Other, Less Awesome Sports

I made the category tag “Other, Less Awesome Sports” almost as soon as I started this blog.  It was intended to be a tag that could encompass all of my encounters with non-hockey sports.  When I started TWC,  my hyper-awareness of sports was brand new, and I quickly realized that even without trying, I was having daily interactions with all kinds of sports.  I had been thinking about sports as a I’ve-been-looking-for-you-my-entire-life love affair, but I quickly realized I was in a you’ve-been-here-all-along situation.  After I sought out hockey, I simply noticed that sports were all around me, all the time.

The last few weeks I’ve been going through a funny sports rebirth. I’m watching other sports more and more.  Frankly, I’m surprised by my depth of interest.  Shocked even.  I like sports!…and not just hockey!

Basketball

Basketball was the one sport that I truly thought I could never like.  I’m still a little astounded to catch myself tuning into the NBA Finals.  I can’t fathom that my interest in basketball will bleed into the NBA’s regular season, but you never know.  Four years ago I couldn’t have fathomed that I’d ever have season tickets to the Sabres, so I’ve learned to never say never.

I like the raw athleticism of basketball, and I like that it’s such a simple concept.  Run back and forth and take turns putting a ball through a hoop.  That’s the whole thing.  Basketball is a very simple sport, and I like it that way.  I’m also fascinated by how close the spectators are to the action.  I guess hockey has nearby spectators too, but in hockey the glass creates a sense of separation whereas in basketball those dudes are right there.  They can land right on you, and they often do.  I also like how basketball players are freakishly large.  Basketball is a sport played by genetic mutants, and that amuses me.

What I don’t like about basketball is how the first half is pretty boring (and as far as I can tell, largely irrelevant), and how the last two minutes often involve everyone purposefully fouling everyone else.   I also don’t like how the players act like GIGANTIC effing babies every time they get bumped.  Hockey has spoiled all other sports for me in this respect.  Which leads me to….

Soccer

Holy COW are soccer players drama queens!   But in the case of soccer, the drama just cracks me up.

I am REALLY enjoying the World Cup so far.  I’m a little iffy on soccer still, but the spectacle and drama of the World Cup has got me hooked.

The real moment of falling in love with the World Cup came while I was watching the Ghana game yesterday.  They were so spunky, and their fans were so much fun with their dancing and hopping around.  For some reason the people from Ghana (Ghanians?) kind of clued me into what a big deal the World Cup is.  I know that’s a very obvious point, but as most of the people reading this blog know, we really don’t care about the World Cup in the United States.  It recently occurred to me that the rest of the world is having a gigantic, rollicking party, and meanwhile the United States is sitting around being all sullen and, “Whatevs.  Your party is lame.” You know what?…. I think we might be the lame ones.

Why are we such pills about the World Cup?  Can’t we see that everyone else in the world thinks it’s totally rad?  And isn’t that reason enough to give it a chance?

Yes, soccer is kind of redonk.  The clock goes UP and no one knows when the game is going to end.   That’s weird.  BUT, it looks real VERY good in HD, and, it’s on in the morning. Sports!  At seven in the morning! It’s amazing.

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17 Responses to “Other, Less Awesome Sports”


  1. 1 Phil June 14, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Actually, this year might be different for the World Cup in America. More Americans have bought tickets for and traveled to World Cup games this year than any other, and the USA-ENG match was the most watched opening round game in history in the United States. (Numbers can be found a href=”http://www.ussoccer.com/Social/MNT-Blog.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=1a697a53-a181-4302-aa61-f454d97c88fd&plckPostId=Blog%3a1a697a53-a181-4302-aa61-f454d97c88fdPost%3a8601b737-9b27-4b71-a0b5-7a725f1881c8&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest”>here)

    I hope the USA becomes less lame regarding soccer, cuz I’m a former soccer non-fan and I am LOVING the World Cup so far (minus the vuvuzelas!)

  2. 3 Capsworth June 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I for one LOVE the vuvuzelas!

