The World Cup
This has been a big year for me in regards to my interest in sports, and I am going to cut straight to it, I have become really interested in Soccer.
I had never found interest in the game of Soccer. Perhaps it is because I never played it, perhaps it is because I never watched it, or perhaps it is because I grew up in the United States where Soccer is pushed aside and devalued as a sport by so many. I’m going with the latter and I had always bought into that mindset until this year.
Through the influence of some friends who are the minority passionate Soccer fans, I set my pride aside and dabbled in watching some World Cup games. I couldn’t help but appreciate the passion of the fans cheering for their country’s team and I enjoyed the flow of the games. I really became invested in watching the tournament while cheering on England for the cup.
While on a family vacation in early July, I even made a point to go to a bar to watch the England-Columbia match. My dad, who like me grew up being a big football fan, was shocked when I showed an interest in the game. I think I sensed an bit of disappointment as well, but he went along with it. We ended up watching and enjoying, the entire match which ended in dramatic fashion with Penalty Kicks.
For the remainder of the World Cup, I would get text messages from my dad about the games as they were happening. I could not believe I got my father to watch Soccer.
Though I could not believe I was watching Soccer either, but I was, and I plan to continue doing so. My eyes are now set on watching the English Premier League. My friends who pushed me into the World Cup are now guiding me into the Premier League as well. They are a mix of Liverpool FC and Manchester United fans, but I found myself going with Manchester City. My reasoning for choosing Man City as my club? Well, Oasis is my favorite band and I like their colors. So I look forward to watching these matches in the near future, but I got to check out an MLS game to hold me over.
My First MLS Game
My friend Mitch, a season ticket holder to the MLS Squad the Philadephia Union, has been asking me and my coworkers to go along with him to a game for months. So finally, I did it, and it was a blast.
My first impression was that the Union have a beautiful home field with Talen Energy Stadium and they have a small but passionate fan base. Plenty of people came out to tailgate and cheer on their squad in blue and gold; which by the way, the Union have a badass logo which I am a big fan of.
The game itself was an interesting experience. The Union scored in the 4th minute and ended up winning 1-0 against Orlando City SC, so for the remaining 86 minutes or so there wasn’t a whole lot of action. Which I know non-Soccer fans would find that to be appalling and “boring”. But it was still fun to watch the fans act out a variety of traditions and chants throughout the entire game.
Sure it isn’t world class soccer, but it’s a damn good time. Plus, I can’t argue with tickets that don’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase. So I am looking forward to going to another match. The Philadelphia Union have themselves another fan!
My Radical Opinion
This is the point in my post that if you are very defensive and sensitive, I’d say turn back. (AJ has already heard this opinion and it basically put him into shock and I think he hated me for a solid week or so; he might still hate me, I’m not sure.)
So here we go…
I think I enjoy watching a Soccer match more than I do watching most NFL games.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the NFL. Nothing beats watching the Patriots on Sundays. But watching the NFL has become tough for me. Investing 3 or more hours of your day into a game where you have to watch around 100 commercials and you only see a total of 11 minutes of the ball in play is difficult. Yes, stats show that there are only 11 minutes that the ball is actually in play which I find shocking. If it is the Patriots playing, I don’t mind it because I am enjoying the drama and competition, but I cannot say that I want to spend that same amount of time for let’s say a Jets-Browns game.
I enjoy that Soccer is 90 minutes of play; no commercials, no 10-minute stoppages for reviews, none of that. Of course, you have to get past the flopping which is the worst in Soccer, I’d be a hypocrite to ignore that. But then again, let’s be real, most sports have a certain degree of flopping these days, go watch the NBA.
If an NFL fan can honestly tell me that they enjoy devoting so much time to commercials and stoppages, then I applaud them. But for 11 minutes of game time, I find it to be a struggle. I’m not saying Soccer is a superior sport, because I love the NFL and it will always come first, I am just saying that I find Soccer easier to watch.