So what is it about the World Cup that I like? Why am I drawn to this sport, but not so many others? Soccer was the first sport that I was drawn to in the 70s, and I remember the 1978 World Cup, where Pele was no longer playing for the Brazil national team, but instead playing for the New York Cosmos. He was well past his prime, but still a far sight better than virtually every other player in the United States. Having an international superstar playing for a United States team certainly raised the profile of the sport.
I have never been a particularly ardent sports fan of any sort, due to a combination of lack of emphasis from my mother and and inherent lack of ability. I am not fast, strong, or particularly skilled, and while it is disappointing and frustrating at times, I have made my peace with this many many years ago. There are fans out there that can rattle off statistics, the history of a team and its various players (particularly for baseball) and I’m not one of them. I do enjoy baseball, but have no desire to ever be a season ticket holder, especially with the prices that are charged.
Back in the 7os as the sport of Soccer was gaining visibility, the elementary schoolyard became a place of a few recess games. I enjoyed the challenge of the game, not being able to use the hands, as well as the tactical aspect of the game where it was more about strategy and establishing a setup for the shot on goal rather than simply powering through and endlessly scoring, such as in basketball – which I also enjoy, but not anywhere near as much.
As the years went on, I never really kept strong track of any sport, but payed more attention to soccer as each successive World Cup came around every 4 years. In middle school I went out for the soccer team. I didn’t play well, but did score one goal on a penalty.
I’m not saying there isn’t skill or talent within the other sports, but something about soccer’s ruleset appeals greatly to me. It seems that this game has a much greater need for skill and tactics than many other sports. The low score, and even the fact that a game could end in a tie is seen in many American’s mind to be a detriment to the sport, but I see it as an advantage, underscoring the need for tactics and strategy.
While I don’t have the time to follow Team USA as much as I would like, or follow the game on a global scale, I have been able to keep aware of developments in broad strokes. Every 4 years as the World Cup arrives, I ramp up my awareness and I turn into something my wife doesn’t recognize – a sports fan. Maybe I simply can’t explain what it is that draws me to the sport, but Soccer is it for me, especially on the global level where the talent and skill is phenomenal.
I don’t care what you think, I’m a fan of World Cup.