  3. 4 Andrew Meyer June 14, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I love World Cup season and Soccer tournaments in general. The Confederations Cup got me hooked for sure. The US beat Spain! A team that hadn’t lost in like 30 games! That is rediculous! I love Soccer because of it’s granduer. The world cup is like a super organized SCF that goes non-stop for a month. It’s great. Plus, each team has players that you can latch onto just like in hockey. Watching and listening to one game you can suddenly find yourself immersed in some rando team like Paraguay. Plus you get excited over ties! When else do you ever get to be excited over a tie?! Never, thats when!

    Americans just have the inherent need to be turned off by Soccer… It’s such a blue collar game. The whole world is into it! The President of Paraguay gave every federal worker the day off today to let them watch the game! How awesome is that?! Imagine, you get the day off to watch sports. It truly is a lifestyle…

    I hope the US can get to that level of fandom someday. Like a giant WC party across the country. It may never happen, but from the looks of Phil’s stats things are looking up.

    Either way, great post!

  4. 5 Andrew Meyer June 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Wow, that comment was like a rush of thoughts. Sorry, your post got me thinking so I just put everything down at once. My bad haha…

  5. 6 Capsworth June 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Also, agreed about us being pills re: World Cup. It’s dumb. If we don’t like it, fine, but let’s not slag on it to make ourselves feel superior. That’s lame.

    Tangentially related story: My mom’s from New Zealand and I remember being over there one January visiting relatives. I was staying at my cousin’s friend’s spot for a couple days, and it was this beautiful house deep in this gorgeous forest right by the beach. It was pretty much paradise, and I was having a blast. Anyways, me being a sports fan, I noticed they had satellite TV and asked if I could watch the Super Bowl, which I knew was on the next day. We checked the listings and sure enough, it was being broadcast live at like 10 AM on Monday or something. My gracious hosts were all like, yeah, cool, we’ll watch it with you. So the next day – this beautiful sunny day, because January is like July for them – we ate some fresh NZ fruit and drank an early beer and put on the Super Bowl.

    It was a total disaster. My Kiwi companions couldn’t understand why the hell the players were wearing so many pads; why the game kept stopping every ten seconds; why there were so many damn commercials; why they wore spandex; why the coaches had headsets; etc. etc. etc. They were completely baffled – and after the bewilderment died down, the heckling started. Shocked, I saw football in a new light, realizing that for dudes raised on rugby, football looked tame, overpadded, and most of all, boring. After about ten minutes, my hosts took off outside and went surfing. I toughed it out in solitude for another quarter or so, trying to ignore the sunshine streaming in through the windows and all the exotic birds chirping real loud. But it was Raiders-Bucs, a really terrible Super Bowl, and I turned it off and kinda laughed at myself. Leave it to the dude from Buffalo to watch the Super Bowl in New Zealand summer.

    Moral of the story: our sports look lame to others the same way their sports may or may not look weird to us.

  6. 7 aristeia June 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I am here for all your soccer/footie/calcio needs. Just ask, dear. I’ve dealt w/ the “soccer blows” crap all my life, so I just try to roll w/ it (ironic, I also get flack all the time for being a hockey fan). But it’s been surprisingly nice to find so many new, genuine fans… watching w/ interest and less disdain than usual.

    If you don’t truly LOVE the game, it will seem ridic to you. This I realize. And if you don’t truly UNDERSTAND the game & all its nuances, it’s hard to love it.

  7. 8 Katebits June 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Haha! I LOVE your New Zealand story, Capsworth!

    When we were watching the US game my friends and I had a big conversation about just how un-American soccer really is. The way the clock works is weird to us, no one knows when the game is going to end exactly, the officiating is kind of bad and no one seems to really care, and the players KISS each other. There is something sort of fascinating to me about that. (Do you root for New Zealand? I’ve been to New Zealand, so I consider myself part Kiwi and I’ve been considering throwing them some of my support [after Ghana, of course].) I love the vuvuzelas too. I’ve already learned to just tune them out. I don’t even notice them anymore.

    Thanks for you comment, Andrew! You know what I really like about soccer ties? Take the US/England game for example- the tie was a HUGE victory for the US and a huge defeat for England. That’s awesome! And fun!

    Phil, I bet the timing of the WC is perfect for your budding soccer fandom. Thanks for the stats!

