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i just can't get pumped for soccer

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but i know a lot of you guys do, so what am i missing?

 

here's how i see things

 

good things about soccer:

when it's played the way i wish it was played, it's an aesthetically pleasing game. the ball moves fluidly and the positions of the players respond accordingly. i've likened it to a windows screensaver on several occasions before and i actually kind of believe this because it's fun to watch things in motion responding to other things in motion.

 

bad things about soccer:

it's too one dimensional. this game is a game of footwork and not much else. i'm pretty unimpressed in general by this. a lot of people respond to this by saying "yeah that's what makes it so difficult," but i think that's confusing a limit imposed by a game on all participants [save the goalie] for a limit on, like, humankind. okay, duh, i don't want to play in a game where i can't use my hands. i am a fucking human being. when i do things i want to capitalize on my evolutionary advantage known as opposable thumbs.

 

the timing system is seriously retarded. i can't fathom a defense of any of it. counting upwards is stupid but that's fine, you can do that, if you're going to stop the clock when the game isn't being played. i'm not just venting because america lost because i don't care about america winning soccer games. i don't care about anyone winning soccer games. i'm noting an observable tendency in soccer. you see it in other games too--basketball and the free throws; football and running the clock out. this is always going to happen in games governed by a clock [ever wonder why baseball is the purest sport on earth?] but soccer is just a fucking joke. at least with basketball and football there are concrete limits imposed on how the clock functions to maximize the amount of game being played in that time period [basketball more so than football]. for christ's sake, stop the fucking clock instead of adding "bonus" minutes. i'm not fooled by bank plots to take my money and move it into a savings account and then pretend they're giving me money, why would i be for a sport? are soccer fans this stupid?

 

and the game's never played the way i want it to. so many arbitrary aspects of the game. so many flops. so many fake injuries. sure, i put up with some of these things in basketball, but this isn't a contradiction on my part. i love basketball. i don't love soccer. i'll put up with it for a sport i love [and frankly i'll advocate the shit out of awesome new rules that would fix problems in those sports].

 

 

my question: why do people like this fucking game?

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but i know a lot of you guys do, so what am i missing?

 

here's how i see things

 

good things about soccer:

when it's played the way i wish it was played, it's an aesthetically pleasing game. the ball moves fluidly and the positions of the players respond accordingly. i've likened it to a windows screensaver on several occasions before and i actually kind of believe this because it's fun to watch things in motion responding to other things in motion.

 

bad things about soccer:

it's too one dimensional. this game is a game of footwork and not much else. i'm pretty unimpressed in general by this. a lot of people respond to this by saying "yeah that's what makes it so difficult," but i think that's confusing a limit imposed by a game on all participants [save the goalie] for a limit on, like, humankind. okay, duh, i don't want to play in a game where i can't use my hands. i am a fucking human being. when i do things i want to capitalize on my evolutionary advantage known as opposable thumbs.

 

the timing system is seriously retarded. i can't fathom a defense of any of it. counting upwards is stupid but that's fine, you can do that, if you're going to stop the clock when the game isn't being played. i'm not just venting because america lost because i don't care about america winning soccer games. i don't care about anyone winning soccer games. i'm noting an observable tendency in soccer. you see it in other games too--basketball and the free throws; football and running the clock out. this is always going to happen in games governed by a clock [ever wonder why baseball is the purest sport on earth?] but soccer is just a fucking joke. at least with basketball and football there are concrete limits imposed on how the clock functions to maximize the amount of game being played in that time period [basketball more so than football]. for christ's sake, stop the fucking clock instead of adding "bonus" minutes. i'm not fooled by bank plots to take my money and move it into a savings account and then pretend they're giving me money, why would i be for a sport? are soccer fans this stupid?

 

and the game's never played the way i want it to. so many arbitrary aspects of the game. so many flops. so many fake injuries. sure, i put up with some of these things in basketball, but this isn't a contradiction on my part. i love basketball. i don't love soccer. i'll put up with it for a sport i love [and frankly i'll advocate the shit out of awesome new rules that would fix problems in those sports].

 

 

my question: why do people like this fucking game?

 

This. Minus some of the harshness. But this.

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I started playing soccer intramurally my freshman year. It kept off the freshman 15 and its great for my heart and leg muscles

 

But its hard watching other people play it.

 

And since ive been a fan of 4 other sports, i rarely have time to care about pro soccer. FIFA is a fun video game and a little Jingoism every 4 years is fun. But i dont have the same reaction to Donovan's goal as I did to Korie Lucious' shot in the 2nd Round of the NCAAs.

