We reached a point somewhere along our grassy-pitch way that these anti-soccer sermons are just amusing.
Whereas I once just shook my head and moved along, now I feel a bit sorry for the dinosaurs who cannot see their own extinction. I mostly just pat them on their silly and fearful heads, figuratively so, and move on.
(I have long stopped defending soccer in any passionate way; I mostly just say “You like what you like, I’ll happily do the same.” Mostly. But since it’s meatless Monday, and that always puts me in a mood … )
Seriously, I could live 1,000 years and not fully understand why anyone devotes time, energy and effort to telling the rest of us why we should not like something. Truth is, these dated and toxic discharges of anti-soccer venom aren’t for soccer fans. This is the fearful, anti-change faction of the Baby Boomer set, writing with wounded monotony in newspapers for the only people who still read newspapers: other Baby Boomers who like to believe that 1982 might just happen all over again. Good times!
With informed content providers, this kind of thing crumbled not long after the Berlin Wall. But not for Matt Zencey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, apparently.
Ever notice these things almost always come from an older, white, male baseball lovers? Hmmmm. Changing world … Evolving likes and dislikes in our own, wonderful country … Baseball as metaphor for “good old days syndrome.” … Yes! There is something there.
At any rate, Zencey’s work checked all the usual boxes:
Vast over-generalization. Check.
Factual inaccuracy. (Usually in the lack of goals, assertions that scoreless draws are far more frequent than they are. Never mind the data, my man. Carry on.)
Helpful suggestions of rule changes. Check.
Sophomoric sarcasm disguised as actual description of the game. Yup …
The teams run around for an hour and a half and if the fans are lucky, their team may – hold your breath! – score a goal or two.
Zing! Good one, dude!
Other ignorant, America-centric ideas on how to improve a sport that’s doing just fine in almost every corner of the world (including our own, I say). Got it.
Ridiculously dated references to hooliganism and tragedy (like Andres Escobar’s horrible death), obtusely uninterested in the reality that every sport comes attached to a few darker elements. Check.
Zencey did provide some nod to the game’s continued growth and popularity. That represents some improvement, at least, from the typical exercise in convenient oblivion.
Still, it hit most of the usual tone-deaf notes. (He did miss the old “enlarging the goal” tender, a staple of the 1970s era helpful suggestions from American newspaper sporties.)
Should I mention quickly that all this was written after a very entertaining match at sold-out PPL Park in the man’s hometown, where the Union fell to Sporting Kansas City? A match the former Philly Inquirer editorial board member failed to attend. (Too bad, too. It honestly was quite a match.) That fact wasn’t lost on the Brotherly Game site that went to whuppin’ on Zencey.
I suppose the only thing more cliché than anti-soccer rants is … yes, guys like me who point out the nincompoopery of it all. But, so long as I’m at it, I have one more thing to say:
By the way, dude … soccer will be around in this country far, far longer than your newspaper industry in its current incarnation. But you probably know that.