Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#BringBackLawnDarts




Even though the passage of Title IX in 1972 opened more doors for female athletes, the effects had yet to trickle down to my small Midwestern town when I was a tow-headed, six-year-old tomboy in 1979.

We had a soccer league, but due to the lack of interest from the XX chromosome group, the few girls who signed up had to play with the boys.

I was sometimes the only girl on a team, which usually meant I got to hold the soccer ball in the team photo and pick where we’d go for our post-game snack.

Life was pretty good.

For 11 years, I lived with sprained ankles and bruised shins and loved every minute of it.

***

Dear non-soccer-loving friends, it’s OK if other people like soccer.

Really. It is. It has no effect on your life whatsoever. Bashing people who like the speckled-ball game won’t make you richer, better looking or get you into a size-2 dress.

There’s no need to trash them on social media with hashtags like #SoccerSucks, #IHateSoccer and #SoccerFansDieVirgins.

Please don’t debate the merits of American football vs. international futbol and who has the better athletes.

Because, really, 99 percent of us can’t run two blocks down the street without getting winded, throwing up all over our $150 running shoes then keeling over into the gutter waiting to die.

So - honestly - we’re not qualified to judge anyone here, regardless of what sport they play.

Unless it’s bowling.

I think we can all agree about the physical prowess of professional bowlers. Moving on....

There’s no need to whine about how boring soccer is. It’s boring because you don’t watch it enough to understand the strategy involved, how plays are set up and what the heck offsides means.

Just let go of the anger and move on to something more worthy. Like reintroducing lawn darts to the American public.

Now there’s a game that I miss. Although with inflation and the escalating cost of health care, those visits to the ER would cost a lot more in this day and age.

***

Dear soccer-loving friends, it’s OK if other people don’t like soccer.

I know, you hear the insults and it hurts. They kinda make you feel like that Cousin Oliver character on “The Brady Bunch,” don’t they? He was just never part of the “bunch” no matter how much they tried to make us like him.

But get over it.

Who cares if people think soccer is boring? Quit being so defensive. We don’t need to hear about the merits of the sport in detail great enough to fill a doctoral thesis.

And, come on. Nobody cares what the difference is between soccer and futbol. And that futbol is supposed to have that pretentious little accent mark over the “u.”

You’re purposefully trying to sound superior.

People. Don’t. Like. It.

And you gotta admit that non-soccer fans have a point about the players flopping on the ground like a fish out of water after a collision equal to a warm breeze floating by on a summer day.

It’s embarrassing.

I’ve no idea when this concept of flopping started. Back in the day, I would have been jerked out of the game for acting like, well, a jerk.

Then I’d have been put on water cup duty with a stern promise from the coach that I’d be running extra laps the next practice.

Bring back the No Flopping, No Whining, No Acting Like A Big Crybaby days and you’ll get more fans.

Just sayin’.

***

Dear bandwagon soccer friends,

You rock. You are the reason television ratings go sky high in the U.S. during the World Cup.

You are the Goldilocks of the soccer world. You are hated by soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike simply because you are exercising your God-given right to root for the Good Old U. S. of A.

You paint your faces and wave your flags, and it’s awesome. You wrap yourselves in red, white and blue colored scares when it’s 125 degrees outside. You sing and cheer and laugh even though you have no clue what’s happening.

Rock on.

It’s not bandwagon to root for the Americans in the World Cup when you don’t watch professional soccer any other time.

If that was the case, we’d never cheer for USA Hockey and the please-eat-a-sandwich-sometime American figure skaters during the Olympics when we don’t watch those sports any other time of the year.

We’re Americans. Let us have our fun.

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