March 31, 2009

The Second Whitest City in America

From the New York Times on the success of the new professional soccer team in Seattle:

Ushers who work games at Qwest stadium for the Seattle Seahawks football team and now the Sounders say they are amazed by Sounder fans standing, stomping and chanting for the full 90 minutes of play, many waving bright green Sounders scarves. Joy, underwritten by one of Microsoft’s ubiquitous sponsorships, prevails.

“They wanted this,” said Grallin Butler, an usher presiding over Section 129 on Saturday.

Even in a city that has supported professional football, baseball and basketball teams for decades, many people say that something else is at work in the instant passion for the Sounders. They say it reflects the region’s well-established affection for soccer but also its conviction that it is not quite like the rest of America. When Seattle cheers the Sounders, it cheers its civic image.

“Soccer is kind of the alternative sport for the United States,” said J. B. Wogan, 24, a reporter for a suburban weekly newspaper. “And Seattle is kind of an alternative city.”

Mr. Wogan was standing with friends in a section where a man with a megaphone led cheers of “Seattle Sounders Olé.”

The promotion plan for the team has appealed to that notion as well as to the city’s international aspirations. The FC at the end of the team’s name stands for Football Club, intended to evoke a European feel. The Sounders scarves were another idea imported from overseas. Billboards, including one near the docks where salmon fisherman still leave for Alaska each spring, say: “The world’s game comes to Seattle.”

The funny thing, of course, is that Seattelites aren't worldly enough to realize that soccer is a prole sport in Europe.

From Stuff White People Like, #80 "The Idea of Soccer:"
Many white people will tell you that they are very into soccer. But be careful, it’s a trap.

If you then attempt to engage them about your favorite soccer team or talk about famous moments in soccer history, you are likely to be met with blank stares. This is because white people don’t actually enjoy watching soccer, they just like telling their friends that they are into it.

In fact, the main reason white people like soccer is so they can buy a new scarf.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

An English dude explained the class distinction of his country's two big team sports thusly: "Rugby is a cad's game played by gentlemen and football (soccer) is a gentleman's game played by cads."

Anonymous said...

Just wait until they play the Mexican National team, whose fans are degenerates along the lines of battery-throwing Jets fans but much more 'vibrant'.

Vernunft said...

Not to mention that the scarves are so Harry Potter.

Anonymous said...

Oh, let's let them have their fun, can't we? In a generation their city will no doubt be a bi-lingual barrio like all the rest. Let them fiddle a little before the fire starts.

Peter said...

I also used to laugh at wanna-be Eurotrash American soccer fans, who had no idea the sophisticated Europeans they admire actually despise soccer. But that's not as true as it was 20 years ago, Europe is dumbing itself down the same way the US is. In the UK even Oxford grads follow Premier League these days. In Germany everyone loves soccer. And in Italy or Spain declaring you don't love soccer is tantamount to admitting you're gay. Only in France does the Rugby vs. Soccer snobbery still hold, probably because soccer is associated strongly with muslim immigrants.

Matra said...

The funny thing, of course, is that Seattelites aren't worldly enough to realize that soccer is a prole sport in Europe.

Not all of Europe. In Spain, for example, the fans of Sevilla and Real Madrid have, historically at least, come from the middle class whilst their cross town rivals were more working class.

I'm guessing the sport's popularity crosses all class barriers in countries like Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and other countries.

In Britain and France it is seen as more working class.

Chief Seattle said...

Funny you mention that Steve. My office is on the fifth floor about 10 blocks north of the stadium. I don't pay much attention to sports, so all the noise on the day of the first game caught me by surprise - it sounded like the Raiders were in town. Then when someone told me it was soccer, I expected the roudy fans to be mostly mexican. But it turned out to be the absolute whitest crowd I've seen in a long time. It looked like most of the Eastside cleared out to go to the game.

Matra said...

I agree the North American soccer fans tend to be poseurs. In Toronto - the city whose team and fans are the model for Seattle's 'franchise' - there is some animosity between a lot of fans of the sport and those who follow traditional North American sports. It's played out on newspaper forums and sports radio.

