I often wonder why soccer hasn't been so readily accepted by the mainstream media in the US.
I hear the same arguments all the time:
They don"t understand the game.
It's not that hard to understand.
They don't appreciate the subtle nuances.
The sport is not that complicated.
They don't realize how hard it is to score.
That one works for me. That's why players go apesh** when they score.
The biggest reason why I think footie hasn't caught on is that the ones who need to be educated aren't exposed to the right games.
Case in point: the semi final legs in the Champions League last week. We brag all year long about how great the Champions League is. It's footie at the highest level. The best players in the world play in the CL. That's all true.
Unfortunately, as the mainstreamers pay more attention the tourney in its climatic stages, the pucker factor seizes the tournament. It happens in the champions league, it happens at the euro, it happens at the world cup.
We all claim these are the best games on the planet. Are they? They might be the best fixtures the sport can offer. But the quality of play rarely matches the importance of the game. For every Brazil-Holland 3-2 at the Cotton Bowl, there are 10 quarterfinals that mercifully end with penalties
And so the mainstreamers can continue bashing soccer because they don't see the beautiful game. They see a snorefest.
Given the choice, would you rather show a soccer-hatin' journo the Barcelona-Chelsea midweek snorefest, or yesterday's Clasico?
Wouldn't we have more fun explaining why Carlos Puyol was kissing his catalan captain's armband than why Chelsea is playing a 7-2-1?
Isn't Lionel Messi a better example of what we love about the game than John Terry's knee highs? And Xavi. Is their a better dishman in the world in any sport?
Imagine explaining the significance of the 6-2 beat down on a host of levels, from sporting to sociopolitical, to someone who pleads ignorance to the game. The same guy who ridicules and laughs every time a player is cured by the magic sponge.
And while the rest of the world still basks in the glory of Barcelona's transcendental performance, we're left having to defend the greatness of footie when the champions league is inevitably decided by spot kicks.