Are y’all watching the World Cup? If not, why not?

I’m watching the World Cup. Many of you, I know, are not. I’m watching because international soccer is the one sport I follow for pleasure. (As opposed to following something so I can, you know, write about it.)

I’m not trying to convert anybody to anything here. You’re free to hate/ignore/lampoon the sport. But I am kind of curious: If you hate soccer, what is it you hate? The lack of scoring? The absence  of timeouts? The lack of shoulder pads? The vuvuzelas?

(A word about the latter: Vuvuzelas are plastic horns that are blown during soccer games in South Africa, which is the site of this World Cup. They make quite the racket. Indeed, vuvuzelas have become the dominant story of the event to date: TV viewers are reaching for the mute button; the BBC is pondering a vuvuzela filter and FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come out foursquare behind the vuvuzelas.

(I’m agnostic on the issue, but I can tell you this: If you think the noise is oppressive on TV, try listening on radio. I did yesterday — all the games are on ESPN Radio and Sirius XM – and I could barely make out a word JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth were saying.)

But enough about vuvuzelas. I’m interested in your feelings on soccer itself. Are you so opposed to the sport you wouldn’t watch it if it were being staged in your den? (I know I feel that way about, say, Arena football.) Have you tried watching and were simply left cold?

Again, I’m not looking to mount a rebuttal. I’m just curious as to your feelings. And I thank you in advance.

But I would offer this programming note: Portugal and the Ivory Coast are playing at the moment, and one of the world’s most stylish players — Cristiano Ronaldo of the former — is at work. (The great Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast suffered a broken arm earlier this month and is, alas, on the bench.) And later today comes Brazil. And even if you hate soccer, you’ve got to like Brazil. Don’t you?

220 comments Add your comment

WayDog

June 15th, 2010
10:36 am

Love everything about it, but I played for 30 years.

Mark Z

June 15th, 2010
10:38 am

soccer sucks

D B Cooper

June 15th, 2010
10:40 am

love Brazil’s fans. Remember them from Atl Olympic beach vollyball, very cool. Dont watch much World Cup but those horns are terrible. Imagine the noise on the field How can the players communicate.
Watched US vs Eng with 2 euro socker fans and they said it affected the play

WayDog

June 15th, 2010
10:41 am

By the way, Ronaldo’s early dive was quite annoying. Still, Demel didn’t have anything to gripe about on the next tackle and certainly deserved the card, but what did Ronaldo do to deserve his? Looks to be shapeing up to be a good match.

gadawgs

June 15th, 2010
10:42 am

Not watching. BORING…………. How many 1-1, 1-0 games can you stomach watching. I did watch a very small part of the US v England to see what all the hype was. Didn’t get it. But it was comical to watch grown men grimace and cry when they get kicked in their itty bitty little shins though….

WayDog

June 15th, 2010
10:44 am

Wow Mark. The comments aren’t exactly coming fast and furious. I guess you were right about not many of your readers watching or caring. I can understand if you didn’t grow up with it or have someone to explain many of the subtleties of the game, there might not be much interest.

steve brown

June 15th, 2010
10:45 am

I tried but went to the bathroom and missed the only goal. Continued watching and developed a migraine. Now I can’t get that infernal buzzing out of my head. The term bush league comes to mind.

F-105 Thunderchief

June 15th, 2010
10:46 am

One, I find it pretty boring, because of the lack of scoring. I played it in high school and college and enjoyed that. But watching it? No. Two, I find distasteful all the people who are suddenly World Cup “fans,” because it’s trendy.

Justyn

June 15th, 2010
10:47 am

I am an avid soccer fan. I mostly enjoy the way the game is played, a 45 minute half, 15 minute halftime, another 45 minute half then game over. Watching American sports that are filled with eons and eons of commercials and are almost constant stop-start is at time infuriating for me. Soccer has its downside with the lack of scoring and simulation at times but the game keeps going

Reptiles Rule

June 15th, 2010
10:50 am

Because it is boring and because it is audibly annoying with those stupid horns. I think most of those people just go to those matches so they can act like hooligans and blow those horns.

kbrab

June 15th, 2010
10:50 am

It’s like the Olympics, it only really happens every 4 years and I watch it. I can’t help myself, it’s just an amazing event.

