So, the World Cup is upon us, and yet again, that means another column by Pioneer Press sportshack Tom Powers, decrying how arrogant the rest of the world is for thinking he's too dumb to understand soccer. He goes to show, in painstaking detail, that he is far too fucking dumb to understand nasal breathing, much less soccer. And he manages to be a complete dick about his ignorance. Like his ignorance is somehow someone else's fault.
Let's quote us some Powers, shall we?
If the government really is serious about identifying illegal immigrants, it soon will be provided a unique opportunity to record their whereabouts.
All the Department of Homeland Security has to do is monitor the city-by-city television ratings of this month's World Cup soccer tournament. Agents should be dispatched to any area in which the ratings reflect an unnaturally high level of interest. That likely signals a concentrated pocket of illegals.
No one who actually is from here cares about the most over-hyped, mind-numbingly boring event in the world.
Ha-ha! Only stupid foreigners (and only illegal ones, apparently) watch soccer! That's rich. Extraordirily wrong, of course. But rich. Um, dickbag. I'm From "Here". The ten to 20 guys I'll be watching various games with will mostly be from "here", or have a student visa. Oh, that's right, again: some people who care about soccer may not be from here, but still contribute money to the economy and drive network decisions about what gets on TV. Old Fat White Guys don't get to make every single programming decision, which apparently is what has got Powers in such a snit.
High definition means that over the course of a 90-minute contest, both scoring chances can be viewed with crystal clarity.
Ha-ha again! Scoring is rare in soccer, and that's always good for a joke. of course, there are slow games in soccer wherein they are only two bona fide scoring chances. But they are extremely rare. Taking Powers at his word here suggests that he actually doesn't know what a scoring chance looks like. The only thing that us soccer fans say is that just because a game is low scoring doesn't mean it wasn't a great game. We don't say all of them are, for heavens sake, just that low score does not automatically equal boring. Just as in baseball, when a taut pitching duel is going on, it is not boring. Hey Powers, you stupid fuck, when a pitcher throws a perfect game, is that boring? After all, zero scoring chances must equal boring. Right? Right? No? Huh.
Powers goes into the completely illogical next:
The networks usually make a big deal out of doing that. It's their way of telling us how important the World Cup is. Remember, there were no commercial interruptions when man first walked on the moon.
Think about that again. This is, in theory, a sports fan, complaining about the lack of commerical breaks. How odd is that? And it is also incredibly inaccurate. There are no commercial interruptions because the game doesn't take 2 minute breaks every few minutes of game time. There may be a few stoppages in a half, but watch a half of soccer, and see how much "injury time" (time added to half to makes up for stoppages in play) gets added. It is usually under 4 minutes. So in 48 minutes of coverage, the game isn't not being played for 3 of them. You really want to compare that to American Football, and tell me which one really moves slower?
Thirty years after soccer was supposed to be the next thing here, ESPN and ABC will attempt to "educate" as well as entertain American viewers during the World Cup, according to an article in Sunday's paper. The arrogance is astounding. The networks still are subscribing to the tired old chestnut that Americans aren't interested in soccer because we don't understand it.
A little less than 30 years ago, I got my first soccer ball. I played through elementary, junior high, high school and college, and for a few years after college. So I guess I was part of that first wave of education. They got to me young, when I was still actually willing to put forth the effort to learn, instead of old and grumpy and self-satisfied. But education works, especially if the student is willing to learn. I've watched in the space of just one big tournament, a soccer cynic turn into a huge fan. It isn't hard to do, Powers, just watch a game with a few real fans, who know what they are talking about, and can describe it in the series of hoots, clicks and growls I imagine you communicate in.
Best accidental irony moment is in this paragraph. Powers saying that the arrogance is astounding? "The Arrogance is Astounding" should be his fucking nickname. Because right after that, he busts out his thesis, the same thesis he shocked the world with 4 years ago and 8 years ago and so on:
In fact, just the opposite is true. We don't like soccer because we do understand it. And it's awful.
Having read this column all the way through, I can with some reliability guess that Tom Powers hasn't even watched a soccer game in the past what? 4 years? 10? It has been awhile. Why write about something you don't care anything about? It's just a waste of everybody's time.
So I remember again why I stopped reading Tom Powers in the first place. I don't care if he thinks I'm uncivilized, or that I'm going to teach my children how to become hooligans (because Americans don't riot after victories?), or that I'm unAmerican. Let him think whatever he wants to about soccer. I'm taking his attitude towards soccer and using it in a way that makes sense.
I'm going to take his dismissive tone, his lazy use of the same old arguments, and faux blue-collar, I'm just a regular guy, and I'd rather have tubes up my ass than watch attitude, and say, "Tom Powers is a waste of time and effort, and not only would I rather have a colonscopy than read what such a willfully ignorant reactionary has to say, I'd rather have the procedure performed by a grouchy, blind, drunk silverback gorilla than read Tom Powers."
The difference is, I've actually read Tom Powers. I've tried to like his writing. My opinions are based on actual observation. Why doesn't Powers actual examine the sport he's writing about? Maybe that's too much to expect from a guy getting paid for his professional opinions on sports based on actual observations. It is certainly easier to write a new intro paragraph to the same old bullshit from last time. Pays the same money , right?
Ugh. Powers continues on, and I've read the rest of the column, and if you want to, you can too. It's right here. Go, and let me know what kind of surgery you'd rather have than read this guy's "thoughts" on soccer ever again.
And a hearty thank you, of sorts, to Gelf Magazine, via Deadspin, for reminding me of the quadrennial Turd Fest that is a Powers soccer column.