Recently, I’ve been trying to get more in touch with my European side. I’m half Belgian and while I speak French and know my way around some cities, there aren’t too many European things about me. At least, that’s my rationale behind my newfound obsession with the beautiful game, football. That’s soccer to you common Americans, which is something I can say because I’m from Europe, a magical land of sophistication and waffles. Anyway, I’ve started dedicating all my free time to soccer, whether it be through online soccer forums, watching Premier League matches, wearing the one jersey I own every other day, or just doing it as people have done for decades and playing FIFA. As you might expect, this lackluster way of learning a sport has made me no expert. However, my outsized ego refuses to believe that I don’t know everything about soccer, so I find myself challenging forty-year old men who’ve followed the sport for decades. I haven’t been physically attacked yet, but I’m sure that’ll happen in the next few weeks.
Despite not knowing the slightest thing about soccer, I really do love it. It’s hard to succinctly explain why, so I’ll do this thing I’ve been doing when I need to make blog posts longer. I’ll make a list.
-The commentators for other sports are either really boring or really corny. In soccer, they’re all witty old dudes who’ve seen everything and make the subtlest jokes. There was this one instance where a player just came onto the pitch and made a bad tackle on another player. Right away, without thinking, the announcer goes: “Player X looks eager to make an impression on the game. He’ll be happy to know he made one on Player Y’s heel.” Then he threw in this little British chuckle and I couldn’t stop giggling for a solid minute.
-There’s this very odd sense of aggression amongst the players mixed in with a sense of camaraderie. Like they’ll viciously take each other down and then laugh about that time they all went to a tournament and made a few million pounds.
-Nearly every player has had the weirdest sex scandal. Like one guy was sleeping with his sister-in-law periodically for eight years. He’s widely regarded as a British legend. Then there’s another player who literally bit an opponent mid-match for no reason whatsoever. He was straight vampire-ing and people just sort of laughed it off.
-Soccer players are the most athletic people in the world. After golfers of course.
-A lot of the players have really cool names so I can wear a jersey that says Hazard on the back and not be thought of as more of a tool than normal.
-Finally, soccer is the only way that I can get my friends and I to stay in one place for 90 minutes straight. It’s a super fun activity to do with your pals! We like to make bets on who’s going to win and if you’re ok with losing 20-75 dollars a week like me, it’s a great time.