For some reason, if I’m watching a game in a sports bar in America, and a stranger hears my accent, he will, within moments upon discovering I’m British, tell me what he thinks of soccer and (or) cricket. It almost always goes a little something like this: “Soccer is boring, and I don’t understand cricket.”
I don’t know why people think soccer is boring, and if they “get” baseball, I don’t comprehend why you, Mr. Male American Sports Fan, doesn’t understand cricket.
Cricket has a simple premise: one person throws the ball; the other guy with the bat hits the ball and scores runs. The team with the most runs wins the game. So, tell me, Mr. Male American Sports Fan, why is that confusing? Oh, I get it, the bat is a different shape than you’re used to, the ball is a different color, and the size and dimensions of the field are alien to what you grew up with…Okaaaaay, well sorry to have challenged you.
Soccer, or as the rest of the world calls it “football” is non-stop action for 45 minutes and then there is a half-time interval (which lasts 15 minutes.) And then it’s 45 minutes more football. Sure, sometimes games end in a tie, and occasionally there are matches where there are only 1 or 2 goals (there are often 6, 7, 8 and more scored) but as a sports fan, why can’t you appreciate a great save from a goalkeeper, which can be just as thrilling as the ball hitting the back of the net, (depending on who you want to win.) There is excitement and beauty in the build-up to an attempt on goal. It’s the anticipation of a great ending to a wonderful sequence of moves. It’s like ballet or great theatre. Perhaps though, Mr. Male American Sports Fan, you really are just excited by the ball going over the goal line into the net. Everything that led to that moment was boring.
Now just by bringing this up I know that some Americans will get all bent all out of shape, and I’m sure at some point some knucklehead will mention how if it weren’t for America, us Brits would be eating schnitzel and drinking German beer. It happens almost every time I attempt to defend a sport I love. Yaaaaaaaaawn!
A Quick Look at Some Numbers:
NFL football games last 60 minutes…Yep, 1 hour…well 3 hours with all the commercial breaks, TV replay interruptions, and personnel changes. However, they can last 4 hours if it’s the Superbowl, and 5 hours if Whitney Houston is singing The National Anthem. Well, you get the point.
For each touchdown scored, 6 points are awarded, 7 if the extra point is kicked. In NFL, even if you nearly get a touchdown but miss out, you are given a kick which, if you convert, will give you 3 points. In soccer it’s 1 point for 1 goal…but if 7 points were given for every goal and 3 for every time the team nearly score a goal, then the points scores would be higher. Are you with me? Good.
I love baseball, but the ball is in play during a three-hour game for an average of 7 to 8 minutes. Seriously, look it up, or hold a stopwatch to it and time it, I don’t care how you do it. The point here is if you videotaped a baseball game and took out all the stuff where the ball is “not in play” you could watch 2 baseball games during a soccer half-time interval. I’m just saying that boring is 2 hours and fifty-three minutes of watching an outfielder spit sunflower seeds while scratching at his nuts.
Male American sports fans ask me: “Is it true that cricket matches can last for five days?” Well, yes, some; those are called test matches, and for four or five days, the same two teams will battle everyday to see who wins the series…and…wait…now how is this different from baseball? Seriously, Mr. Male American Sports Fan, baseball teams play each other for three or four days in a row to try and win “the series.” At the end of the season there might be 7 games in a row with the same team! It’s the exact same fucking thing!
Now I love sports. I’m opened minded about all of them, yes, even the ones I don’t understand. For some reason, male American sports fans (even the intelligent ones that can explain baseball’s infield fly-rule) seem reluctant to want to give sports that they weren’t exposed to at an early age a chance. Why is this?
And why in America does it always have to be about hitting the “Home Run” or scoring “The Touchdown?” That one or two seconds where the ball explodes off the bat or the runner bursts through and crosses into the end zone and the crowd goes crazy and erupts in frenzy….Oh, my God. I just figured it out. It’s all about the orgasm. It’s all about getting to the moment of orgasm. And the bigger the number of points scored the better the orgasm!
I grew up in England watching American movies and TV. Often there were scenes where a young American male (possibly a sports fan) would use baseball euphemisms related to: kissing, touching a girl’s breast, getting in her pants, and having sex. As someone who had never seen baseball, I was confused. Getting to second base? What the hell is that all about?
In England we never asked our pals things like: “Did you get near the cornerflag?” or “Did you get to see her penalty area?” I eventually discovered that hitting “a home run” meant that the young, male American got to have sex. Thus planting the seeds of association for the rest of his adult life. No wonder baseball is America’s favorite pastime.
© Matty Stone 2010
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