Soccer fans in Toronto are usually young and many are the children of immigrants. They believe they are the future and that they and their sport are being temporarily thwarted and victimised by the 'old guard media' that is afraid of soccer's rise in popularity. But in the end soccer will dominate North America thanks in part to immigration.

The Old Guard do take shots at soccer and its fans (today for example I heard one sport talk radio host playing up a minor drunken altercation involving Toronto fans in Columbus, OH over the weekend). But in general the Old Guard (OG) believe that the soccer thing is a fad. Soccer fans are perennial optimists and not old enough to remember previous attempts to make soccer big in North America. The OG believe that just as in the past soccer will be big for a few years and will then return to relative obscurity. Changing demographics will not lead to the traditional sports being overshadowed. Newcomers will integrate and young Canadians currently disillusioned with traditional sports will return to the fold.

The OG's argument that soccer won't displace traditional sports is similar to that of the pro-immigration GOPers who insist Hispanics and Asians are merely today's Ellis Island immigrants. They will integrate and be just like your typical GOP voter. Nothing will change and we will all wonder what the fuss was all about.

Reg Cæsar said...

Almost nobody knows this anymore, but a Seattle team was the first outside Canada to win the Stanley Cup. In their second season, no less. With such an auspicious start, where are the Metropolitans today?

This is the third club to use the Sounders name in Seattle-- the fourth if you count the girls' squad. Why should this one be any more successful than its predecessors?

The "FC" is a Johnny-come-lately attempt to sound more like the Football Association than the World Football League.

The Dallas Burn-- a contender for the worst team name in any major US sport ever-- switched to Dallas FC in 2005. Maybe this is a harbinger. Back in 1967 the same Mr Hunt came up with the Dallas Tornado, which was started the modern tsunami of cheesy singular team nicknames.

silver said...

Only in France does the Rugby vs. Soccer snobbery still hold, probably because soccer is associated strongly with muslim immigrants.

I've been told it's the case in northern Italy too.

Mr. Anon said...

"The funny thing, of course, is that Seattelites aren't worldly enough to realize that soccer is a prole sport in Europe."

Not in Germany. There it's about like football is (or was) here - an obsession for men from across the social spectrum - from construction workers and mechanics to bankers and judges.

You got to hand it to the SWPL community of Seattle - they've embraced a sport that's even more boring than baseball. That's dedication to self-image.

Gc said...

In Finland what is consired low class is hockey. Soccer is considered more higher class.
Manager of the finnish olympic hockey team (silver medal) said that it is not that difficult to get to the NHL what people think. He also said that the best athelete in Finland is one tennis player hold like 17:th position in the ATP list at that time. In tennis the competition is much more harder.

Reg Cæsar said...

... they've embraced a sport that's even more boring than baseball. That's dedication to self-image. --Mr Anon

I wasn't aware that the kid who sat on the courthouse steps crying, "Say it ain't so, Joe!" was into "self-image".

Yes, baseball and soccer are boringas is chess. Unless you have an active prefrontal cortex, that is. Otherwise, stick to basketball, football and "professional" wrestling. Lots more to see there.

Oh, and another feature baseball and soccer share with chess: they can still be played by normal-sized white guys. Gee, who wants to watch that?

Bill said...

Hey!

Some of us know a thing or two about soccer. I was pretty good at it, and my city team placed 3rd in the state championships. I was better at baseball, but that's because I'm built more like a baseball player (6'2" 210lbs).

My cousin, on the other hand, is a really good soccer player. In fact, he just signed with the Sounders FC last week:

Kevin Forrest

Yes, I am bragging. I'm proud of him. Good looking kid, isn't he?

Gc said...

It is funny how certain national teams in soccer seem to advance certain stereotypes about nations. The german teams is always like a machine, the english play rough and direct soccer, players from Portugal and Spain are also almost like artists than just athletes and so on...

Dutch reader said...

In the Netherlands, while it is true that watching soccer on TV, philosophizing about it in commentaries, or playing a friendly game of soccer in the park is popular across the social spectrum (also, politicians love to be seen at important soccer games and profess their love for the sport) actually playing 'serious' soccer in a club is more typical of the lower and lower middle classes (and especially black and muslim immigrants, although there is also still a substantial number of good white players).