  8. 9 Katebits June 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    aristeia, I definitely don’t dislike soccer, and every game I watch, I like it more. I’m still a little baffled about why they don’t score more. Intuitively I keep thinking that with a field and a net that big they should be scoring right and left. Right now the biggest appeal (besides the personalities and drama of the event) is watching their footwork. I can’t believe how good they are at kicking that ball around! :D

  9. 10 Meg June 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I definitely feel like this World Cup has more interest here in New York City than the one before it. And to be honest, even the prior World Cup felt like a pretty big deal, but that’s probably because something like 40% of New Yorkers are foreign-born. Of course, then I see video of other countries and am amazed at just how huge it is there. The whole morning games thing is kind of a bummer for me though since I miss them because of work.

    I think you’re totally right about us being pills, too. As far as I can tell, the World Cup is basically a month-long party with sports. What’s not to like about that?

  10. 11 Pookie June 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Plus you get excited over ties! When else do you ever get to be excited over a tie?! Never, thats when!

    In pre-shootout hockey, that’s when! :D

  11. 12 Joe from NYC June 15, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Since everyone ignored basketball (A real sport), Basketball has been fun this postseason and I’m happy you are enjoying it. Yes, the first half doesn’t mean much unless something crazy happens. I think the issue with players looking like babies has to do with basketball being the only sport of the four major, where a player doesn’t where a helmet. You see more emotion. Plus the officating sucks ass, which makes the players angry…and angry LARGE men, look angrier than small Nathan Gerbe types.

  12. 13 Ryan June 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Olympic hockey used to count up. Soccer is the only sport where counting up makes sense to me. The rest always blew my mind. I think the world is a better place now that the Olympics are fixed.

    Well… sorta.

  13. 14 Grrrreg June 15, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Yay! I’m glad you’re enjoying the WC!! Soccer/Football is the first sport I cared about, and that dates back to my childhood. And the WC is definitely a special thing.
    I’ll never forget the summer of 1998 when the world Cup was played not only in my country, but IN MY CITY (Nantes, for the record). The atmosphere was crazy all summer long. I had the opportunity to attend a game (Chili-Cameroon), and the atmosphere in the stadium was really fun. Of course the way that WC ended made it really unforgettable too! ;)

    Honestly, so far I found this WC a little meh. A lot of games have been a little boring, even by football standards, and the vuvuzela thing is not helping as it masks all the fans chants. But it will definitely get more exciting once every team played their first game and it gets more meaningful.

    And a last thing, even if football is a low scoring game with a sometime slow pace, there’s something to be said about enjoying the flow of the game. It takes a bit of time to get used to it (especially after watching a lot of hockey), but once you get past the “guuuh this is boring, nothing is happening” phase, you can really enjoy this sport.

  14. 15 Andrew Meyer June 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Pookie, I thought as Post-Lockout hockey fans living in a Bettman run world we aren’t supposed to acknowledge the fact that hockey ever existed without a shootout. THERE WAS NO LOCKOUT, JUST A REALLY LONG VACATION FOR EVERYONE.

    And Katebits, as a hockey fan that transferred my sports love to Soccer during the 06 world cup, I know exactly what you mean. It took a lot for me to get used to the major lack of scoring. That being said, it is fun finding excitement in the other aspects of the game. It makes every goal really count and causes little moments to be exciting, too!

    Totally loved the story about New Zealand. It’s nice to take a step back and see things from the perspective of others, especially something like sports that we tend to see as uniform for everyone.

  15. 16 Matt June 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    As much as I love to play soccer, you will only find me watching it when I’m trying to take a nap. Even professional golf is much more interesting to me than watching soccer.

    I’ve been watching the NCAA men’s rugby sevens tournament this week and I think I’ve finally found my off-season sport. Baseball’s not bad, but lacks any sort of speed. Lacross is faster, but makes me think “Hockey Lite” and that annoys me a little. Rugby’s got everything I like… speed, teamwork, physical toughness. It’s like it was tailor made for me!

  16. 17 sports June 17, 2010 at 4:07 am

    I agree with you. i don’t understand why the non-soccer fans are all so excited in attacking the world cup like jealous kids. Let us have our own joy and celebration. If they do not want to join, then it’s their problem.


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