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How to Care About the World Cup

This week JButt insists that the World Cup is a thing that normal people in America care about. Not that Clay disagrees, it’s just that no one cares about soccer. So JButt went and tried to bring in reinforcements.

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JButt: Okay, so you had your turn boring everyone except for Sgt. Burrill Wolverine with your hockey gibberish.

Clay: My mom and aunt were NOT bored.

JButt: Moms are actually not that great as measures of success. I can say that because I am one. Moving on.

Now it’s MY turn as we begin the World Cup, the ACTUAL sporting event with “world” in its name to ACTUALLY involve the world. It’s time to talk about soccer AKA the world’s most popular sport AKA a game of agility and speed and grace and RIDICULOUS skill and super fly honeys. 

Clay: You just described half the beer pong tables in America.

JButt: Please. Anything you can play half-drunk gets discounted. 

First, I promise not to call it football (or rather, futbol) EVEN ONCE this whole time.

Clay: Good, since football is a completely different sport that’s actually entertaining. 

JButt: Second, I’ll direct you to this post specifically for soccer n00bs written by Joseph Craven in preparation for a championship that ACTUALLY matters, and on a global scale at that. Read it. Learn it. Try to keep up.

Clay: *Pauses to read article about soccer. Gets distracted by belly-button lint build up.* 

Joe is one of the few people in America capable of getting me to read about soccer. The first thing I notice about his article is that he talks about people. That’s a good tactic, but no matter how much I might get interested in the players we still have the dilemma that I’ll eventually have to watch them play soccer.

I like the part about Jozy Altidore (translation: “Joy of the Door”). It’s cute how soccer teams get angry when players don’t score goals in a sport where no one scores goals.

JButt: O. M. G. Do you even realize how much athleticism is required for the one goal?! That’s 120 yards of constant motion–

Clay: If only it was just 50 yards. Then we might get somewhere.

JButt: …maneuvering a ball WITH YOUR FEET, dodging other fast, strong people who are essentially kicking at your shins the whole time, only to shoot at a goal guarded by THE ONE GUY who can use his hands. You know why he uses his hands? Because it’s easier to use your hands. ANY SPORT YOU CAN USE YOUR HANDS IS EASIER THAN SOCCER. There. I got it out. Plus, they don’t just give arbitrary numbers to each goal. One ball in the back of the net equals 1 point. Not 6. Not 3. Not +2. We keeps it simple because the game is complex enough.

Clay: Know what sport is also complex and totes boring to watch? Chess. 

JButt: …is not a sport.

Clay: Tried to read the link about “Don’t call me Michael” Landon Donovan but got distracted by a video about a squirrel. Soccer should be more like squirrels. Save up all your goals for the bleak season of competition. Then you’ll have something fulfilling to show us, soccer.

JButt: Donovan kind of looks like a squirrel. And as far as showing us something fulfilling, you obviously haven’t seen the muscles on these guys.

Clay: So by that logic I should be fulfilled watching women’s soccer? Hold on, let me check YouTube… Nope, still not interesting.

JButt: I’ll concede: women’s soccer is only interesting to the women actually playing.Clay: Pretty sure that’s sexist, but back to Joe’s article. Yes, Brazil wins. Brazil always wins. I know because I used to play FIFA soccer on Super Nintendo.

JButt: I don’t even know why I’m trying to culture you. After all, it’s only the WHOLE WORLD’S FAVORITE PASTIME. 

Clay: Whoa, I’m BARELY willing to let you slide on favorite sport. Now you want soccer to be the world’s favorite pastime? Now I know you’re drinking the Kool-Aid which by the way is the world’s 7th favorite pastime. 

JButt: I just want to pat your head and tell you it’s going to be okay. Hey, remember that time in history when a bunch of former pro soccer players were imprisoned in Auschwitz and they beat the Germans in a game of soccer and brought hope to everyone with the subtle but poignant message that the Nazis could be beaten? Yeah, that was cool.

Clay: Not sure you’ve got an accurate history tale there but go on. 

JButt: It was on the History Channel. Maybe they were semi-pro. Or bakers who also played soccer together. WHATEVER, HISTORY NERD. There’s also the fact that soccer is helping bring together rival tribes in war-torn Sudan. There’s ALSO that resolution part in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Need I go on about how quietly significant soccer is to THE WORLD?

I also can’t decide if I need to bring up the fact that soccer is one of the last sports to rely solely on the refs to, I don’t know, CALL THE GAME instead of instant replays, coach challenges, and technology to tell us when the ball crossed over the line. PURITY OF SPORT, Clay.

Clay: Know why we don’t need technology for replays? Because the action is so dull and painstakingly slow that nobody ever misses anything. Ever.

JButt: Experiment time! Can we get Messi or Ronaldo or Donovan to fire a soccer ball at your face and see if you miss that? There is SO MUCH I can say about soccer to convince you to love it, but I’m afraid we’re going to lose our readers around the five-thousandth word.

Clay: I wouldn’t worry about word count on this one. If soccer fans are reading this they’re already accustomed to spending hours waiting for something to develop.

Craven: HEY PARTY PEOPLE mind if I jump in? I heard the sound of somebody choosing to love flash and immediate gratification over talent and impressive sportsing. How are things, Clay? You flipping through the channels looking for Slamball reruns?

Joe Craven: Soccer enthusiast
Joe Craven: Soccer enthusiast


Clay: While delayed gratification is a great model for life, I use sports to distract me from the slow burn of chasing goals. So no, when I get a free hour to watch sports I don’t enjoy watching soccer a.k.a. futbol a.k.a. (and let’s face it) watching grass grow.

JButt: GRASS GROW?! You obviously haven’t watched U8 coach-pitch baseball.

Craven: Or Major League Baseball. Or college baseball. Or any level of baseball. Okay, maybe I came in too much like a wrecking ball. Let me ask you this: Clay, do you love America?

Clay: Well, I do love American sports. You know, all the games the most athletic people in this country tend to select over soccer. So sure, I’m biased in that way.

Craven: I like it when people call baseball players athletes. But you’re right, we ignore soccer because it’s not OUR sport. Of course, we’re already dominating the world in most everything that isn’t education or general life happiness. Heck, we haven’t let a Canadian team win your precious Stanley Cup in twenty years. So we HAVE to care about soccer because it’s the last major sport that we haven’t totally taken from the world! See what I’m trying to say?

Clay: As a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the longest franchise losing streak in North American sports, I can decidedly say it’s not the lack of winning scaring me off.

Craven: Clearly it’s a lack of patriotism. 

Clay: Maybe if I was Brazilian.

Craven: Come on, this country was founded on the principle of working hard to be the best and never listening to the British. And yeah, we slipped up when we let the Beatles run the music scene, but now is when we take the power back. What’s more American than taking the world’s sport and beating them at it? Getting big into the world’s game is the most American thing you can do.

Clay: Fact: The British tried to make the colonists play soccer. Next thing you know? AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

JButt: UGHHHHH, I give up, Yankee Doodle. God save the Queen.

Craven: Hold up, let me find this awesome post about Cricket that I wrote…

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jessica Buttram writes, parents, laughs, and eats too much chocolate, probably right this very moment and often all at the same time. She’s also your biggest fan. FindFriendFollow.[/author_info] [/author]

Connect with Joseph “The Joe” Craven on Twitter

What’s the verdict, dear reader? To foot the ball or not to foot the ball?

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.