For the upper middle and upper classes is the sport of choice field hockey (simple known as 'hockey', ice hockey being about as obscure as American football here).

Field hockey clubs are where future lawyers, doctors, and high-level government officials forge their social networks and can feel comfortable being surrounded by "Their Kind of People" from an early age (to a lesser extent this is also the case with tennis, although this has trickled down to the lower middle class over the past decades, as well as sailing/yachting clubs, and at a later age, golf courses and university fraternities).

eh said...

The funny thing, of course, is that Seattelites aren't worldly enough to realize that soccer is a prole sport in Europe.

I live in Europe and would not say that. It's definitely the sport -- it's like professional (American as they say here) football, basketball, and baseball all rolled into one. Would you say those are 'prole sports'? Don' t know what your take on that is. Football in Europe also has some unique and interesting features, e.g. relegation. I think it's widely followed, even played, by people of all strata. Anyway, it does not seem 'prole' to me.

Anonymous said...

This is not the first time Sailer has said football (soccer) is a prole sport. I can only assume Steve has never been to Europe; he probably got that idea from reading a sentence or two from some author who wrote that fact a long time ago. Football is enjoyed and played by all social classes in Europe. It is far the most popular game in any social class. In Europe football is tribal too; everyone supports their team not because they play good football or winners, but because it’s their tribe.

The main reason I think football is popular is because you can play it pretty much anywhere, and every kid can aspire to be a pre player. You don’t need to be a freak of nature to play it, nor have wealthy parents. It’s a sport for everyone.

Steve I would suggest you update your information or read more about football, and not keep repeating the one author you read sometime ago.

josh said...

Rugby is also a better spectator sport. Why can't we import Rugby?

Oik said...

Steve, for an American you are good.

However, here in the UK, football (soccer to you) used to be very much a prole sport. But that has changed over the last 20 years or so.

In my estimation, since the 1990 World Cup in Italy, it has been adopted by SWPL/Guardianista types over here as well.

The Italians used an opera tune for their theme(classy), and the games also had the spectacle of the gifted but mentally challenged Paul Gascoigne bursting into tears when England failed to make it through to the next stage, which seemed to endear him to the SWPL/Guardianista types - quite possibly as some sort of new man/reconstructed man icon.

Also, Nick Hornby (SWPL/Guardianista, but genuine fan, author of High Fidelity) wrote Fever Pitch which I suspect was also instrumental in getting the SWPL/Guardianista types into the beautiful game.

And then of course the SWPL/Guardianista types want us to be more like our continental neighbours where the sport/social class divide doesn't exist or isn't obvious.

Its a shame really.

Of course they are not into the hooligan aspect.

Just recently Belfast enjoyed the spectacle of Polish soccer hooligans on the rampage carrying Irish Republican flags. Which no doubt was interesting for community relations.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/cjeqqw

Anonymous said...

Like the previous writer said, it's been done before. Seattle had a 'Sounder' team decades ago tried again then tried with girls.

Hopefully, it is just a reaction to losing the Sonics. We can all hope they fail then move along.

Then we can get a basketball team back here.

ironrailsironweights said...

Losing the Sonics might be at least part of the reason why Seattle residents have flocked to Sounders games.

Dutch Reader - That is surprising about the popularity of field hockey in the Netherlands. It is entirely a women's sport in America. Or more accurately a girls' sport, as adult women seldom if ever play.

Peter

Default User said...

I cannot speak for all of Europe but in the UK and Ireland a wide range of people enjoy soccer (or football as it is called there).

Class difference is probably represented in intensity of support.

The middle classes may "support" a team and watch them on TV. To them it is a fun diversion for a Saturday afternoon. The more athletic may actual kick around a ball as part of an amateur team.

The working class supporters are more likely to attend matches (including traveling to away matches), wear team colors, and generally be more intense in their support. The more athletic may dream of playing for their team.

In a way, this reflects the (now dying), tribal solidarity of white working class males. It also reflects the (now growing), uninvolved transnational views of the white middle classes.

poolside said...

Steve, I think you are missing a vital point about soccer's growth in popularity among whites.