Michael

June 15th, 2010
10:51 am

I’m not watching as much as I’d like to, given that the games are in the morning/afternoon and I have to work. And those damn horns are ruining the whole tournament. One of the great thing about watching the World Cup was hearing the chants, cheers and songs. Now, it’s just noise. Terrible.

Hawk Str8Talk

June 15th, 2010
10:51 am

love soccer – grew up playing it, but I think the lack of truly world class soccer in the States is why people don’t connect to it. It took me going to a game in Argentina to soak up the passion and action and nuances of the sport. Kinda like hockey to me – I’m not riveted by hockey’s action on TV since I’ve never played, but whenever I go to a good Thrashers game – I’m reminded how fun hockey can be. I think it’s simply exposure and the American belief that if we don’t embrace it something must be wrong with it.

Dayman

June 15th, 2010
10:52 am

I have been watching the Cup. The only soccer i watch is the world cup though, can’t get into the mls. And will you people stop complaining about the vuvuzelas, watch for five minutes and you don’t notice them anymore. Anyone got an over/under numbers of rednecks that will post soccer sucks or some variation of that.

Nope

June 15th, 2010
10:52 am

I’ll tell you why I am not watching the World Cup. It’s not because I dislike soccer (which I kind of do), but because of those stupid unbearable horns that the fans blow throughout the entire game. For the love of God!! I also agree with the guy above, it is very boring to watch. Soccer seems like one of those games that can be very fun to play, but sucks to watch

Gucci Mang

June 15th, 2010
10:53 am

I’d rather watch Alaskan Ice Fishing…

World Cup Soccer

June 15th, 2010
10:54 am

Rules. If you are a hater stay in your little world that only baseball and football matter. On the world stage there is no other event this big. Period.

droopydawg

June 15th, 2010
10:56 am

I tried…I really, really tried…to get into the World Cup this year, but those damn horns ruined it. Even in a game like UK/USA, that hornet-like racket trumped the performance on the field and gave me a headache.

So much for the emergence of soccer in the US.

Clint

June 15th, 2010
10:58 am

I am not. I just don’t get what is so exciting about the sport. I mean it’s 90+ minutes of sitting around to maybe see one goal. I’m not going to bash it, because I know that it takes a well conditioned athlete to play it, but there are just way more exciting sports out there to watch.

birddawg92

June 15th, 2010
10:59 am

As someone who used to write for this paper used to say on another subject, soccer “is a dark, evil thing hurting this country.”

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

The Real Fan

June 15th, 2010
11:00 am

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!

So tired

June 15th, 2010
11:00 am

of all the anti-world cup crap from Americans. It’s the most popular sport in the world, period.

Yes the horns are unbearable but the World Cup is just that, A true tournament on the world stage to crown a World Champion for 4 years. It’s not like the superbowl or world series where the winner is nothing more than the US Champ.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 15th, 2010
11:01 am

soccer incites hooliganism and is why I love it.

droopydawg

June 15th, 2010
11:01 am

FYI WayDog, I actually played, coached, and refereed soccer, so it isn’t like the disinterest is engendered by a lack of understanding the game (the rules of soccer and the strategies are far less complex than baseball, football, basketball, hockey, Aussie rules, Rugby, cricket, etc, etc) Arguably because it is so simple (the “beautiful game”) yet you can go 45 minutes without seeing more than 1-2 shots on goal, like the US/UK second half, is what leads to the lack of interest.

gtm

June 15th, 2010
11:02 am

The sport is ok to watch, but the flopping/diving is worse than even the NBA and gets old fast. The constant action is a nice change of pace from the typical American sports.

SC Ace

June 15th, 2010
11:03 am

I love it Mark and wish that ESPN3 worked in my office!

How many of these people who complain about the lack of scoring love a good “pitcher’s duel” in a baseball game? And why do they? Because they understand, appreciate, and enjoy the fine play that goes into that result, the nuances of the game, etc.

Frankly, when I was watched some baseball the last day or two (and I like baseball and watch regularly), I found it to be really boring, disjointed, and choppy after a weekend full of world class soccer. Most other games give you play, stop, play, stop, play, timeout, etc. Soccer has a certain flow and elegance to it (see Pele’s famous description of “the beautiful game”) that most sports lack.

