Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Soccer Fans are Back.

The United States women's soccer team lost their final match in the World Cup to the team from Japan. According to data, 13.4 million Americans watched the game on television. I suspect that a large number of them watched it because it was ending in the late afternoon when baseball games were ending and people were wondering, "What else is on TV?"

The backlash
(what there was of it) came on Monday morning, when anxious jingoists noted that the women lost a game that most of them didn't know existed a couple of weeks ago. Mostly, I suspect they rooted for the flag (and the Republic for which it stands) and couldn't name three women on the team, but I digress.

I tried to tune in -
that is to say, I turned the game on a couple of times, but as the game just wasn't interesting enough to keep me tuned-in. After all, "The Great Outdoors" was on Encore, and I always enjoy watching the late John Candy. If only he could have played soccer.

On the sports talk radio, callers repeated their popular refrain: You should like soccer. Why, I asked (quietly to myself) much as Jerry asked Kenny Banya when Kenny implored Jerry, "You should work out."

It's the 21st century, and people do what they want. They will either watch soccer or not, and no amount of coaxing will lure them in. They think we are strange because we do not like something that they find endlessly appealing, in spite of the fact that the game strangely does not tell us how much time remains. We like a time limit or at the very least, the knowledge of when the game is over. In fact, when the U.S. scored a go-ahead goal in what they call "extra time," most viewers figured that the game was over. But it was not sudden death, but soccer's version of it, which should be called "Eventual Victory."

"There are no commercials," is one of the more popular reasons as to why we should like soccer. No commercials? There are no commercials on Cinemax either, but that doesn't mean I should spend twenty bucks a month to watch movies I can rent for two dollars.

The other one is, "It's the most popular sport in the world." OK, so being popular means I should like it? If that's the case, we should all buy CDs made by "American Idol" contestants, because they're popular too - or so we are led to believe. The TV ratings tell us the show is popular, but some of us abhor it and wouldn't watch it if I got a check in the mail every month.

So now, the soccer fans' moment in the sun is gone. At least until the 2012 Olympics when, once again we will be reminded of how popular soccer is around the world and how Americans are supposed to like it. We could reply in kind...

"Did you go to that prostitute?"
"No, I don't find sex with prostitutes appealing."
"Why? Sexual activity is very popular around the world. In fact, it's one of the most popular things we humans do."
"I just don't like paying for it."
"But, they don't interrupt you and don't ask 'do you love me' or any of those other questions. It's uninterrupted, guilt-free pleasure."
"I don't like it."
"You're stupid."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What’s going on in the world?

I used to write something every day. Now, not so much. Mostly it's because I find that I'd be repeating myself if I wrote what I think about what is going on in the world. It's all the same crap, just a different day. You've heard that, right?

So now, we find a guy who supposedly did the right thing by giving Derek Jeter his historic 3,000th base hit back for practically nothing – unless you consider (as I do) a bunch of autographed junk to be "practically nothing." While some of you praised him for doing [quote] the right thing [end quote] you might be similarly appalled to find that the David Price (who threw the pitch) has signed a lucrative deal to profit from the thing. So, why shouldn't the guy who caught the ball make a profit too? After all, he has a couple-hundred-thousand dollar college loan to pay off and Price and Jeter make millions every day. Who did the right thing?

Casey Anthony was released from prison today. Usually, being released from prison is a good thing. For her, it could be a death sentence. The public tried and convicted her long before the jury reached a verdict. Now that she is [quote] free [end quote] she may be in greater danger than she was when she was in prison. The outrage that accompanied her "not guilty" verdict was strange and yet predictable. It's the same sort of conviction that the general public has about things that they know little about – like that soccer team.

The women's United States soccer team lost to the Japan team. The headlines said things like "shocking defeat," but I don't know that anyone knew anything about either the United States team or the Japanese team enough to say that the defeat was shocking or that having either one of them in the final was shocking or expected. What it was, was jingoistic crap that led us to root for a team merely because they bore the United States moniker. For those of you who watched the game – and I can't imagine who that was – what a shock it must have been for you. Really.

Needless to say (so I'll say it anyway) you don't have to do the right thing or watch the right thing in order to be considered a good person. When you get to work on Monday you might hear people moaning about the soccer team's loss today. If you say, "I didn't watch the game," you do not need to do so with regret. On the contrary, you should do so with pride. You did not watch the game because two weeks ago you didn't know that the women's team was playing soccer, let alone for a world title. You also don't have to tell people that you would have given Derek Jeter his baseball back. It isn't necessary to do things because you think that people will view you in higher regard. Athletes and other so-called celebrities do not do things because they want to be viewed in higher regard. They do things because they want to earn a living. You should make that an example for your life.

Do what you want.