Soccer remains one of the few team sports in the U.S. where young white people can succeed. And where you might actually see a team with more than one or two token whites.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the game, it takes years of training and work to develop good techical skill. And it is very difficult for one player to dominate a match ... teamwork is a necessity.

That combination makes it lethal to many black athletes. In that sense, soccer is a lot like baseball, which is very difficult to play well and doesn't provide nearly as many chest-thumping, "in-yo-face" moments as football and basketball.

Young white kids today are self-selecting themselves into different sports based on what they see on television. It is clear that few whites make it to the NFL or NBA; thus, the growth of select or travel soccer and baseball.

And look at the surge in popularity of lacrosse ... another sport that white kids figure they can dominate. At least for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Reg Caesar:

Yes, baseball and soccer are as boring as chess. They may be fun to play, but to watch? Do you enjoy watching chess?

jody said...

um, seattle just lost their NBA basketball team, the supersonics, a franchise that had been in seattle for 40 years and was well liked by the locals.

after the sonics moved to oklahoma city, there were no winter sports in seattle. i'm pretty sure that's what caused the attendance at the soccer game.

to think that 20 comments could go by before anybody mentioned this just shows that nobody here is really paying attention to the NBA. this matches up with the declining television ratings, declining attendence figures, and my own personal experience when talking to people about hoops. i often feel like the last man in america who regularly watches games.

for sure, ESPN covers NBA basketball far out of proportion to how much americans are actually watching it. i believe 20 NBA teams lost $10 million or more this year, and the commissioner took out a loan for $200 million to distribute a bailout to NBA teams like the bobcats and grizzlies that should probably just be contracted.

popular interest is in the NBA is about even with NHL hockey, which ESPN ignores as much as possible, so that they can bring us coverage of empty arenas hosting women's NCAA basketball games.

robert61 said...

Soccer has always been more prole than rugby or cricket in the UK, but most men follow it and have for a long time. The "prole" population is large, the game is popular, and the level of athleticism is high. Soccer's where the action is.

As "Mockney" swept through the populace and the culture grew more demotic in the 80s and 90s, many of the middle and upper class Brits I knew made a point of emphasizing their identification with a particular football team. This was enough of a cliché by the mid-90s that Tony Blair - a cultivated, thoughtful man, as politicians go - was mocked for his claim to love nothing more than a pint with the Labourite yokels of Durham and a game of footie on TV.

Anonymous said...

Would you say those are 'prole sports'?

Yes. In America the proles like those sports. The elite (and pseudo-elite - Dick Florida's "creative class") watch soccer. It doesn't matter wwhich particular sport you watch. What's important is that the proles don't.

josh said...

One owner of the team is Drew Carey. Interesting,as he is not generally associated with Whiter people. Maybe all the white guys let go by Bill Gates at MS,replaced by Indians and Chinese,want to take up soccer as this will make them seem more 'foreign" and then they may be hired back! And to Dutch Reader,re the upper and upper middle class guys that play feild hockey:Dont they feel a little silly wearing those skirts?

greenrivervalleyman said...

Hardly a prole sport given that the cultural elite has been rhapsodizing about it for a while now:


French writer and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus, an Algerian-born philosopher and goalkeeper, saw the beautiful game as providing moral guidance and inspiration for living.

The sense of team spirit, fraternity and common purpose appealed to Camus.

"All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football", he said.


But, yes, Euro-emulating SWPL'ers are still ill-informed twits.

testing99 said...

Soccer IS boring ... it comes down to who has the best conditioning and mental discipline at the end of the game.

Baseball is moments of sheer excitement (a home run, a double) interspersed by hours of tedium.

Basketball is a bunch of big guys dunking, no team play or defense.

Football is the ultimate team sport, excitement can happy any play, defense can come up big, the offense can make a great play, it's blocking and tackling and catching and running and throwing all at the same time. A LOT of strategy (use running plays to wear down the defense? Go Deep a few times to force the corners deeper?) and constant tactics (kick, go for it, etc.)

It is above all a coaches game, which is why it's popular. Fans can put themselves in the coaches position, and decide for themselves what play they'd want to call.

Soccer lacks that, coaches in Soccer just roll out the ball as in basketball.

