The nihilism of soccer: The more you look, the less there is to see

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
I knew is for athletes that cant handle "real" sports!

Nil, Nil
The nihilism of soccer: The more you look, the less there is to see.
by Frank Cannon Richard Lessner
06/23/2006 12:00:00 AM

IN ITS RECENT WORLD CUP CONTEST WITH ITALY, the U.S. team played what was widely regarded by the sport's connoisseurs as one of the best games ever played by an American soccer squad on foreign soil.

The historic game with Italy ended in an epic 1-1 tie. But in what was ballyhooed as one of the greatest games ever played by an American team, the United States failed to score. The goal credited to the Americans was scored by an opposing player who--oops!--accidentally kicked the ball into his own goal.

Think about this about this for a moment. It just about sums up everything you need to know about soccer, or football, as it is known elsewhere.

Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe. Soccer is truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation.

Most soccer matches end in scoreless ties (or nil, nil in soccer parlance), 1-1 deadlocks or 1-0 victories. A final score of 2-1 is regarded as a veritable outburst of offense, an avalanche of goal scoring that leaves exhausted fans shaking their heads and pining for the old days when teams knew how to play strong defense. A score of 2-0 is said to be a crushing victory (or defeat) of Carthaginian proportions rendering national shame and humiliation and potentially resulting in coup d'etat, or even war.

In truth, soccer could be played without using a ball at all, and few would notice the difference. The game consists of 22 men running up and down a grassy field for 90 minutes with little happening as fans scream wildly. When the ball actually approaches one of the goals, the fans reach fever pitch and the cheering becomes a deafening roar.

Of course, these infrequent occurrences in which the soccer ball approaches the end zone--where goaltenders wile away their time perusing magazines, trimming their fingernails or inspecting blades of grass--rarely result in a shot on goal. Most often the ball ends up high over the goal, missing everything by 20 or 30 feet. These "near misses" typically send the fans into paroxysms; TV announcers scream themselves hoarse. Then the players mill about the field for another 20 or 30 minutes or so and the goaltenders return to their musings before the ball returns, like Halley's comet in its far-flung orbit, for another pass in the general vicinity of the goal.

Mostly soccer is just guys in shorts running around aimlessly, a metaphor for the meaninglessness of life. Whole blocks of game time transpire during which absolutely nothing happens. Fortunately, this permits fans to slip out for a bratwurst and a beer without missing anything important. It's little wonder fans at times resort to brawling amongst themselves in the grandstands, as there is so little transpiring on the field of play to occupy their wandering attention. Watching men in shorts scampering around has its limitations. It's like gazing too long at a painting by de Kooning or Jackson Pollock. The more you look, the less there is to see.

DESPITE HEROIC EFFORTS of soccer moms, suburban liberals, and World Cup hype, soccer will never catch on as a big time sport in America. No game in which actually scoring goals is of such little importance could possibly occupy the attention of average Americans. Our country has yet to succumb to the nihilism, existentialism, and anomie that have overtaken Europe. A game about nothing, in which scoring is purely incidental, holds scant interest for Americans who still believe the world makes sense, that life has a larger meaning and structure, that being is not an end in itself, being qua being.

Another reason why soccer will never enthrall Americans is that the game is contrary to nature. What is it that is unique to the physical makeup of human beings that sets us apart from the animal world? Two things: Our large brains and our grasping hands with opposable thumbs. Our big brain is why we're called homo sapiens, thinking man. And our ability to use our hands to grasp and manipulate objects is why one of our early ancestors was designated homo habilis, handy man. Human beings are thinking toolmakers. We're able to imagine the arrowhead in the stone and use our hands to carve it out of the rock. These two uniquely human traits have allowed us to become the dominant species on the planet.

Yet soccer flies in the face of nature. In almost all other sports, the head is protected against injury. Players wear helmets and try to avoid contact with sticks, bats, balls, elbows, fists, roadways, goalposts and other things that might inflict injury on that big brain that gives humans the ability to plan ahead, calculate, strategize, coordinate eye and hand movements, anticipate the consequence of actions--in other words, to play the game.

But soccer players use their heads, deliberately, to contact the ball. This is contrary to all human instinct, which is to keep the head out of the way of danger. Duck, you idiot! Protecting the head against injury is deeply rooted in our nature. It's an evolutionary survival response. Sacrifice a limb if you must, give up an arm or leg, but protect your head at all costs. Yet in soccer the player is encouraged, no, expected to hit the ball with his head. This is as stupid an action as a human being can undertake.

