Caller Times (Corpus Christi, TX) Letter to Editor published July 17, 2014
The marathonish World Cup Soccer Tournament played every four years, contested in Brazil this summer, has finally ended. It is a long drawn out, multi-team version of baseball’s World Series in that many more follow the final event than the road to it during the regular season. It’s a couple of hundred years too late for soccer to become a grass roots sport in the U.S. along side of football (gridiron as they call the Super Bowl in Australia), basketball and baseball. “Down Under” is another Anglo-Saxon enclave similar to the U.S., whose soccer and their national team, the Socceroos, also take a clear-cut backseat to the home grown favorites of Aussie Rules Football, cricket and even tennis, golf and swimming. Fans see plenty of action, discipline and athletic process in world class soccer, but little scoring, too many flops, far too many emotional hand signal gesticulations, not to mention a seemingly haphazard game time-keeping system, a ridiculous huge hand held neon sign indicating the jersey number of player substitutions, a referee showing his stuff by shaming the player by flipping out a yellow or red card for an egregious foul (take that!) and a tie breaker which would be similar to a free throw contest to break a tie of a Spur-Heat game 7.
Yet, I agree you have to end the pain of a 0-0 score after “about” 120 minutes of sprints up and down the huge field, flops galore, miss-after-miss of scoring attempts (Belgium missed 38 goal attempts vs. the U.S.) to determine a winner. The NFL’s tie breaker isn’t perfect, but at least it involves the two teams in question playing the actual game of football executing offense and defense and not having the team’s two field goal kickers each take 5 kicks or whatever from the 15 yard line to determine the victor. The World Cup is a spectacular international sports festival, more interesting, of course, with the U.S. being there, but it’s hard to imagine Tom Brady driving the Patriots down the field in the waning seconds of an NFL title game with no one, save one ref, knowing exactly how much time remains, or caring. Anyone tuning in the rest of the summer when the Red Bulls take on Sporting of Kansas City? No thanks.