I enjoy soccer live, though I admit I follow it only intermittently. But the burning question is: why don’t Americans like soccer? [who gives a f*ck? — ed.] A Brit named Duleep Allirajah does, you dyspeptic twit.
Here is Allirajah’s spirited attack on football-ignoring Americans (thesis), and his spirited defense of same (antithesis):
It is an undisputed fact that most Americans don’t really like football. This failure to ‘get’ football is often interpreted by Brits as a sign of American insularity and philistinism. Exhibit A, m’lud, is that the Yanks don’t like draws. They want to see a winner. They want shoot-outs to settle games. Exhibit B is that Americans don’t like low-scoring games. The only thing that Americans hate more than 0-0 draws is Osama bin Laden. So short is the average American’s concentration span that, unless there’s a goal every two minutes, they’re trotting off to the catering stall to buy another chilli dog. Exhibit C is the fact that they insist on calling it ‘soccer’. M’lud, I rest my case.
If we look beyond this kind of crude anti-Americanism we find a rich and sophisticated sporting culture in the US. American sports fans are every bit as knowledgeable and passionate about the sports they follow as European or Latin American football fans….
This week … a ‘personal invitation’ from Alan Hansen appeared in my email inbox to subscribe to the Daily Telegraph’s fantasy football league. These leagues, which have turned a generation of British football enthusiasts into stats-obsessed nerds, were originally invented by US baseball fans. Americans are also ahead of the curve when it comes to writing about sport. Long before Nick Hornby penned Fever Pitch, American writers such as Philip Roth, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and Don DeLillo showed that serious writers could ‘do’ sport. Americans also make far better sports films than the Brits. They can produce works of cinematic splendour like Raging Bull while we just make rubbish like When Saturday Comes.
For the synthesis, go read the whole thing. You will, in fact, be rewarded by Hegelian sentences such as "The fact is that a football culture cannot be mechanistically transplanted or imposed on to other societies; it has to develop organically."