I don’t get into MLS though I wish I could. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a club anywhere in the South. I wish I had regular access to the EPL but, alas, don’t get Fox Soccer.

Roland

June 15th, 2010
11:04 am

I don’t understand why people have to be so negative about something they don’t understand. I don’t enjoy NASCAR, but I don’t post comments about how NASCAR is boring… with all of the fans it has, clearly there must be something to it, even though I personally don’t understand it.

Roland

June 15th, 2010
11:05 am

As for why I love the World Cup, it is the opportunity to watch the U.S. compete internationally as the underdog… someday we will shock the world and make it to the final four, and it will be like the “Miracel on Ice” all over again…

gadawgs

June 15th, 2010
11:05 am

Oh..did I forget to mentiion those da** horns. I watched for about 20 minutes and left with a constant humming in my head for an hour.

J.J.M.

June 15th, 2010
11:05 am

E3 Live is better then soccer

Cry Baby Spice

June 15th, 2010
11:06 am

If I want to watch people run aimlessly around a field, cry when someone bumps into them, and ultimately end the game in a tie, there are plenty of little league baseball games I can attend.

Bobby

June 15th, 2010
11:06 am

Funny to hear people say soccer games are boring. These are the same who will sit at a 4 hour football or baseball game, where the ball is actually in play for a tiny percentage of that time.

East Atlanta

June 15th, 2010
11:06 am

I would maybe be able to tolerate it if the fans here at home weren’t so pretentious. They love to tell you that a) in twenty years, soccer will be bigger here than football (which, so far as I can tell, they’ve been saying for fifty years now), and b) how cultured they are because they “get” this “beautiful game”. What’s to “get”? Uruguay said before their game with France that their ideal outcome was a scoreless tie (mission accomplished, btw). How un-American is that? ESPN’s relentless promotions implying that apartheid ended because everyone loves soccer so much were also pretty unbearable. Other than that, enjoy your little third-world celebration, Pierre!

Dennis Murray

June 15th, 2010
11:06 am

It’s not a great TV sport, the way it’s typically televised. Most of the game is shown from the high camera angles so you can see the progression of the ball – not unlike hockey – but so much of the physicality of the sport is better seen close up at field level. I photograph High School and Club soccer regularly and see it from this standpoint.

I’m a late comer to the sport – played when I was really little 20+ years ago and started playing again 6 months ago. Started watching the EPL/UEFA Champions League about the same time and have watched as much World Cup as I can.

There is a lot of intricacy to the sport – but more so than others? Not really. Are formations or set plays in soccer more complex than NFL defensive schemes? Is offside more difficult to understand than icing?

I really enjoy the continuous flow of the game – no stoppage, no commercials. Wish we could get basketball played more like that (even with some timeouts thrown in)!

droopydawg

June 15th, 2010
11:06 am

gtm: good point on the flopping diving. Can you imagine that sort of garbage happening in the NFL? That is also one of the reasons I am not a huge fan of the NBA post-Vlade Divac (sp?)

Hankie Aron

June 15th, 2010
11:08 am

Not enough scoring and people in the South are never going to get that much excited over a foreign game. At the same time I wouldn’t expect them to get excited at all over our American “football”. It’s not their cup of tea

BAMAToNE

June 15th, 2010
11:08 am

Only reason I’m not watching right now:

SERVICE ALERT: WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES WITH USERS ACCESSING ESPN3.COM FROM COLLEGE CAMPUSES AND MILITARY BASES. PLEASE TRY AGAIN LATER.

I work on a college campus. Sigh.

Tech Rules

June 15th, 2010
11:09 am

Anytime I spend more than 3 minutes watching soccer, I find myself thinking “These guys could be playing football right now. Instead, someone made them play this poor excuse of a game”.

Soccer is the sport of the future in this country. Always has been, always will be.

J.J.M.

June 15th, 2010
11:10 am

“Funny to hear people say soccer games are boring. These are the same who will sit at a 4 hour football or baseball game, where the ball is actually in play for a tiny percentage of that time”

uhhhh NO!