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Eh, I started playing soccer in Kindergarten and played all the way through high school. I have even played some inter-mural off and on. It's in my blood. If you don't have that background, maybe it's hard to get into.

 

In soccer, the clock counts up and there are no timeouts. It has been this way since the beginning and tradition is unlikely to change. The ref adds time on the end to account for time wasted during the game itself. Endurance is a fundamental part of the game and timeouts and stopping the clock would disrupt this.

 

Soccer, like basketball, is a game in which either team can score at any time. Baseball has a rigid offensive and defensive system and football has two different teams. Scoring is rare and almost impossible if your team is on the defense in these sports. But in soccer and basketball, possession can turn over at any time, the ball can change directions many times, and for me that leads to a more exciting game.

 

 

I saw a basketball game on the TV at a frozen yogurt place the other week, and what struck me the most was how small the court is. A soccer field is the largest of any played game field (I might be wrong, but baseball doesn't play a field in the same way). These long distances, combined with frequent turnovers and the occasional break for the goal, lead to, for me, the most dramatic and gut wrenching moments in sports.

 

For me, it just can't be beat.

 

But, it isn't for everyone.

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I don't like soccer, but someone explained the counting clock by saying that the ref actually has full discretion as to when to end the game. This actually allows the ref to let the game continue if someone has a breakaway or something, blowing the whistle when the scoring chance is over. A buzzer beater wouldn't make sense in soccer the way it does with basketball ("The ball left his feet! It counts if it goes in...."). Imagine if the game ended as the ball was heading towards the net... You could imagine that, but letting the ref decide to let the ball go in before ending the game is actually a rule of soccer that promotes scoring.

 

Based on that, I can see the count up being something more useful than just tradition. Keep in mind that you can have a clock that goes down AND doesn't stop, but you can't have a clock go to 0.00 then have the ref continue the game to let a play finish.

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i have one of those soccer backgrounds and played pretty competitively for awhile. still, I really dont like the sport. Its kind of fun to play, sort of. I played on an indoor team in the winter, usually play goalie. But this world cup has sort of reinforced everything i hate about soccer.

 

The NBA has bad officiating, but they have bad officiating with 3 officials with people watching replay courtside. Soccer has one official trying to cover probably 5 times as much area. And then a couple linesman. So when the ball crosses the goal line, the only person who can verify it is a 60 year old man who is really just trying to keep up with the action. Why not have four officials on the field? there is no reason for this.

 

And then there is the diving. Soccer purists go crazy about this, defending their sport. but the last 25 minutes of the US match against Ghana was shameful. they wasted time, laid on the ground in pain for 2 minutes after replays showed there was no contact. But it wasnt just Ghana. The US on more than a few occasions did the same exact thing. At one point they showed a replay of a US player who was laying on the ground going down and he ALMOST turned his ankle. but he didnt. People in the bar all did the "oooo" that you do when you see a replay that is sort of grotesque. but it wasnt grotesque, the guy just landed a little awkwardly. I said "are you serious? we watch football on sundays, what would happen if this happened after every tackle?" the sport has a bunch of prima donnas who are not tough at all and are actually rewarded for playing like little girls.

 

now, this could be stopped easily. The guy who pretended he got hit in the face by Kaka and writhed on the ground for 3 full minutes when he only got bumped into the chest when HE RAN INTO kaka should have just been given a 10 game international ban by FIFA. its that easy. hand out a few multigame suspensions and all of that shit disapears. Every game is reviewed after the fact, why not be proactive and try and end a practice that is pathetic.

 

in this country, we expect our athletes to be tough. Guys who can stand in the batters box when a pitcher is throwing 98, guys that take the ball up the middle when Ray Lewis is standing on the other end of the line, guys like AI and Wade that take contact in the lane but keep driving everytime. NOT floppers in the NBA, and certainly not writhers in soccer that can run without issue 20 seconds after they get up.

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Eh, I started playing soccer in Kindergarten and played all the way through high school. I have even played some inter-mural off and on. It's in my blood. If you don't have that background, maybe it's hard to get into.

 

In soccer, the clock counts up and there are no timeouts. It has been this way since the beginning and tradition is unlikely to change. The ref adds time on the end to account for time wasted during the game itself. Endurance is a fundamental part of the game and timeouts and stopping the clock would disrupt this.

