When most Americans view a soccer match they voice the same complaint. “Where is the scoring?” As we have already seen from this World Cup, scoring in soccer can sometimes be so difficult that a 90 minute match ends 0-0. It’s a disappointing ending for fans who came to see some scoring. In contrast, American sports like basketball feature scoring every few seconds. Hockey has more consistently high scores despite being similar to soccer in theme, its scores getting up to 5-5 often. So what is the solution? Should things be changed or are they perfect the way they are?
The Rules Should Be Changed
A few times, people have tentatively suggested changing the rules of soccer to make scoring a little easier. Where the rule would be changed is not often discussed. Perhaps throwing away the offsides rule would be an improvement. This tricky keeps offensive players from standing behind the defenders to “cherry pick” goals. Instead, they must not move past the last defender until after the ball is kicked, if they are receiving a through pass.
Perhaps another idea for rule changing would be making the field smaller. The vast size of soccer fields makes for some amazing passes, but at the same time it really makes it difficult for the ball to move from one sides of the field to the other. As a result, some games have a lot of midfield passing as forwards position themselves for the attack. To an avid fan, these movements are interesting and strategic, but for most American fans, the passing can seem pointless and boring.
Counterargument: The Rules Should Not Be Changed
Soccer is one of the oldest games still in existence and as with all old things it comes along with something called tradition. Many soccer fans would balk at the idea of changing a single rule. Soccer has been the same for a long time. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken? The problem, they say, lies not with the sport, but with the viewers. American sports are action packed and full of scoring.
Soccer, on the other hand is a different sort of game. Goals are everything. They are the spike of intense excitement, like the birth of your first child or your wedding. The rest of the game is like the everyday work of life in general. The planning, the working, the striving. In the end, all of this is just as important as the goal, if not moreso in way. That is how a real soccer fan views it. Every foul, even pass, every attempt at goal is a little buildup of excitement. A little glimmer of hope for a goal, and a strategic move, as if in chess, towards the ultimate goal.
An avid soccer fan would say that soccer is the only sport to really get it right. Goals cannot mean anything if they are scored every five seconds. Surely there is some truth in the idea that making something rare makes it seem more valuable. Goals are gained by a mad dash of luck; a fantastic single effort. Or, by the effort of the team–by brilliant passing and synergy. When this theory of the beautiful game falls apart is when no goals are scored.
Soccer is Life
The defenses in soccer are also an incredibly important part of the game, but unfortunately for them they are not usually the players who are on posters in people’s houses. Scoring goals is supposed to be what a game is all about, but soccer is ultimately about the struggle to survive. It is a true micro-version of life. Whether that is a good thing or not is up for debate. Should games capture our desire to get away from life, or enhance our appreciation of the rare beauty that is a goal.
They don’t call them goals for nothing. We all have goals in our lives. I am willing to bet that our journey towards them is more like a soccer match–full of attempts, injuries, and strategic maneuvering–than it is like an American sport.
Source: own thoughts and opinions