Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do Americans really care about soccer?

The World Cup is over and Americans now have to ask ourselves one question: do we care? Sure, we all cheered as the US won their group for the first time in 80 years. Yes, the Donovan goal against Algeria was surely an electrifying moment.  However, the question remains: what now? Do we forget about soccer for the next four years just like we forgot about track and field? Or are we going to start watching the Premier League or, gulp, the MLS.

In my opinion it's not that we don't like soccer, it's that we don't like anything but the very best. This is America where you're either a winner or  loser.  There's really no in between. You don't see people watching Triple A baseball or D-league basketball do you? That's essentially what the MLS is.  What do you really expect when the professional product is a glorified minor league.  Sure. there are some really good players in the MLS, but on a whole the Premier League is, no pun intended, premier. 

Also, Americans like their stats. This is a country where we employ people to discuss fantasy sports.  We don't want 0-0 games, we want numbers.  We want a winner and a loser. Also, the flopping is a huge turn off. Americans love violence. We don't want people crying out in pain everytime someone touches them with their pinky finger. Some of the injures are legitimate, but most guys crumble in pain if they've been nicked in the foot. 

With that said, count me in as a person that is willing to give soccer a chance. First of all, HD has helped soccer more than any other sport. The grass is so freaking green. What can I say I'm easily amused. Second, with no commercials you know when a game will be ending. There is no suffering through the plethora of Cialis and car insurance commercials that take up so much time in other  sports. Also, it really is beautiful to watch when played at it's best.  I still don't know how it's possible to do all that stuff with your feet, but they are like magicians out there. 

In short, let's keep watching and more importantly, caring about soccer in America. We may just come to realize what the rest of the world already knows.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't blame Lebron, blame society

I'm not a fan of Lebron James at all. I think he's arrogant,  narcissistic, and an attention whore. I was all set to blast him in my column today, then I realized it really isn't his fault he's this way; it's society's. For those of you who have lived under a rock for the last month, the Lebron sweepstakes comes to an end tonight in an ESPN hour special appropriately called " The Decision." I'm not sure why anyone is surprised this is happening.

This is the world we live in where people know more members of the Backstreet Boys than Supreme Court justices. Where Jessica Simpson's weight issues are more important than what is going on in the Gulf Coast.

This isn't Lebron's fault. He's doing this because he can. It's like the cost of beer at a sports game. They charge $8 because people will buy it. It's the same situation here. I guarantee most of you reading this will be watching tonight at 9pm when Lebron announces to the world where he's going to play for the next 5 years. I know I will be. The guy's kind of a prick, but sure knows how to market himself.

You don't like what's going on tonight and what goes on in the media in general? Then stop consuming it. The same people that hate on overexposure in the media are the ones watching it. Since day 1 Lebron has been coddled and told he was the best at everything. The guy has been told he was a god since he picked up a basketball, so over time a person starts to believe that. Of course he has an ego, who wouldn't?

At the same time he needs to stop trying to make excuses of why he's holding the special. To raise money for the Girls and Boys Club? Are you serious? Does anyone actually believe that? He's holding it because he wants to grab every single bit of attention he can before Brett Favre rolls into the spotlight next week.

That being said, Lebron's decision tonight will affect the landscape of the NBA for the next 5 years. I think Chris Bosh is overrated, but still Lebron, Wade, and Bosh would be a real tough team to beat. I don't know how Wade and Lebron would work together, but I'm sure they'd figure it out. Let's hope for competition's sake Lebron stays in Cleveland or goes to the Knicks. Also, don't discount the ego factor here. Will Lebron be able to share the spotlight with Wade? They can say all the right things, but at the end of the day Lebron wants to be the #1 guy all the time. It's in his nature. I really can't wait for this whole thing to be over so I can eagerly await Brett Favre's annual "to retire or not to retire" saga.