individual achievement, has little risk for injury and is only watched by immigrants. OK, I admit that is my interpretation, but hey, this is my blog.
Maybe the biggest reason that I resent her article is that it forces me to take a stance that I am not 100 percent behind. I am not a huge soccer fan. Not my cup of tea, really. It’s a bit dry. I don’t appreciate the nuances involved in the game flow. The players tend to hit the turf if they are even looked at too long by opposing players. Coulter’s argument, however, is ridiculous. I end up defending soccer more strongly than I normally would because the basis for her argument are shallow, narrow and in many case just silly. Damn you Ann.
Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls — all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out, they’re standing alone at the plate. But there’s also personal glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam dunks.
Good point, Ann. That should be our sports motivation. I have coached baseball, football and hockey. I would have had much more success with my kids had I used the “Go out and garner individual glory and it’s ok because occasionally you’ll be humiliated,” speech. Team play is WAY overrated, right Ann? It scares me that Ann thinks that scoring a touchdown is an individual achievement.
Even this “no individual achievement” cheap shot is wrong. Has she actually watched soccer? This game is so individual that guys go by one name like “Hulk” and “Fred”. Ever heard of Pele? Know what his last name is? Me neither. That is how individual this game is. One of my problems with soccer is that it way over emphasizes the guy who scores at the expense of the team effort. It’s the only sport I’ve ever seen where the guy who scores runs away from his teammates as opposed to running towards them. Every guy who scores one of Ann’s individual touchdowns shows some love to his teammates. A guys scores a goal in soccer acts like he did it all himself.
The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport . . . Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey there are three or four fights a game — and it’s not a stroll on the beach to be on the ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.
Wow. Ann’s tendency to link sports and individual humiliation is starting to paint a sad picture here. Is there something you’d like to share with the group Ann? We seem to be mixing children’s sports and the highest level of competition. I didn’t see the players from Ghana or Japan sporting ribbons or juice boxes after their World Cup ousters.
The fact is that this movement to not bruise children’s feelings regarding sports started a long time ago and not necessarily with soccer. I coached a youth football team in 1985 in a Pop Warner League. The league limited the kids to 110 pounds. If you were bigger than that you couldn’t play. The national leaders of Pop Warner didn’t think it would be fair for smaller kids to play against larger kids.
This trend continued for many years. My oldest son Parker was a standout high school football player and earned a college scholarship. He didn’t play football until he was in high school because he was too big. Let me say that again. One of Ann Coulter’s “real sports” wouldn’t allow my son to play because he was too big. I spent most of my childhood in Nebraska. It was impossible to be too big to play football. Pop Warner was having none of it. With some extra time on his hands he was able to play competitive-level soccer. Ironic, huh?
Ann’s implication that major injury is not possible in soccer shows that she has some positions open on her research staff. OK, I like to poke fun at the lack of fortitude of soccer players. I may or may not have joked that Lionel Messi’s mother once got a yellow card for hugging him too hard. That doesn’t mean that injuries are unusual in soccer. Jozy Altidore of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team suffered a grade 2 tear in his hamstring early in the World Cup and didn’t play again. If you don’t think that is a major injury, you’ve never had one. Neymar, a striker for Brazil was diagnosed with a fracture in a lumbar vertebrae after taking a knee from an opponent. Maybe their juice boxes will make it all better.
After reading her piece a few times, I guess that I can see some humor in it. The problem is that it’s not clear if she is trying to be funny. She claims that liberal mothers like soccer because it takes so little athletic talent that girls can compete with boys. “No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level,” she explains. I tread lightly here. Not because I agree with Ann, but because I don’t like sleeping on the couch. One false move here and I am banished. Is she seriously insinuating that women’s sports aren’t serious? Read her article and get back to me. She takes a cheap shot at the Women’s NBA as well.
The high point of her argument is that World Cup soccer games only had high ratings because immigrants from soccer countries were watching. She claims that nobody whose great grandfather was born in the U.S. was watching World Cup Soccer. Maybe where she lives. I was watching. Not much, mind you, but I followed it and I was proud of he U.S. team’s performance. But I don’t think Ann Coulter cares about that.
Both my younger boys play soccer. They don’t really care about who watches games on T.V. or if they have girls on their teams. They aren’t the least bit interested in the political statements. They play it because it’s fun. And at the end they get juice boxes.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you again soon on This Side of the Diaper.