This latest post may land me on more shit lists than Mitt Romney and Salman Rushdie combined; but I wish to say something about the sport of soccer — by which I also mean “football,” for any of my many soon-to-be-offended, possibly-imaginary international fans.
I used to play soccer as a kid; and though I was decent at it, it struck me even at seven or eight that taking a shot to the face, the gut, or — God forbid — the family jewels, was an awfully steep price to pay for stopping a ball from entering a net.
Furthermore, as if it weren’t bad enough that players are strictly forbidden to protect Harry and the Hendersons by clutching them with trembling hands — if the ball does hit their hands by accident, it’s still a damn penalty. Who the hell came up with this testicle-obsessed sadomasochistic game? No, Hillary Clinton’s only been alive for sixty odd years.
Now, one might predict that I nevertheless feel respect for the bravado of these male soccer players, who couldn’t all be eunuchs. (We’ll leave aside their intellects for now.) But, like most American dudes, I’ve tried to watch soccer matches during the Olympics — no matter the eerily-lifeless, nauseating droning of the vuvuzelas (think, annoying kazoos) and the thrilling 1 to 0 finishes.
But just couldn’t. And it wasn’t the charming vuvuzelas: it was the sport itself.
Don’t get me wrong: If a player took a tragic one to the “boys” and had to be gurneyed off the field, I’d be as sympathetic, mildly uncomfortable and hysterically amused as the next guy. But these players — the very best in the world — were throwing themselves on the ground, rolling around and lightly convulsing — after only minor brushes with other players.
Never in my life seen a quarterback do that. (Granted, kickers do, but that’s because they aren’t real football players.)
And worse still, no sooner are these profiles in courage lowered onto the ground on the sidelines and doused with some sort of magic boo boo spray — no doubt equal parts fairy dust and vaginal discharge — than they pop back up on their feet, jump around, run in place, and signal their intention to go back in.
IT’S A MIRACLE!!!
No, it’s actually more of an embarrassment.