Matt

June 15th, 2010
11:10 am

Yes, I am watching whenever I can. (Even while at work) However, so far the play has been rather uninspired, except for the Germany game. Teams are playing far too cautiously at the start of this tournament. Really interested to see how Brazil plays this afternoon against North Korea.

Crow H

June 15th, 2010
11:11 am

World Cup is awesome! i don’t get into it as much as say… NCAA football, or MLB, but it’s just behind MLB. It only comes around every four years and it’s a world wide event! Who is the best in the WORLD!!! I treasure it because it’s a battle from the first whistle to the last. No time outs, no time to catch your breath… and NOOO COMMERCIALS!!! The skill involved it tremendous – kicking a ball 60 or 70 yards to a teammate who, receiving a ball from 60 or 70 yards traps the pass in mid-stride and runs down the field like he’s had it the whole time. The strategy, different styles of play… it just gets better and better. And the fact that it is extremely hard to score a goal makes it that much better when you finally do score one. I also enjoy the subtle, and sometimes brutal, contact that is exchanged on in almost every game at one point or another. (Zinedine Zidane’s head butt in 2006 World Cup Final – still makes me giggle)

And on a more patriotic note, its a sport/contest that embodies patriotism around the world. I can’t think of any other sport in which so much national pride is hanging in the balance – not even the Olympic Games equal the prestige of the WC. It’s like the entire globe is at war, struggling to get to the top of the pyramid. And along the way you have heart breaking losses, soul renewing last second goals, the immensely stressful shootouts after a long, long game hasn’t decided a champion.

The World Cup is the sporting lifeblood for all nations around the world – for a good reason. Check it out this time around and you’ll see it doesn’t take long to figure out why.

PMC

June 15th, 2010
11:11 am

Yes and I’m loving it. I could care less if anyone else in America likes it. I do. I’m enjoying it and I’m glad that I can at least catch it on the weekends though this time zone is much better than the last one.

Jim

June 15th, 2010
11:12 am

Flopping and manipulation of referees happens in every professional sport. Just watch Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, or Kobe Bryant tonight and watch how they flop, flail their arms, fall down, etc. Or watch a baseball catcher frame a pitch outside to try and draw a strike call. All professional athletes know how they can manipulate officials and get what they want.

Dayman

June 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Portugal is really not playing well at all especially considering CIV best players is on the bench.

So tired

June 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Crow H… Best post thus far and really all that there needs to be said on the matter.

Crow H

June 15th, 2010
11:14 am

Thank you, thank you very much GO USA!!!

PMC

June 15th, 2010
11:15 am

I watch EPL all the time on Fox Soccer Channel although it would be nice to have in HD. I occasionally watch MLS but I find it a bit boring as they dribble too much and don’t play at the same speed and pace that they do in most of Europe. I grew up playing the game and played it into college so I developed a love for it early on. My favorite sport is still probably American football but I like all sports really. The World Cup is a big world party and I’ve always enjoyed it. The Vuvuzela’s don’t bother me because after 5 minutes I don’t notice them.

Pi$$onaDawg

June 15th, 2010
11:16 am

It is soccer why even comment other than it is a great sport to keep kids from getting fat and tires them enough to go to bed.

Supes

June 15th, 2010
11:17 am

Of course I’m watching it…it’s on now here in the office (in the background) even during the day.

I grew up with it in Europe, and when I moved to the US, I became a fan of baseball, football (american) and hockey. I learned to love and adopt to the sports that are being played in my COUNTRY (The US is now my country). However, the love for soccer has remained and I support the US soccer team during these international competitions.

if the level of CLUB soccer in the US would improve, and the league expand a bit more, who knows…maybe more natural born americans may embrace the sport, but unlikely.

I think most americans are taught what to like or dislike (as far as international sports…and face it…soccer is the most international sport out there).

DCbravosfan

June 15th, 2010
11:17 am

I LOVE FOOTBALL (world, as well American). At its highest form, football/soccer requires artistry, athleticism, team work, endurance, tactics, passion and courage. It is the most beautiful of games and I am an unabashed partisan. That said, I cannot watch any of the two main US leagues because the quality is so low. In that vein, the beauty of the Copa Mundial is that ALL OF THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD (whose teams have qualified) compete in the tournament.

The Copa is must-see tv and my production level at work has dropped to markedly as a result!!!