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Friday 24 June 2011

Thoughts? - They Just Don't Get It

     Mainstream North American sports pundits have long had a troubled relationship with soccer. From simple ignorance to despicable denigration the refusal to accept and engage in the world’s game is sometimes comical and sometimes baffling.

     When they do acknowledge the existence of the beautiful game their lack of knowledge of either the domestic or international game is sadly lacking.

     Why is it that these top minds on the realm of sport have no time for proper football? Are their minds so full of American football, baseball, basketball and hockey that there is no space for anything else?

     It seems a good sportswriter should be well versed in these topics. A touch of golf, a dash of tennis, some racing - be it of cars or horses- and in certain regions curling or other localized fringe sports round out the general sports knowledge base. Why is there no concern or space for soccer?

     It appears as though this may largely be a situational problem. Soccer, though far from nascent, has long been dormant in the public’s minds-eye. Those other core sports dominate the national scene and have thusly occupied much of the attention. Pundits have grown up watching – and caring – about their local teams. They’ve grown with them, they’ve played them and covered them, they’ve watched them with their parents and their children; it is a part of life.

     Therein lays the crux of the problem. To garner a full understanding of the world of soccer is a monumental task. North Americans are used to their leagues being the pinnacle of performance – that MLS is not, is another problem entirely – meaning that in order to fully comprehend the world of a particular sport, one must only follow those 30 or so teams.

     There is little concern for European basketball and hockey or Dominican and Cuban baseball, unless there is a star over there coming to join the big leagues. That insularity is not possible in soccer. Players move freely from country to country, club sides enjoy international competitions regularly, and international squads are always in the midst of some qualification or tournament. The limitless age groups, warm-ups, friendlies, etcetera, can be mind boggling to the uninformed.  

     Perhaps this will change with new generations of sports reporters coming to the forefront that - through the glory of the worldwide television and internet and the continued successful growth of MLS - will have grown up with an appreciation of soccer.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read. And let's not forget that we as football fans need to demand more coverage. Even if that's passively by supporting the outlets that cover it at all.