Sedge Court Journal
Providing sports fans with expert analysis since 2004

Monday, July 23, 2007

Absolutely Nothing!!!!!!!!!!!


I have a confession (actually a few) to make.

I have been watching soccer. (aka Futbol). I also tivo'd Victoria Beckhams "Coming to America" NBC special. I watched it once while I was on the treadmill and then a second time with my wife later that day. I have been trolling the web to gain soccer knowledge that my co-workers could care less about. I wikipedia'd "MLS" to learn the history of the league and to bone up on the rules and terminology. I made my buddies meet me at a sportsbar on Saturday to watch the exhibition game between Chelsea and the LA Galaxy. I self-indulgently informed them that Chelsea was "one of the best teams" in the "English Premier League" . I have never watched an English Premeir League game in my life. In fact, the closest I have ever come to anything associated with the English Premier League is my friend from England who has a cat named Chelsea.

I, my friends, have bought into the Soccer hype; hook, line and sinker. Is it love? I know not, but I know I feel "something" and I am not going to fight it.

As many of my long time readers may know, I have been going through a sort of "self-discovery, get out of my comfort zone, re-examine my beliefs" phase the last couple of years. I don't know when this phase started. It could have been when I realized that the Republicans who I had ardiousley supported were nothing more than sychophantic yes-men suckling of the proverbial tit of their corporate military industrial complex mothers. Or, it could have been that fateful day, I strayed from Coors Lights to sample a beer from my native land. Maybe it was a combination of both things, but I have come to the realization that it's a big world and I intend to experience as many of it's various with the time I have left here. During last years World Cup, I noticed that Poland was facing Germany and decided to root for "my team". I had decided there and then that this was a game worth getting to know. (Not to mention, I was also scheduled to start coaching my 5 year olds "side"). So I gathered a few cellmates from the office and dragged them to watch Poland get defeated during the add-on minutes at the end of the game. Despite the defeat I was still resolved to give the game a fair shake and enjoyed the rest of the World Cup.

So, I have decided to be an elitist "Futbol Fan". For those of you unafraid to join me on this journey, I suggest you check out The Might MJD who penned a fantastic article for Americans trying to understand Soccer. He does a humourous job of translating the game to a Yankee's sensibilitys and tastes. I don't like to pimp other sites, but, if you are thinking of giving soccer a go you really have to read it.

Endulge me a moment to expound on a few thoughts of my own and to share my unsolicted advice to MLS and how, already, they are letting this Beckham mania lose steam. And in turn, seriousley hampering the ability to capitalize on the tide of interest he is generating both for the game and the league. But first......

Why is it that American's always have to make the ubiqoutous sneer when you bring up soccer? I mean on Saturday it was like pulling teeth to get guys to go to the bar to watch the game. One of the "World's" most famous athletes is coming to "our" country to play in "our" league and you'd rather stay home and watch re-runs of 30 Rock with the wife? It's a bar!! There is Beer there. How many more repeats of the 2007 World Series of Poker can you watch?! The truth is, that like most things, people ridicule that which they do not understand. So let me give you a few reasons why you should support MLS and why you WILL like it if you give it a chance.

First, we are the Underdogs. America loves underdogs. I remember as a young boy the un-adulterated joy I felt when the US Hockey team beat the Soviets. It felt good to have that National Pride. I also remember the dis-appointment I felt when I saw the US play Argentina at Conseco Fieldhouse in the World Basketball Championship's. Not only did the USA get their ass handed to them, but you would have thought by the crowd noise that we were in Buenos Aires, not Indianapoli, Indiana, US of A. Nothing that comes easy is worth having; and, the bigger they are the harder they fall. Other than NCAA and the NFL Football, our major league sports franchises have lost, to a great extent, the love of their fans. They have largely, in my eyes, made love of money trump love of game. Soccer is different, these guys are not in it "just" for the money but to build a product that is respected not only here but around the world!!! If you can't get behind that, well, I'm sorry for you.

Second, Soccer is a lot like football and poker. What did I say? I compared Soccer to Football and Poker! Hell yeah I did. Here's why. It's all about strategy and not making mistakes. It is incredibly hard to score and that's why when a scoring opportunity develops it has to pounced upon. Like football, you can see amazing feats of athletic ability, like poker you can watch as the players set the other team up. It can be pretty exciting if you get past the ordinary "all they does is kick the ball back and forth, burp, hey grab's me's another PBR" attitude.

Third, Baseball? The NBA? Give me a break. Baseball is boring x 2. The NBA? Not only do the players only show up 1/2 the time but now we learn that the ref's are fixing the games. Soccer is a much better product which happens to be played at a time of year when there really is not a hell of a lot going on; Other than Big Brother, which, since I am making confessions, I happen to have a subscsription to the live feeds for.

Which brings me to my gripe. With all the hype surrounding Beckhams arrival and the renewed interest in the game, you would have thought the league, ESPN, someone, would have had some games on TV to let the neo-phyte fans increase their exposure to the "Beautiful Game". I mean honestly, they hype Beckham and the"Soccer is Now" crap and then there are no games on TV?! Unless of course you have the DirecTv MLS Package, if not, the next "free" game (Chivas USA and New York Red Bulls) isnt' till July 26th on ESPN2. Even more ridiculous is that starting tommorow there is a tournament between MLS and Mexico's Primera Divison. The tournament titled the North American Superliga is modeled after the UEFA Champions League where the best teams in Europe play one another. The Superliga will feature 4 MLS teams, one of which is the LA Galaxy and 4 Mexican Squads. Sounds pretty cool but guess what? You can't watch it unless you have Univisions TeleFutura, (No, that's not the one with Caliente on it) which is not available on DirecTV or many cable providers. And if you are waiting to watch Beckham play you will have to wait till August 5th and you will need Direct Kick.

So tomorow night, David Beckhams LA Galaxy will play again in International Competition, and fans who may have liked what they saw Saturday night will have no way to see the game. You would have thought ESPN would have monopolized and struck while the iron was hot. Nope, instead you will be able to catch Ultimate Nascar or the always exciting WNBA.

Stay Something,



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