The Answer Man

Monday, July 12, 2010

Q: What is the world's largest team sport.

A: It's what we call soccer, but the rest of the world calls football.

Brian Mitchell made an interesting observation in his D.D.D. column a few weeks ago when he identified himself as being about as much into soccer as watching paint dry, or grass grow. This probably speaks for most of us.

The world wide frenzy for soccer is for most Americans as mysteriously unfathomable as Japanese sumo wrestling.

We just don't have the "feel" for it.

Never having played the game except in a sort of free-for-all irresponsibility, we don't understand the rules, or the penalties. Not appreciating the continuous action, we don't have the most remote idea of the skill it takes to get that ball down the field without picking it up. throwing it, or putting it under an arm and running with it.

Take that "header," for instance. The idea is to strike the ball with the forehead, or the top of the head. The nose does not provide for good heading. Bone splinters may occur. Neither eye will work well, and the mouth is definitely out. That soccer ball is no wispy plastic shell. It must have been a painful experience to learn the timing it takes to execute this shot properly.

Our answer to this would probably be: Who cares?

There are some sports in this country not appreciated. Some people say that baseball is too slow.

f you like the pitcher/batter confrontation, baseball is never too slow. If you don't like that set-up you will never like baseball. For the baseball purist that duel is the catalyst for the crack of the bat, the running, and the fielding plays.

Very funny is that some avid golfers, and TV tournament watchers, say that baseball is too slow.

What could be slower than golf? Here is this fellow scratching himself, and looking at his little distance book. Exciting stuff. He finally hits the ball.

Then up on the green some overweight character is dramatically stalking a 15ft putt as if he is getting ready to kill a cobra. Ho hum for the non golfer. Good stuff for those of us into the game. (Some people call the Golf Channel the "Boring Channel.")

That's it. It's whether you are into the game, or not. And that is totally lost to us in the game of soccer.

Other people go bananas over our football, saying that it is the ultimate in action.

The huddle is not action. Picking yourself up, and running back to the huddle is not action. The interminable time-outs are not action. The actual action of a football play only takes a few seconds. And then it's back again to the same routine.

Proof of this is in those Sunday morning TV show where a coach and some sponsor are talking over yesterday's game. Here the crowd noise is out. No cheering squads. What with the comments and commercials just about every play of the game can be covered in less than 30 minutes.

What is left out here is that for those of us who love football it's the entire panorama that puts us into the game. We like the huddles, we like seeing those bruisers dusting themselves off, we can bear the time--outs, love the cheering squads, cherish the roar of the crowd, and thrill to the plays. We are into the game.

We have along way to go in this country before we ever get that feeling about soccer.

Are soccer players good athletes? Well, you don[t see any 300 pounders out there with their bellies handing over their pants. The goalies are tall, but not in the 7 feet range. Takes too much dexterity. The players are trim, fast, and obviously have stamina.

Does this impress us? Not a whit. We want more scoring. Would we be more satisfied if the scores were 20 to 15, or something? The soccer purist would probably get sick in the stomach just thinking about this. What's wrong with them?

It is estimated that as many as one billion TV viewers may watch the July 11 World Cup Championship game. Their answer to our comparative indifference might be.. Who Cares?

Q: What does the age 61 mean?

A: It's time to put on your dancing shoes.

There was a story sort of buried on page 3 of the D.D.D. where rocker, Ozzie Osbourne, an admitted alcohol and drug abuser, is bragging about reaching the age 61. This is funny for several reasons:

First of all, Osbourne is now writing a health column for the Sunday Times magazine.

Second: Osbourne, in some kind of drunken craze, once bit off the head of a bat. Now a man has to be really drunk to do that. It would be enough to make an onlooker a little "batty" too.

There is a group of golfers out at the Kennett Golf Course so - how shall we say - experienced - that they look back on age 61 as a time when there was still pep in the step, and a naughty gleam in their eyes. (That gleam now nostalgic only)

Age 61. Big Deal!! Come on, Ozzie. Start bragging when you have a few more miles on the road. Put on your dancing shoes.

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