The SWPL crowd in Seattle are more into self-congratulations than anything else.

Anonymous said...

greenrivervalleyman said...

Nice point about Camus. And Camus reads better in French, just like Pushkin.

Anonymous said...

---Also, Nick Hornby (SWPL/Guardianista, but genuine fan, author of High Fidelity) wrote Fever Pitch which I suspect was also instrumental in getting the SWPL/Guardianista types into the beautiful game.---


Is he still with "The Range?" Great band...

Beastmaster said...

I wonder if we'll see American and Canadian white guys writhing on the turf in the foetal position when another player brushes against them, as they do in Europa?

ironrailsironweights said...

Lacrosse is growing in popularity only among children and young people. The professional league attracts very little attention, and there are few if any adult amateur leagues. As for the last point, that's true of most sports, what with our increasingly sedentary society and the explosive growth of zero-exercise-value golf. Team sports opportunities for adults are very scarce. In football, more like "nonexistent."

Peter

James Kabala said...

"In America the proles like those sports. The elite (and pseudo-elite - Dick Florida's "creative class") watch soccer. It doesn't matter which particular sport you watch. What's important is that the proles don't."

I don't think this claim has much basis in reality. Most of my acquaintances are college graduate Northeasterners, and I've never known anyone who cared in the least about the New England Revolution or the New York Red Bulls. Most of them root as eagerly as anyone for the Red Sox, Patriots, Yankees, Giants, etc.

In the U.S., being a sports fan has never really been considered low class - probably because football and basketball had their origins in college (however phony today's "student-athletes" may be), and baseball, although less college-associated, is so old and historic (by U.S. standards) and bound up with American identity that more literary ink has been spilled on it than on any other team sport.

I suspect that even this story is heavily exaggerated. (Although maybe not - Northwestern SWPL might have different attitudes from Northeastern SWPL. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco seem (from a distance; I've never been to any of them) to be hard-core SWPL in daily tone in a way that even Boston and Manhattan, let alone Providence or Worcester or Hartford, are not, despite their political liberalism.)

Matra said...

greenrivervalleyman,

Albert Camus was a pied noir. In French Algeria soccer was much bigger than it was in metropolitan France. It's very unlikely he was representative of France's cultural elite.

Bill said...

James Kabala said...

I suspect that even this story is heavily exaggerated. (Although maybe not - Northwestern SWPL might have different attitudes from Northeastern SWPL. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco seem (from a distance; I've never been to any of them) to be hard-core SWPL in daily tone in a way that even Boston and Manhattan, let alone Providence or Worcester or Hartford, are not, despite their political liberalism.)


Seattle has traditionally been a football town. Seattlites are liberal in the sense that they pay lip service to liberalism, but they don't act all that liberal in making life choices.

The SWPL crowd is very evident here. Seattle is culturally San Francisco's dorky little sister with glasses and braces, always following her big sister around and wearing hand-me-downs. Because the SWPL website was started to describe a San Francisco phenomenon, it also has a lot of cultural relevance to Seattle.

So yes, SWPL is a lot more characteristic of Seattle than the East Coast. However, it's pretty much a subculture of professionals and hipsters -- definitely not the majority. As for the popularity of soccer, it's pretty obvious that the last thirty or forty years of widespread youth soccer has finally resulted in a critical mass of adults who are interested in the game.

Truth said...

"Soccer remains one of the few team sports in the U.S. where young white people can succeed. And where you might actually see a team with more than one or two token whites."

Yeahhh, I feel you homeboy...De'man always be keepin' y'all down...He won't let duh white folk have nuthinnn!

Anonymous said...

"Soccer IS boring ... it comes down to who has the best conditioning and mental discipline at the end of the game."

False, it comes down mainly to skill. At the highest levels of competition, the better team almost always wins. Upsets are rare compared to American sports.

Also, most of the fans of the New York professional soccer team are immigrants and children of immigrants. It may be different in other places. SWPL in NYC tend to like baseball or not to care about team sports at all.

sj071 said...

