Going through South America (and Central America for that matter), I've watched my fair share of soccer (I'll never, ever call it "football" - unless it's spelled with a "u").
I've given it a shot - I really have tried to get into it. It's just so painful. Try as I might, I can't handle it. So, rather than just bitch about it, I thought I'd make a list. My own top 10 list for soccer as it were. Though this is more of a "10 reasons why I can't stand soccer" list.
If you are a soccer lover (Conley), please respond to any/all of the below. I look forward to a retort or two.
10) There are way too many leagues. There are players from all over the world playing on professional teams or national teams in different leagues for different cups at different times. Who can keep it all straight? UEFA, FIFA, Champions Cup, Premiership, World Cup...
9) The uniforms are horrendous. Have you seen the FC Barcelona jerseys? Any of the jerseys in the MLS? And why the hell don't the goal keepers wear at least a similar-colored jersey as the rest of their teammates?
8) Hooliganism - There has been some amazing violence associated with this "game". The crowds have been known to kill each other and the players - literally.
- Fan Stampede: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_2491000/2491195.stm
- Auto Goal: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981082,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
- World Cup 2004: http://www.emergency.com/socrviol.htm
7) Arbitrary extra time given by the refs. The clock runs the entire time, with no time outs for "injuries" or other breaks in the action. Then, after the clock counts up to 90 minutes, they play for a while longer - until the ref decides to end the game when he wants to. There's no "official timer", or no clock to watch once this starts. It's just at the whim of the ref.
6) Advertising on the Jerseys - This could relate to the uniform point above, but it bothers me enough to warrant its own entry. Professional teams with "Samsung" or "Motorola" or "Mazola" on the front of their jerseys is absolutely ridiculous. Take a look at a Manchester United jersey sometime. The team logo is about 25% the size of the Vodafone logo. And yes, I realize it allows for fewer commercials during the broadcast - yadda, yadda. But holy crap, it looks dumb. "It's not about the name on the back of the jersey - it's about the big corporate logo on the front".
5) Apparently no one has ever scored a goal before. If you think the NFL celebrations are flamboyant, just watch (if you're lucky enough to actually see one) when a goal is scored in a soccer game. These "professionals" run faster after they score a goal than they ever have in a game, with a look on their face like they just won the lottery, or they've just been set on fire. Isn't that your job? To score goals? How about acting like you've been there before?
4) Arguing with the referees. Not one call in any match goes undisputed. It's like arguing is actually part of the game; something required for the match to continue. Again, it's something that happens in American Football as well, but there are penalties for it - severe enough to make it a fairly rare occasion.
3) It's frickin' boring. Even fans of great defense will agree that there's nothing worse than a game which is 0-0 after regulation, yet, it happens all the time. Even a 1-0 game sucks. In 90 minutes there was only one score? What the hell happened for the other 89:57?
2) Floppers. These guys have taken the Vlade Divatz defensive acting to a whole new level. Just watch a match for about two minutes. Rest assured, some guy will be headed downfield with the ball, and will be approached by a defenseman. As soon as the offensive player's three-foot personal space barrier is broken (or, God forbid, he actually is physically touched), the offensive player will take a dive, hitting the ground like he's been shot. Sure, it happens from time to time in American sports as well, but the soccer players have turned it into an art. If no foul is called, they'll sit there and complain with their hands up and a look of disgust on their face. If an infraction is indeed ruled, the actor will miraculously recover, pop back up and be just fine. It would be one thing if it only happened once in a while. Pretty much every two minutes, you can count on seeing it.
1) It's soccer.