Fellow Norsemen, I understand recently that our own Arif Hasan has recorded a special episode of Norse Code. Is it special in the sense that the doctor told me I was special? In a way, yes- it was special because it was about the World Cup. And then, to boot, Eric Thompson took a break from posting a minute-by-minute recap of his daughter's early life (although to be fair, that kid is ridiculously photogenic) to post THIS madness. Am I the only one here who has retained their sense of decency, their sense of purpose? Mugato, what is it that I'm experiencing here?
Ah yes, that seems about right.
The World Cup. The thing that the rest of the world cares about and the United States doesn't care about but suddenly it seems is starting to care about. This is a mistake and if you, like me, continue to despise this ultimate in the subversive of communist tactics, allow me to tell you why you are right to do so.
First off, I am no jingoist, I am no xenophobe. I have traveled the world. I have seen far off foreign lands- Switzerland, Japan, Louisiana, many others. I enjoy other cultures- their languages, their ways, their food. I often think that the United States could be well served in mimicking some of the ideas that the rest of the world follows; hell, after all, we are a melting pot wherein we take the best of the world around us and make it part of our own. And it's not like there aren't foreign sports worth watching. Rugby? Hell yeah. Australian rules football? Not bad stuff. Lacrosse? I just recently learned about this sport and hey, it's pretty badass.
But, just like we were right in fighting the Nazis, we are right in despising soccer, and we need to be the proverbial beacon on the hill showing the world their error. Soccer is perhaps hands-down the worst sport possible out there. The only actual purpose soccer serves is for our children to have something to do after school so that we can get an extra hour or so before having to put up with them (G-D WHAT NOW? YOU WANT FOOD AGAIN? YOU JUST ATE YESTERDAY!) and for their tiny little ADHD-riddled minds to get some actual, factual exercise. I know that's why I played soccer in school. And when I go to watch soccer now, as the parental figure who's supposed to idly root for a bunch of other kids who I don't actually hardly care about until WHOOO MINE LEVELED A KID YELLOW CARD WHAT THE HELL REF pssst hey JeAnn, use your elbow next time (I'm awesome at parenting stuff), do you know what I've noticed?
It's exactly the same as watching ‘professionals' on TV. Look, I believe in giving everything a shot. The last World Cup I tried watching a little because I have a friend (who is clearly a secret communist spy, apparently) who's into this crap. So I thought, OK, he's watching it and it's what's on TV as we're all collectively nursing a hangover at Smokey Bones. And it was turrrrrible. Just... turrrrible. You watch pee-wee football and its cute and they run around in their tiny pads and barely pay any attention and then eventually the refs say "ok enough of this crap 0-0 tie yayyy everyone". But you know what? Eventually some of these kids grow up, and then they play high school and then college and maybe pros, and as they go along, they actually look different. It's not just that they're bigger and faster- sure, professional soccer players are bigger and faster than their pee-wee counterparts- it's also that cooler things happen. There's no such thing as a 0-0 football score once you're in college. The worse thing that will happen is a total blowout. In soccer? Nope, that 0-0 score because they weren't doing crap in the pee-wee league is still exactly what happens in the pros. They're bigger and faster but they still don't do jack crap, except professional soccer players have learned to flop like little bitches whereas pee-wee players have some pride. They just run up and down the field and sometimes they kick a ball and my G-d you pray it goes into the goal because you so desperately need something to happen. And then they all flip out and scream because when something happens in soccer, it's like finding a leprechaun.
But you know something else, when talking about kids' soccer? They're actually better than watching pros do it because I know when the damn game will end. The only reason it might stretch over is for a shootout in the case of a tie, and even that is for a relatively set period. The two times I've watched the ending of a soccer game I had no f'ing idea what was going on because the clock just kept going, until it would randomly stop. ‘It's penalty time or injury time or extra time' or whatever the f you're calling it. No, it's randomly stopping the clock when the refs feel like we've all suffered enough. And I'm sure that never ever allows for some rigging of games. Ever. As bad as referees can be in the NFL, at least they can't suddenly stop the game after their chosen team scores a touchdown and go ‘yup, that's it!'. They have to try to make it look fair, unless of course they're replacement refs paid off by the Seahawks. (Which I'm still totally cool with, SUCK IT PACKERS.) And how the hell am I supposed to plan a day around a soccer game when nobody knows when it's going to end? HURY UP RANDOM GAME CLOCK. I DESPERATELY NEED TO GO CUT TINY CUTS INTO MY SKIN AND THEN POUR LEMON JUICE ALL OVER THEM BECAUSE THAT'S MORE ENJOYABLE THAN WATCHING THIS CRAP. Sure, timeouts and stuff can make the ending of an NFL game somewhat unpredictable, but you have an idea. There's two minutes and a half minutes left on the clock and the losing team still has all 3 timeouts? I'll be home in thirty minutes, honey. A soccer game? ‘Whenever the team FIFA wants to win scores, but this is soccer so maybe that'll be a few days who knows'.