Steve,

sorry to rain on your parade but your soccer gene is stuck in early to mid-80's.
These days it's a cleverly marketed global social phenomenon adored by billions across the globe. And, FYI, English Premier League is IT right now in terms of money,fame and prestige, and its two most succesfull clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United, are both owned by Americans. Take your time and read up on the topic, will ya?

Most of the popular American sports are parochial in nature and have very little to do with ancient White People*.

*Exhibit One: NBA.

'Not to mention that the scarves are so Harry Potter.'

Was there ever a sport more homoerotic than the American Football?

SGOTI said...

Pretty much all you need to know about soccer:

http://www.humorscore.com/videos/The_Simpsons_Videos/The_Simpsons_-_Soccer_Riot

Anonymous said...

Soccer: Ameica's Next Big Sport Since 1972...

Testing, has there ever been a bigger bunch of pansies than soccer forwards? Someone breathes on them and they fall down clutching some body part. In a real sport they get the snot beat out of them on the spot.

And as far as the cerebral aspect of football is concerned, I have have to quote the great Dan Jenkins, who knows more about the sport than both of us put together, "If it was as complicated as the coaches make it out to be, these low rent m@therf&ckers couldn't play it!"

Brutus

Anonymous said...

"Real Americans LOVE the sting of battle." Patton

Yep, around the country participants actually die in auto racing and football every season. Those are the two most popular spectator sports. Boxing in America was also much more popular in the old days when fighters occasionally died. And everybody understood that that was not necessarily a bad thing, to have a tough warrior die.

The future of soccer in America would be brighter if a lot more players died on the field. Sorry, I meant to say "on the pitch", you homos.

Steve, I can't wait for the nuclear age to be over whatever it takes. Bring back the battle axes and heavy clubs like in the old days. Bring back the mace. That was a weapon of real men. At least 70% of the men on this planet today are worthless eaters.

Now stop reading this blog and get to back to your video games, you sackless pansies.

Reg Cæsar said...

Yes, baseball and soccer are as boring as chess. They may be fun to play, but to watch? Do you enjoy watching chess? --Anon

I said "boring, as is chess", not "boring as chess", though, mea culpa, I slipped and deleted the comma.

Chess was awfully gripping in 1972, with the Spassky-Fischer matches. You just have to know what's going on.

By the (gridiron) football fan's reasoning, Harvey Haddix's 12 perfect innings was the dullest baseball game ever. To the initiated, it was the most exciting. This is why The Sporting News would list the previous season's 1-0 ballgames in their annual guide. As in soccer, those games are the most special. (Want more scoring? Watch cricket!)

Yep, around the country participants actually die in auto racing and football every season. Those are the two most popular spectator sports. --anon.

Um, NASCAR and Indy are notably less deadly than Formula One. So Euros are even more into the "sting of battle" than us Yanks?

Soccer fails not because of its differences with football, but because of its similarities with baseball. There isn't room for two leisurely-paced grassy sports in a country. Soccer, baseball and cricket, with few exceptions, each have their own countries.

get real said...

Despite the apparent simplicity of the game, it takes years of training and work to develop good techical skill. And it is very difficult for one player to dominate a match ... teamwork is a necessity.

That combination makes it lethal to many black athletes. In that sense, soccer is a lot like baseball, which is very difficult to play well and doesn't provide nearly as many chest-thumping, "in-yo-face" moments as football and basketball.


poolside, this is such nonsense that it's hard to know where to start.

I mean, really, soccer is too complicated for blacks and this is why they don't play it? Come the fuck on. Look at a typical Brazilian national team and tell me that blacks can't play the sport. Hell, most of the time the French national team is at least half black, if not more, and France's population is no more than about 4% black.

The reason American blacks aren't much in evidence in soccer is because by and large they aren't interested.

Occam's razor.

poolside said...

... soccer is too complicated for blacks and this is why they don't play it

I didn't say it was too complicated. I said it took years and years of technical training, and in the U.S., that comes with a very high price tag.

Select soccer -- like select baseball -- is very expensive, upwards of $2,000 a year even for young kids.

Hence the appeal among whites ... they know that many minorities are priced out of the sport.

Look at a typical Brazilian national team and tell me that blacks can't play the sport.

You are twisting my words.