Secondly, any game which prohibits the use of the hands is contrary to nature. Opposable thumbs allow humans to grasp things (thumbs on other primate hands such as chimps and orangutans are splayed out the side and are not truly opposable.) This is why the games human beings play involve holding things such as baseball bats, golf clubs and hockey sticks, or to grip and throw objects like a ball or a Frisbee.

Soccer denies its players this most basic human ability. Players cannot catch or throw the ball. But they can hit it with their heads. If one were to set out to invent a game fundamentally at odds with human nature, soccer would be it. Place the head with its big brain in constant danger, and prohibit the use of the hands. Soccer denies to its players the very attributes that make human beings, the thinking toolmaker, human.

Actually, the donkey would have a significant advantage over humans in soccer. It has four legs rather than two. The donkey has no hands or opposable thumbs, nor any need of them in order to play soccer. And smashing its head into a soccer ball probably would not cause any diminution of equine IQ. Soccer, then, would appear to be a game better suited to dim-witted quadrupeds than to human beings.
That is about the most stupid artical I have ever read and obviously written by an American who does not understand "real" sports and probably is the typical american weighing in at 250lb and eating KFC being an arm chair quarterback.

Soccer is a great sport, and is fun to watch and play. They obviously do not understand the sport and are jealous that the US is not good at the sport at all. If the US was still in the World Cup they would be hailing the sport and how great the team and sport is...
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
.... If the US was still in the World Cup they would be hailing the sport and how great the team and sport is...

Americans love a winner!

I've always thought that the offsides rules needed to be changed. No offsides between the 20 yard (meter) lines. And I played the game so I know what I'm talking about!
Ive played the game as well and without the offsides rule then you could just let people hang out there and then there would be no challenge. If you really played the game you would know that....
The advantage is if a team wanted offensive players to hang out down there, then the defenders had the option of marking them or going to midfield for an out numbering attack.

Its a great rule that would open the game up.
It would take away from the strategy and make it boring. That is why the rule exists and why FIFA will not allow the game to become americanized with that stupid rule.
FIFA is a dinosaur that refuses to change.

Sometimes change is good and it opens up the game.
that article's a load of rubbish :lol: Adler's right it's obviously written by an american, he even calls goalkeepers goaltenders, this aint hockey, thankfully this is a game that hasn't been americanised, as there's no flashing lights, crappy music everytime something happens, big fights and the fact it actually involves skill Americans seem easily boored whilst watching it, if you really understand the game, which the auther obviously doesn't, then there's a lot of entertainment, and it doesn't need big flashing lights, and the offside rule stays, it'd be too easy without it........
since when was there music everytime something happens in cricket? although i must admit i found the duck that used to walk across the screen very ammusing ;) ah yes cricket, i'd be interested to hear syscom's views on that fine game?
Absolutely correct Lanc, especially what you said right here:

the lancaster kicks *** said:
thankfully this is a game that hasn't been americanised

Not everything has to be the way you want it syscom and not everything has to be the American way. Get over it please....
I hate the way everyone calls it soccer now... no, it's football, soccer is the name given to it because they confuse it with American football as they were obviously having an off day when they tried to think of a name for what can barely be called a sport, good lord, it's been football since before American Football was even invented, get your own names ;)
American Football is a great sport. I love it. It is deffinatly better than cricket! Hell it is better than Cricket, Baseball, and Basketball combined. The 3 best sports are Football, Football (soccer), and Hockey.
i've seen little bits of Baseball and American Football and man i was boored! where's the skill, stamina and inteligence in baseball? and American Football's just one big fight why do you get so excited about it? either way you could barely tell they were playing a sport i can understand why someone would think they're just watching a giant advert...........

here's an idea, next time you watch a sport, mute the TV, the way i see it a good sport should be entertaining without music or some over-excited commentator going "YEEEE-HAWWWW" all the time, see if it's interesting then... i've tried it (mostly due to people being on the phone and wanting the volume down) and Football's still a great game, as is cricket... are baseball and American Football?
i was watching some Motorcross from the 60's and the stuff they were saying was absolutely classic, they were exceptionally British, very un-PC and the puns were of a suitably crappy level............

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