I don't care much for baseball either, but you know what? At least when I see baseball highlights on SportsCenter or whatever, they're all usually very awesome. Amazing catches, great acrobatic throws, sweet home run slugs. I won't lie- those 5 seconds of euphoria isn't enough for me to put up with the insane boring-ness of the rest of it to watch a full game, but at least they have that. Whenever I see soccer highlights, maybe one- maybe one- out of ten is actually entertaining to see. Some goofy kick that bounced into the goal and it was all a total fluke anyways. And the other 9 highlights are David Beckham taking his shirt off. Great, you're an Adonis, I got it. Now go play a real sport. Let's see you be such a pretty-boy Brit in rugby, bro.
Oh, and I'm sorry, it's not a ‘shirt'. It's not a ‘uniform'. It's a freaking kit. What... the... $%&#.
Kits. Who calls their uniforms "kits"? You know who else goes all nuts showing off pictures of their new ‘kits'? THE LOSERS IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT'S WHO. The last person I know who was all excited about their ‘kits' was that kid in the locker room who holy hell just smelled, and we all kept our distance. And coach would come over and try to get us to not do that, saying things like ‘look maybe it's just the food he eats', but I DIDN'T SEE YOU GOING OVER THERE TO CHILL WITH HIM COACH. Every time someone says something about the ‘United States' awesome new kit!' I hear it through the heavy slurs of a large metal retainer set. The last time I was excited about a kit I had was a Star Wars kit I put together and I told my friends all about it in middle school. And then a bully game and beat me up. Kits. Are you f'ing kidding me. "Well it's a kit because it's got kneepads and stuff" or whatever (again, still read those quotes through the slurs of a heavy retainer)- no, that's called equipment or gear. There is 0 excuse why a sport played by grown men calls anything a ‘kit'.
Oh, and why else is soccer so horrible? Because their championships KILL THE WORKERS WHO MAKE THEM HAPPEN. Oh, sure, I know that that enormous list of demands that Minneapolis had to meet in order to get the Super Bowl likely also had a secret provision that Rodger Goodell be supplied with daily fresh underage Thai boy-hookers for the duration of his stay, but not only do they actually LIVE (probably), but at least the NFL has the decency to keep that kind of shit secret. FIFA? A story comes out that workers are dying by the pitch-load, and their response is: "Oh man, is it hot over in the Middle East? Gosh I hope our wealthy tourists aren't inconvenienced by that." Right now riot police are firing tear gas at protestors outside of World Cup games because FIFA demanded that Brazil's food stamp funds be diverted into caviar purchases for the wealthier spectators. The last Super Bowl was controversial because ZOMG NEW YORK CITY MIGHT BE A WEE BIT NIPPY. But by all means everyone, keep supporting FIFA by watching their horrible product that you should be ashamed of enjoying WITHOUT the blood of countless third-world workers on your hands. You know how New Yorkers and Los Angel...ians? are pissed off and rioting outside their stadiums because the Stanley Cup is there? OH THEY'RE NOT THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A SENSE OF CIVIC PRIDE? Gee. I guess not being a mass-murdering organization is good for business. Smart move, NHL.
Speaking of unfortunate incidents that surround soccer- hooligans. You know, I actually totally understand why soccer fans riot in ways that make all other sports riots look like Martha Stewart redecorating parties. If my favorite sport entailed me watching a bunch of grown men just running around a field for an unknown period of time, with the ultimate result being a freaking 0-0 tie, I'd go apeshit too. "Wow, I just spent x amount of time that I had no hope of predicting in advance anyways watching absolutely NOTHING HAPPEN and the highlight is that one dude took his shirt off? And I paid for this?! I demand to know where the nearest gallon of gasoline (or liter of petrol, whatever comrade) is so that I can now blow shit up." That honestly might be the only thing about soccer that I do understand.
And speaking of soccer fans, apparently having to endure these games turns you completely into a room full of kindergarteners. Not just again because of the innate urge to destroy, but also because you're so bored that you just pass the time making the LOUDEST AND MOST OBNOXIOUS NOISES YOU CAN. First it was vuvuzelas, and then they developed some weird bell things or whatever that FIFA actually had to ban for this World Cup. Try blowing a vuvuzela at an NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA game, and I guarantee that the fan next to you will punch you in the face, and then security will escort you out while offering that fan a free chili cheese hot dog. But in soccer? Totally acceptable, because you have to do SOMETHING to overcome the boredom and stave off that growing desire to just smash things. For G-d's sake soccer fans, just get a hobby and rid yourself of this masochistic urge. Perhaps mental help is in order.
We need to, as Americans, leave soccer in its natural place- as a mere source for hopeful NFL kickers and punters to continue to develop their leg strength (as well as their speed for when they want to pretend they're going to try and tackle someone). Because let's face it, the truth is a huge percentage of the US World Cup team would leave RIGHT NOW if an NFL team called up and offered them a contract. Hell, if a flight could be arranged I imagine some would leave in the middle of a game. They'd just flop on the field, and then quietly sneak off, and probably nobody would notice because everyone is busy wondering which guy is going to take his shirt off after the refs randomly decide the game is over, and also whether or not Brazil's starving masses remembered to get that caviar, or maybe they're finding new and creative ways to make loud noises to idly pass the time as they plot how to burn an entire city block that's already a slum after the game.