Wednesday, July 4, 2007

In Defense of Futbol

Here is a guest blog from SHADOW, the Sandy, Baby intern who covers the world game:

My friends sent me a link to their DC sports blog. As I clicked the
link
and began to read, I searched for my favorite sport. FĂștbol. [soccer
as
it is known in the United States). Much to my dismay, I could not find
anything. I thought to myself, "I know DC United is from DC. I go to
the
games at RFK. I know they must be considered a DC Team. Even though the

Redskins do not even play football in DC any more they are still
considered a DC Team. What gives?!"

DC United is a Washington DC area sports team. There. I said it. Just
in
case there was any doubt. Go to a game. You will be a fan too. the
energy there is outstanding. There are songs, chants, rants, and a
spirit that infuses you with the energy of the sport.

The grace of the moves. The deftness of the touch. You can see the big
plays develop as you hope for that lucky strike (not the cigarette but
a
goal). There is that anxiety that hangs in the air as you wait for your

keeper to make the save or your team to take the shot. You find
yourself
yelling out loud. "Shoot it!". It is all about the beautiful game.

No timeouts. No breaks for commercials. No play stoppage while they
review the play and see if it should be overturned. you take the good
with the bad. The controversial calls are as much a part of the game as

anything else. But it is about the game. No pause so that they can tell

you about the latest car models. Even half time...the mighty mites
(youth soccer teams), take to the pitch (field). The pitch is split in
half as two youth games go on. And yes, the fans cheer their play as
well.

As I said before, "what gives?". I hear the comments on TV about how
soccer is not as big in the US, or we just don't care as much. Well, I
care. The other fans care. Don't fool yourselves, there are a lot of
us.
At the recent Champions League final (look it up) which started at 3:45

the place was packed. standing room only and and no one else gets in.
The bar opened at 1 PM and there was already a line by the time I got
there at quarter till.

There is a bit of a catch-22 here. Many of the big games are not
televised so we can not watch them. If they do not show them how can
people follow their teams and get new fans to join them? Do they not
show them simply because of the what they think the audience numbers
would be? Or, it is because you cannot show enough add during the game?

Simply put, the television studios make more money showing a bowling
match because of all the commercials they can put in versus a soccer
match.

If they did not show all the Redskins games on TV or the Nationals
games
on TV would you care as much? if you could not see them and could not
read about them in the paper and there were no sports extras with
highlights, after a while, would we be saying those sports are just not

as popular as bowling?


MINOR THREAD here again. As a avid fan of both track and field and sumo, I know how frustrating the disrespect of lesser-known sports can be. SHADOW points out that coverage and popularity often have a reciprocal relationship, making ESPN not just an objective lense on American and world sports, but a determiner of what receives attention. Some of my favorite sports moments have involved the US national soccer team, although I have yet to attend a game in person. Ollie, Lil Bro and I do get some soccer street cred cuz our uncle named the Rowdies, though, right?

3 comments:

Rob said...

Yeah, as it turns out United's average attendance is about on par with the Wizards and above the Capitals. I believe DCU gets better ratings than any other team shown on Comcast SportsNet.

They're definitely a big part of the DC sports scene, moreso than any other MLS team is in their respective city.

Ollie said...

Completely agree. People sell MLS short, but DC United are actually more fun to watch than our crappy baseball team. And hockey doesn't even come close

Lil Bro said...

What's soccer?