Friday, June 30, 2006

We're Not Gonna Take It!

It's no secret or surprise that most of us American soccer fans sometimes (most of the time) feel like outcasts in our own country. It's a melancholy, topsy-turvy road we venture down, and even here in P-town--a genuinely soccer friendly city--the going can get rough and a serious fan can easily get despondent over the lack of plebs attending the rowdy yet friendly Timbers matches and the frequent look of confusion, fear, and/or cluelessness that we're greeted with when the World Cup comes up in conversation with the confused, fearful, and/or clueless. It also doesn't help when the American media (local or national) perpetuate the "Americans don't like soccer" or "we like honest games that you can play with your hands" myths. It's even worse when a journalist simply outright lies to make a point . . . or deadline.

Well, Coach Mike over at On the Pitch is mad as hell and doesn't want to take it anymore. Better yet, he doesn't want any of us taking it either. Check out his post about some rather dishonest reporting and what us American footie freaks should do about it. Onward!


Zach Dundas said...

After years of frustration with my fellow so-called journalists, I've decided to just ignore morons like those cited in this (fine in itself) post. I mean, what's the point of fighting those people? All the propaganda they've spewed so far hasn't stopped the inexorable growth of the sport.

Derek said...

I know, I know, you're right. Perhaps I was just feeling a little punchy after the Argentina/Germany match. The strangely positive aspect about journalists like that, though, is that I think they're a dying breed. Soccer is here and it will slowly weave itself more thoroughly in America. I really believe that. And sports journalists who refuse to evolve are going to face extinction.

Lynda said...

I thought for about thirty seconds about linking to a piece a few weeks ago that was so nasty it read like an Onion parody of itself, but unfortunately it was for real--but immediately realized the guy who wrote it wasn't worth our time or outrage. What I found interesting and different about Coach Mike's piece, though, was that he was actually looking at hard factual numbers wrongly reported as opposed to just pointing at lazy, clueless, or hate-mongering articles. At that point it becomes something you can pretty unarguably refute.

ausurfer said...

All good points derek. Though an Aussie, I live in the USA, and it constantly amazes and disgusts me the level of dislike for the game that I hear on a daily basis (especially during the WC). It seems that unless there's some mention made of a linebacker or punt, your average joe isn't interested. I really enjoyed watching the USA team and threw my support behind them -- it's a shame so many here did not.

Derek said...


On the day that the USA fought it out with Italy, I actually had quite a few customers where I work (we have a WC scoreboard at the front counter) ask about the score and seemed geniunely interested in what was happening. More than a few had been following the Cup and knew what was going on, but there were plenty who hadn't been following but were curious to know what it all meant. Sure, it's going to take a lot more than the mildly curious or the rainy day fan to make it work here, but it's a start. I think interest always peaks here in the States when the Cup is on--it is soccer crack, isn't it?--and I know a lot of them will fade away until the next tournament, if they come back at all. But I honestly don't remember talking about the game with customers four years ago as much as I've done this time. There seems to be a sincere appreciation or knowledge of the game with most of the people I've talked with. I've also noticed plenty of sideways glances at the scoreboard and a resigned indifference in their eyes.

I don't know, I'm rambling here. But I think the USA team will eventually gain more respect as the sport grows here. And I'm not even sure if the team has to "win it all" or even make it to the finals, etc. I think they simply have to play with courage and heart. Some style would be nice (for me), but that may be asking too much. But if they play like they did against the Italians, with a never say die attitude and all that, I think the average joe will warm up to them. We have to believe it's a matter of life and death, even if it's just an illusion or futile. I know it worked for me. For various reasons, e.g. style of play, Landon Donovan, I don't support the USA team. But they won me over a little that night for their sheer bravery and guts. For me, I just want them to play like they actually mean it; with hunger and conviction. I want them to believe the illusion as well.