Soccer, like basketball, is a game in which either team can score at any time. Baseball has a rigid offensive and defensive system and football has two different teams. Scoring is rare and almost impossible if your team is on the defense in these sports. But in soccer and basketball, possession can turn over at any time, the ball can change directions many times, and for me that leads to a more exciting game.

 

 

I saw a basketball game on the TV at a frozen yogurt place the other week, and what struck me the most was how small the court is. A soccer field is the largest of any played game field (I might be wrong, but baseball doesn't play a field in the same way). These long distances, combined with frequent turnovers and the occasional break for the goal, lead to, for me, the most dramatic and gut wrenching moments in sports.

 

For me, it just can't be beat.

 

But, it isn't for everyone.

 

Except in basketball, they actually do score.

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I guess I'll start with the flopping thing. The soccer community generally dislikes flopping. It's really no different than any other sport. There will always be some sort of embellishment when there are referees involved. In football theres Tom Brady trying to draw a roughing the passer call. In basketball we have pretty much every charge/block call ever made. It sucks that it happens, but most teams don't really do it that much. To watch Italy or Portugal a few times in the World Cup and to make an inference about soccer as a whole is like watching Duke and making a judgment about basketball. I wouldn't be opposed to looking at matches after the fact and handing out punishment for some of it, but it probably won't really change much. If there's even a little contact (and there almost always is) then its very very hard to give out additional punishments.

 

And Sev, do you like lacrosse? That's as close are you're gonna get to soccer with hands. I mean, I personally don't dislike it, but its not my favorite thing in the world either. Certainly not as entertaining as soccer. I just don't see the same level of skill required in the game.

 

And Jedi Legend gets the clock thing right. I'm a soccer ref and I can tell you that we almost always wait to call the game until a scoring opportunity is done. And since teams know the game is about to end, those end of game sequences are almost always the most entertaining parts of soccer matches (at least the close ones).

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i *love* lacrosse. saying it requires less skill than soccer to me seems like an absolutely laughably preposterous claim. i'm not trying to get into comparing sports and saying one is arbitrarily better than the other one, but if i were trying to do that in this thread, this post would be really super long and a little bit vitriolic to soccer supporters. bottom line though [at least for now, while i'm still watching pro-soccer thoughts accumulate in this thread] i think your thoughts on lacrosse aren't quite right. many of the ways people have differentiated soccer from the sports they know i like [football basketball baseball] also differentiate soccer from lacrosse [clock, offense defense dynamic, quantity of points scored, entertainment value]

 

also, to say flopping is as prevalent in other sports seems wrong to me. it's definitely not as prevalent in football, though you can come up with one example where it is; it's not in baseball despite aj pierzynski's efforts to singlehandedly bring cheating to baseball; i don't think it's as big of a problem in basketball precisely because the value of each added point is so much less than a flop in the box in soccer, and also it's only situationally done in basketball--players don't just act like they've been hit when they run alongside each other down the court; and i think lacrosse is the gloriously golden standard for this discussion because you *never* see flopping in lacrosse.

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Hockey>Lacrossse>Soccer in terms of difficulty.

 

i actually agree with this. i give hockey a little shit but it's all in good fun because i respect the shit out of that game. it's easily the most difficult in american sports.

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Everybody's got their opinion, but I'm going to say baseball should be near the top of any list of difficult sports. The average person can skate around decently, can run into opposing players decently, and perhaps can even handle the puck decently. However, the average person can not hit a baseball to save their life. Have you seen anyone at batting cages lately flailing around like a fish out of water? I rest my case.

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i think baseball's underrated too, but at least you don't have to learn an entirely new mode of movement to figure it out. i can show you several mlb players that look silly at the plate on a regular basis [every pitcher not named zack greinke comes to mind, and also most royals middle infielders during my lifetime]....can you show me five nhl players that can't skate?

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Golf is the hardest sport ever invented, bar none. I mean, today I went out for my first round since coming home from UCLA, and on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being pretty goddamn awful and 10 being vintage Tiger Woods, my golf game was right around a Charles Barkley.

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Okay, maybe it's just me but I've never understood why everyone believes skating to be so difficult... I never understood people that couldn't figure out how to stop (natural selection) Or even why people had trouble balancing... (lol fat people) Skating to me has always felt like exaggerated strides, nothing more. That aside...

 

If there are professional baseball players that look like poor athletes - and there are a lack of hockey players that are poor athletes - that means logically baseball would assumed to be more difficult, granted that the "best" professionals show inadequacy on a regular basis.