Of course blacks CAN play the sport. And they do, everywhere else in the world (at the typical high level that blacks play other sports).

In Brazil and other countries, soccer is like basketball in the U.S. ... you play whenever and wherever you can find a few other kids and a ball. So the training that is required comes from hours of pick-up games in the street, at the local park, on the beach, wherever.

At a certain age, if you show promise, you are invited to a professional team's youth academy and they pay for your continued development.

In the U.S., youth soccer is highly organized and structured. You don't just go outside and play soccer with your mates. You belong to a youth club run by paid professionals and you are trained by paid professionals.

That type of structure is expensive, and the parents pay the way. Thus, soccer tends to be very focused in suburban white communities ... where there is disposable income, naturally.

Most of the suburban blacks who play soccer in my area -- where soccer is very popular -- are the children of African immigrants. And not surprisingly, they dominate their teams.

Svigor said...

Was there ever a sport more homoerotic than the American Football?

No need to get touchy. Soccer is the ultimate player's sport. Though best played with a field equipped with goals, you need nothing but players, a ball, and a field.

But it's got to be the least entertaining popular spectator sport. Compared to football, it's a snooze.

Well, then again, I can watch soccer for a few minutes, but not baseball.

Football was the only sport I was ever interested in watching on a regular basis, before I stopped watching teevee altogether three years ago.

Basketball? You've gotta be kidding me. There's something creepy to me about white men who watch a lot of pro basketball. I guess college hoops might not be like bamboo under the nails...

poolside said...

The truth is that all sports are boring if you don't like them.

I guarantee you this, however. If you ever learn to enjoy soccer, you will find that American football becomes unwatchable.

Too many commercial breaks. Too many stoppages in play -- huddles, measurements, time outs, etc. Too much inane blathering from commentators.

A typical soccer match -- EPL, MLS, MFL, whatever -- takes just under two hours. An NFL game? Four hours ... if you're lucky. Sure, there are a couple more scores usually -- but you pay for that with your investment in time.

Anonymous said...

football (soccer to you) used to be very much a prole sport. But that has changed over the last 20 years or so.

Steve, beware calcification. And don't get it confused with californication!

Svigor said...

The truth is that all sports are boring if you don't like them.

Maybe, but that's beside the point. I loved playing soccer as a kid. It's huge fun, and you generally don't feel like you've been run over by a truck like you do after playing tackle football.

But it's boring to watch, unless you're emotionally invested (brother playing striker or something)

I guarantee you this, however. If you ever learn to enjoy soccer, you will find that American football becomes unwatchable.

Maybe, but how could anyone into football ever learn that? It'd be like learning to love flying a Cessna when you can get flying time in an F-16.

Too many commercial breaks. Too many stoppages in play -- huddles, measurements, time outs, etc.

Yeah, but when the clock's running, there's actually something to watch. Something that doesn't usually consist of the same boring, repetitive actions.

Too much inane blathering from commentators.

Can't argue with that. I got where I wanted to strangle John Madden. The only casters I could put up with were the ones who everyone hated because they spoke the ugly truth too often, like Chris Collinsworth (he used to love calling out overpaid receivers on their alligator arms).

An NFL game? Four hours ... if you're lucky.

Three, back when I was watching, sans overtime. Have you only watched the Superbowl or something?

ben tillman said...

Was there ever a sport more homoerotic than the American Football?

Most of us wouldn't know.

Dutch reader said...

@josh:

Male field hockey players don't wear skirts, they wear shorts just like soccer players.

The women *do* wear skirts and look great wearing them.

http://www.daylife.com/photo/0evY3trbBn7se

Lucille said...

Was there ever a sport more homoerotic than the American Football?

Wrestling, anyone?

Anonymous said...

seattle are big wimp city....
soccer teaches no war skills
save running in fright..
"i will keek the handgrenade"

stari_momak said...

In Spain, for example, the fans of Sevilla and Real Madrid have, historically at least, come from the middle class whilst their cross town rivals were more working class.

