Since June 12, the eyes of most everyone on the planet have been on 2014 World Cup soccer action in Brazil. But even with the U.S. team's stunning upset win Monday against Ghana, it remains to be seen whether Americans will pay much attention.
What is it with us? We get our kids playing soccer not long after they learn to run. But how many among us will, Super Bowl-like, block off July 13 to watch the final match between the best players in existence?
Americans are definitely split on the matter of soccer. For our latest Love It/Hate It smackdown, staff members Lisa Wrenn and Chuck Barney present two sides in the epic debate about what is indisputably the globe's most popular sport (and which, by the way, the rest of the world calls football).
Soccer cracks me up. It's the only sport where the goal is wide enough to accommodate a midsized SUV, yet you've got 20-plus players scrambling around like crazy for what seems like an eternity, and they hardly ever manage to kick the ball into the blasted net! (Didn't you just cherish that scoreless stalemate between Nigeria and Iran?) Soccer players score so seldom, in fact, that when they do, they go bonkers like they can't believe -- OMG! -- it actually happened. I realize that it is no longer PC to ridicule the sport, especially during the World Cup when everyone is swept up in mindless nationalism. And I have no doubt that soccer players are supreme athletes (way to get your cardio!). But let's face it: The sport is still boring. How boring? I fell asleep twice just trying to write this.
-- Chuck Barney
What I love is that people who say soccer's a snooze are the first to turn the channel to golf. OK, so part of my love of soccer is idealistic and, yes, I do enjoy being parked on a couch or bar stool with eyes on the same game as everyone else on the planet. And, yes, I love that it's a sport kids of all ages, both genders and all countries, can't get enough of, whether it's on a dirt field, a city park or a suburban sports complex. But I also can't help but think those who find soccer boring just don't understand the game. After 15 years of watching my daughters on fields all over Northern California, I'm mesmerized by the pros and their surprising strategies, quiet signals and ball control. The lack of a score? That's called delayed gratification -- it simply makes a goal all the sweeter.
-- Lisa Wrenn
So how about you? What do you think about soccer, whether the game itself or as a televised spectator event? Send your responses, along with your name, city and suggestions for other smackdowns to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday. Please put "love/hate" in the subject line.