In the third part of the series, the heel-turn part of my mind reminds you to not be a lemming this summer
It’s World Cup time again, that special moment once every four years when Americans from all around the country pretend to know something about a sport that most of them have never and will never play. If there’s one thing sports fans in this country love to do, it’s watch an event preview or show on ESPN and then proclaim themselves experts when it comes to that sport or event (i.e. “X Games” viewers). This summer, though, I’m asking every single one of you to man up, take a deep breath and admit the truth.
You really don’t care about the World Cup. Not even a little bit. The deepest part of your inner sports fan doesn’t care if the US does actually manage to beat England in the team’s first World Cup match or if Mr. Posh Spice’s crew lights up the Americans for five goals en route to a blowout loss for Team USA. I’d be willing to bet five bucks half of you couldn’t pick the World Cup out of a trophy lineup. And you know what?
It’s OK. Despite what ABC, ESPN, Nike and Twitter tell you, you don’t have to care about or even watch the World Cup. Don’t fake it if you’re not interested. There are far worse things one can do than flipping over to a baseball game, taking a nap in a hammock or enjoying a cold beverage instead of watching the United States play in the World Cup; such as pretending to be an American soccer fan.
Let me immediately cut off all of you geeks typing out your comments and emails. “But Zac, I played soccer for years and now I’m even a coach.” “I watch Italian Serie A every weekend during the season.” “I once owned FIFA ’98 and played it for three months straight.” Yes, of course there are real soccer fans in the United States. Just like there are real Red Sox fans out there somewhere. The majority of either fan base, though, is made up of individuals who follow the sport/team only when it is convenient, such as World Cup time or right after the drug testers have shockingly once again left Boston with empty vials.
The worst thing about the fake American soccer fan is his desire to emulate the real soccer fans he sees on TV/in video games. For starters, the fake American soccer fan uses soccer terms all the time, like calling the playing field “the pitch.” When is the last time that you honestly called a soccer field the pitch? “Oh look, honey, they’re mowing the pitch for the youth soccer game later today.” I’m sure.
The one that drives me even crazier is when the American, and I’m talking born-and-raised in the United States, never played soccer and only speak English American, fan calls soccer football or, even better, futbol. These are the fans I’d like to banish to a place where there is only soccer and no American football. See how you like your footy then, tools.
Then there’s the singing. American soccer fans, trying to be like those true European fans, love to sing fake soccer songs that nobody on the pitch hears or understands. Look, I know you’ve seen this done before and thought to yourself, “man that sounds really neato.” You’re an American sports fan. The only time sports fans in the United States sing is at a college event (fight songs), a Chicago Blackhawks game or when mocking Hollywood Brett Favre. That’s it.
Am I telling you to completely ignore the World Cup if you live in the United States? Absolutely not. I, an American citizen, have been looking forward to the tournament for a long time and will be watching every match. Sans silly scarf, singing and red, white and blue wig. This piece is for all of you American sports fans who just couldn’t possibly care less about the World Cup. I’m telling you that you’re fine just the way you are. Come out of the closet, admit your apathy towards the World Cup and watch some Wipeout. Because the only thing worse than watching something you really don’t care about is pretending to care about something you really don’t care about.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
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