Those rivals would be Real Betis Balompie and Atletico Madrid. ( Viva Er Beti' ! )
Same phenomenon in Munich, with FC Bayern being the upper/middle class club and TSV 1860 being the working class club. In Barcelona, Spanish/Andalucian immigrants support Espanyol , while Catalan natives support Barca. I don't really know, but I'd play money on the same dynamic happening with Chivas USA vs. Galaxy.

Svigor said...

Wrestling, anyone?

Nah, that's mistaking the damage done to our culture by homosexualism for homosexual overtones in wrestling.

Guess what happens to two guys who want to kill one another and don't have any weapons handy? They wrestle, generally. Not homosexual at all. Kinda the opposite. Short of UFC type sports, I'm having trouble thinking of a more masculine sport.

WATCHING, well, that's all in the eye of the beholder, innit?

See, men aren't supposed to have to put up with male homosexuality as an acceptable behavior. When they're forced to, they retreat into calling normal, masculine behavior (wrestling, touching another guy affectionately) "homoeroticism."

Svigor said...

BODYBUILDING. Now there's a "sport" that's mostly gay.

Anonymous said...

The "soccer is a prole sport" idea was only true in Britain about twenty years ago, and even then it was only a half truth at best - there have always been plenty of middle and upper class Britons who enjoyed playing and watching and supporting association football (soccer). And Britain ain't the rest of the world, either; in most of Europe and Latin America and Africa and Asia soccer transcends all social classes.

Steve, every time you write about soccer you demonstrate your vast ignorance of the subject. Try educating yourself for a change before you mouth off on a topic you know nothing about, apart from some factoid that you vaguely remember from some book you read twenty years ago. Your attempt to make us American soccer fans look "ignorant" only serves once again to highlight your own ignorance. EPIC FAIL.

It's quite pitiful, really, this constant need to try to sound more informed and superior to those "poor deluded American soccer fans", as is the completely uninformed chest-pounding of the various soccer-hating types who always respond to this topic with their entirely predictable drivel, and who cannot fathom the distinction between "I find this boring" and "this is inherently boring in an objective sense"; apparently their own tribal prejudices are to be considered the measure of all things boring/not boring, and the fact that other people find watching a soccer match to be engrossing is just "proof" that they are deluded.

There's choice words for that kind of narcissism, ignorance, and arrogance, but I won't repeat them here. This is precisely the kind of idiotic thinking that gave us eight years of Bush and the Iraq War: "those foreigners ain't really different from us, they are just stupid and uninformed and are all potential Americans who would be just like us if we gave them a chance"; like that General said to Joker in Full Metal Jacket: "inside every gook there is an American trying to get out".

No. Wrong. No there is not. Your personal ideas of what sports are "boring" or "exciting" are not held by the vast majority of the world, or even necessarily by most Americans. Stop projecting your own personal prejudices on to others and try LEARNING something about the world you live in.

This blog tries to do that on race and other taboo topics, by being objective, and kudos for that; now try doing the same for sports, if you are going to write about the topic. It can be done, you know. But you have to recognize your own blinders, first. You guys ain't even trying.

But go ahead, pile on, claim that soccer's rise in popularity in the USA is all a great leftist conspiracy; never mind that those Harvard leftists who wrote that episode of the Simpsons demonstrated that they know nothing of soccer, and don't like soccer, just as in the same episode they demonstrated that they know little about and care little for guns and the 2nd Amendment.

If I had a dollar for every liberal and leftist in academia and the media who is a soccer hater I'd be a rich man. That idiot who regularly appears on NPR's Only a Game, I forget his name at the moment, hates soccer. You can't get much more elite academic leftist than NPR. I spent more than a few years in elite grad schools and never encountered a single soccer fan (lots of baseball snobs, though). The elite liberal media, especially sports media, is full of politically correct, negro-athlete-worshiping fools who HATE soccer and who have been doing their best for half a century to denigrate the sport and keep it from growing.

Drew Carey, part owner of the Sounders, is a conservative. One of the billionaires who helped keep MLS alive for the past thirteen years is Phil Anschutz, a notorious right-winger much hated by leftists.

Any attempt to make these kinds of links between one's politics and the sport one chooses to play or watch is simply idiotic. Any example you can make to back up one half-baked social or racial stereotype about soccer can be countered by an equal number of counter-examples.