Now that the World Cup is (finally) over, I can say that I've watched enough soccer to last me the rest of my life. Not that I watched a lot of it, just as much as I could stand without dying from boredom. If this makes me some kind of ugly American, or stupid redneck, those are labels i'll gladly wear, so long as it means I don't have to ever watch soccer again.
I tried this year, as I did whenever the World Cup was here in the US 8 or 12 years ago, to watch with an open mind. I honestly tried to see what it is that the rest of the world sees in this game. And I failed miserably. No offense to anyone who likes this crap. I know a few of the few readers I have left really like soccer. If someone can watch 90 minutes of nothing happening and enjoy it, I say go for it, but I can't do it.
The game I watched the most of was the Italy vs US game. I figured that was the best chance I would have of actually enjoying a game, since it was the US, it was a big game for them, and Italy was supposed to be pretty good (which was apparently true). So, when I turned it on, it was already 1-1, and I figured with a score like that, maybe it would be a good game. Maybe the US actually was a pretty good team. So, as I watched 2 or 3 people get thrown out of the game for things that I could only term as incidental contact and not understanding what the hell is a foul, what constitutes a yellow card, or a red card in this silly game but knowing that what I saw was definitely not worth either team having to play the game shorthanded, my resolve wavered but I kept watching. Then, when I found out how the US had scored their only goal, I almost gave up watching at that point. But I soldiered on, and was seemingly rewarded when the US scored a goal to take a 2-1 lead. I have to admit, it was somewhat exciting, and my disdain for the game was almost conquered. It was quickly restored a minute later when the goal was disallowed. And it was further cemented when the reason for the goal being disallowed was, as best I could understand the crappy explanations, that someone got in the way of the goalie, so he couldn't see the shooter. Now, maybe something was lost in the translation, and maybe there was some more serious infraction, but in a sport where goals are so incredibly rare, you'd think they wouldn't be so quick to take them away. Anyway, I kept watching, but not with the same enthusiasm, and when the game ended in a tie, my previous opinion of the game remained unchanged. Boring sport with no action, as likely to end in a tie as not. At least it wasn't a 0-0 tie, I guess.
I watched parts of other games here and there both before and after the game above, but never saw anything compelling enough to catch my interest and make me crave more. I never even managed to see a goal scored live. But I guess that's not surprising since they're so rare anyway. So, in four years when the world is excited again over the World Cup, and everyone is prediciting that soccer is on the verge of becoming a mainstream sport in the US (again), I'll be happily ignoring it (or at least as much as ESPN will let me ignore it). Call me when (real) football season starts. Until then, I'll be following another slow game that still manages to be exciting from time to time. Go Mets!