A Memo To Soccer People (if you play, watch, or like sports, please read).
Dear Soccer People,
So you’ve got the most popular sport globally, soccer (football for the purists). Though I doubt the research sometimes, I’ve heard the stat so many times I guess there’s got to be some truth to it. You sell-out stadiums every night, and sometimes you riot because you’re into it so deep. You got passion, I dig that.
Your game doesn’t differ conceptually that much from similiar sports (get the ______ in the other team’s ______ ), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. Playing some pick-up soccer myself has re-inforced this to me. If you haven’t noticed by now, just because the pro’s on TV in ANY sport make it look easy, doesn’t mean you can do it that well in your half-time beer-and-smoke-break league. Just like any sport, it takes a lot of skill and effort to be any good at soccer. Minus the diving.
BUT still, with all that being said, please soccer players… if you listen to only one thing I say in this whole blog, let it be this:
Your sport contains THE BIGGEST NET IN SPORTS.
I realize that goals in soccer come on an average of 2 or 3 a month, but just because you finally punted that borderline beach-ball size of inflated rubber into netting which could corral a beluga whale, past the guy with no over-sized padding, does NOT mean your backflip is warranted. Hey, scoring is cool, heck it’s one of the best feelings there is to feel. But honestly, the fewer airplane spins and power knee-slides I see, the better. I don’t, for one
second, approve of the baby thumb-sucking celebration i’ve seen on a few occasions. Also why do soccer players feel the need to rip off their jerseys when they score a big goal? That jersey is a sense of pride in most sports. The difference between hockey players and soccer players is that while soccer players don’t want their jerseys on and rip them off, hockey players grab their crest and shake it like a polaroid they’re so happy to have it on their chest. Some hockey teams will actually fine their players for letting their jerseys touch the floor in the dressing room they’re so serious about respecting the uniform.
Scoring in hockey is unbelievably tough at the top levels. The net is small, and most goaltenders are large humans to begin with, AND THEN they put on their pads, filling in and spilling over any “holes” that may have previously been present; likening your scoring chances to moustaches ever being actually, really, cool again. You gotta be really good to pull either situation off. So hockey goals deserve a big celly (celebration), but even the rockpiles (rookies) know not to go too far. Fist pump: yes. Stick ride: No. Ice duster with a follow-up pumper-nickle: time and a place. Canoe paddle: Don’t bother suiting up next game.
Football players gotta grind those TD’s out. There’s some big, bad mamma-jamma’s out there that really don’t want you in their end. There’s some huge meathead football players, but even the best teams have a tough time getting it in field goal range against a defensive line named after large kitchen appliances. So Terrell, I say flap your wings. Throw the grenades and blow your team up. Dirty bird, get derrrty. You’ve earned it.
Basketball is well aware that even though they have the smallest net in team sports, it’s just not that big of a challenge when the telephone-pole sized players can literally start placing the ball in the net for over 100 points a game. Even the dunkers are aware of the frequency of conversion. Rarely do you see a basket celebration, and with good reason.
So soccer players, in conclusion, I enjoy your game, but never forget NO ONE IN SPORTS HAS A BIGGER NET THAN YOU.
The only exception I will allow to this rule is the header goal, or that bicycle kick. These might be the toughest goals in sports to score, and to that I say climb the goal post and pick the coconuts for all I care, you deserve it. Hopefully my British friends haven’t disowned me. Remember, I’m not attacking soccer as a whole, just the over-sensationalized celebrations to goal size ratio, that’s all. Just keep it all in perspective. This is all I ask.