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there's a difference between skating well enough to not embarrass yourself and skating well enough to maneuver around a number of big bearded guys with sticks that skate absurdly well and that want to fuck you up, and also controlling a puck by tapping it around on ice while you're doing all this.

 

the way i see it on one end of the difficulty pole you have soccer. it's footwork and not much else. the "you couldn't play it so it's difficult" argument is fucking dumb because i can't play any sport at a professional level. this is why i call that a one dimension game.

 

baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse--these are two dimensional games to me because you have to move your feet elitely [for whatever job you have--devin harris's elite footwork is fundamentally different than hakeem olajuwon's elite footwork, but each are elite for their ends] and you have to do something else with your body--snag fly balls, repeat a pitching motion and nip at the corners of a plate, transfer your weight in tune with making contact on a ball, dribble pass shoot rebound block a shot steal a ball, throw catch defend passes block avoid blocks, cradle pass shoot stick check poke check block shots....

 

hockey's a little different. it's still two dimensional, but the footwork is more difficult and the second dimension is just as demanding as the other two dimensional sports.

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Lacrosse was invented by native americans who saw some canadians playing hockey and said "lets try this out".

 

Then realized that it was too hard, dropped the skating and allowed high sticking.

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I tend to consult my own personal scale to resolve these types of issues.

 

sports I'm reasonably alright at:

tennis

soccer

catching footballs

 

sports I'm ok at:

lacrosse

basketball

throwing footballs

catching baseballs

 

sports I'm not very good at:

throwing baseballs

hitting baseballs

tackling football players

golf

 

sports I'm fucking terrible at:

hockey

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I think this discussion of difficulty is interesting. The only two sports I ever played competitively were hockey and baseball, and for me, hockey was worlds easier. It may be that I didn't have too many issues on footwork because the motion for ice skating was natural; I walked with a similar stride (I'm waddle-footed with slightly bowed legs). I can't run for shit, but I skated faster than most guys on the team. I had decent puck handling skills and was a good passer. I couldn't shoot for shit, but I always chocked that up to poor upper body strength.

 

Baseball, on the other hand, was a nightmare. At least offensively. I was a reasonably solid defensive ball player, but asking me to hit a baseball was like asking Shaq to hit a free throw. It seems like the quality hand-eye coordination necessary to be an adequate, well rounded baseball player is absurd. These days I go to the batting cages and can barely hit a bright yellow softball going 60 miles an hour. Forget putting me at the plate in front of a smaller, more mobile ball at higher speeds.

 

I'll grant that playing goal-tender in hockey is possibly the hardest thing ever, but I feel like playing, say, defenseman in hockey is easier than a lot of other things. That's just been my experience.

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you guys are all discussing this at the level that we ourselves are at. thats not really helpful. it isnt skating that makes hockey hard. Its skating and having to redirect a puck flying through traffic past a big-ass goalie while your being hooked from behind. your hands have to be soft, strong, and quick for hockey, a combination not many people have.

 

baseball is similar, someone mentioned a batting cage. isnt the hardest thing in the world to hit a 50 mile per hour pitch. i was pretty good at baseball for awhile. when i got to the level when people could throw 80 consistently, i was done. couldnt keep up. if they had a 70 mile per hour breaking ball it was even harder. In the show, they have 15 more miles per hour to throw at you. i have no idea how anyone could make contact.

 

much like i have no idea how any running back runs full steam into linebackers who weigh 50 pounds more than they do.

 

look, all these sports are hard, thats why the guys who excel get a lot of money. the fact of the matter is though, soccer just really doesnt take as much talent. Sev was right, LBJ would be the best goalie ever. I think AI would have been an unbelievable striker. Any cornerback in the NFL would be a great striker for gosh sakes. dont tell me they dont have the footwork

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the way i see it on one end of the difficulty pole you have soccer. it's footwork and not much else. the "you couldn't play it so it's difficult" argument is fucking dumb because i can't play any sport at a professional level. this is why i call that a one dimension game.

I think "footwork" is too limited a term when comparing necessary soccer skills against other sports'. In almost any other sport, "footwork" refers to movement alone (getting yourself from where you are to where you want to be in a quick and efficient manner without falling down). But "footwork" in soccer also includes ball-handling. Soccer players "catch," hold, and pass/shoot the ball with their feet at the same time as their traditional "footwork" moves them around the field. "Footwork" in soccer encompasses movement and ball control simultaneously, which makes both jobs significantly harder.

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