July 3, 2006
Posted by Jon Ham at 8:52 PM
I think the pre-holiday giddies must have set in for the copy editor who wrote the headlines on this story. Although I must say that writing a straight headline on this story would have been difficult.
(Link via The Corner)
Two other soccer observations
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:49 PM
1. Kids play soccer because moms believe there's much less chance of injury in this game than in football (or even baseball).
2. American sports fans who pump money into athletics (buying tickets and merchandise, watching games on TV) have a hard time watching a sport that involves such a small "Wow" factor.
We marvel at the athlete who can hit a home run, survive a tackle from a 350-pound man, dunk a basketball, hit a 300-yard drive and then sink a 20-foot putt, ace a 115-mile per hour serve, or avoid dangerous collisions while racing around on skates with a small puck and a stick.
Occasionally, a soccer player can elicit the same response with a powerful or well-directed kick (or an athletic save). But most soccer action involves dribbling, passing, and running at three-quarters speed.
Re: Soccer stuff
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 2:58 PM
My point was to show the appeal of soccer.
Once the game is played, competition then determines who excels or who should choose another sport--or go play video game versions of it. That's why really tall guys and large guys (with a few exceptions) don't play soccer at a highly competitive level and choose other sports in which they excel.
The origins of SOCcer
Posted by Jon Ham at 2:35 PM
Since this topic just won't disappear, here is some soccer history, including how the word came about.
Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:16 PMTroy makes a good point (summarizing) about union interference with other sports in comparison to soccer.
Nevertheless, I must interject a little surprise at the point made by him and Michael in favor of soccer: "One doesn't have to be 7'4" or 285lbs. to play"/"it does not require 325-pound linemen or 7 foot 10 inch centers." As if there's something wrong with specialization and the division of labor.
What's not to like about soccer?
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 2:07 PM
For at least five reasons, I thought more people at JLF would like soccer.
1) In Europe there are no salary caps--just look at what Abromovich has done at making Chelsea competitive once again.
2) For a poor performance, a team isn't awarded a top draft pick to equal out the competition.
3) One doesn't have to be 7'4" or 285lbs. to play. It encourages participation--a democratic-republic of sorts (okay a little bit of a stretch there).
4) Strategy is decided on the field, not by bureaucratic experts upstairs watching film or by a quarterback or head coach dictating plays.
5) The game is fluid and depends on the creativity, versatility, and adaptability of the players involved and rewards those who showcase such skills. (There's no such thing as luck).
More soccer bashing
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:12 PM
A Weekly Standard reporter recently argued that soccer minimizes the two great characteristics that separate people from animals: the opposable thumb and a highly developed brain.
Only the soccer goalkeeper can take advantage of his opposable thumb. That usually happens only during the most routine plays. His most spectacular plays tend to involve tipping or punching the ball, rather than grabbing it.
Meanwhile, most other major sports involve some sort of headgear to protect the brain, but soccer players are encouraged to bash their heads against the ball. Soccer ranks second only to boxing among the major sports in the amount of acceptable headbashing.
The article's author exercised much greater eloquence in positing the preceding points. It's unfortunate that his work no longer appears on the Weekly Standard web site.
I'm not a soccer basher, but I agree with Jon Ham that rules changes encouraging more offense would be a major improvement.
Re: Soccer bashing
Posted by John Hood at 12:35 AM
For the record, the Dale Gibson column in Triangle Business Journal that I quoted last week, and started all the ruckus here, is now online.
Re: Soccer bigotry
Posted by Jon Ham at 12:12 AM
Finally had to weigh in here to say the reason I don't watch soccer is:
1) Nobody scores
2) It reeks of corruption
3) The post-game riots
Get rid of the offsides rule, which would increase the chances of the ball actually getting into the goal, and I think Americans might actually watch a game.
Mike Munger on rent seeking
Posted by George Leef at 12:05 AM
JLF's good friend Mike Munger has a good essay on rent-seeking here.
Why would government officials spend more money on trying to land federal handouts than the amount of the handouts? Mike answers that and other questions about political behavior.
Re: Soccer bigotry
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 09:56 AM
Of the many sports I played in life, soccer was one of them. I played forward and goalie for my high school my sophomore year. Needless to say we weren't any good, but we won a few times (against co-ed teams). Anyways, of all the sports I played soccer and wrestling I had to be in the best shape for to compete. We ran so much in soccer the first two weeks of practice, if I remember correctly I lost 15 pounds. It's a great game. The problem, I believe, for Americans is we don't market the game very well, which can be attributed to the fact that I don't believe the MLS is a solid professional league.
Now, I'll admit that I haven't watched much of the World Cup. I would rather watch the U.S. Women's Open because I'm more interested in golf.
It only cost $40,000 per student
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:44 AM
Guilford County school superintendent Terry Grier would like to add more Learn and Earn/Early College programs to the county school system. County commissioners granted Grier $4 million last year for the program but an additional $2 million would be required for school building renovations to house future programs. According to the article, it is unlikely that the commissioners will give Grier the additional $2 million.
Was the money well spent? The article claims that,
For the most part, Grier's ground-breaking middle and early college initiatives have paid handsome dividends. Students who might have dropped out have stayed in school. Many have blossomed in the nontraditional settings.
Let's say that the program helped 100 kids stay in school and/or blossom. That means that, last year alone, the district would have spent $40,000 on each potential dropout or un-blossomed child. Why not just pay them $10,000 cash to stay in school or get on with blossoming?
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:28 AM
Whatís all this nonsense about soccer (real football)?
Itís a very simple game of skill and athletic endurance. Any five
year-old can play it, witness my two sons. And best of all it
does not require 325-pound linemen or 7 foot 10 inch centers.
Norman people can play. Also, it is the only sport that I know of
where you can be penalized for taking a ďdive.Ē What you guys are
The France/Brazil game was fantastic. France outplayed the world
champions throughout the game. High scores do not make an
interesting game. Witness basketball where teams just match each
other's score and the last team with the ball wins. Boring!
My suggestion to you soccer haters is donít just watch the ball.
Watch the other players and see how the play develops. A well-executed
play that gets the ball past the defense into the box where a teammate
scores a goal is a thing of beauty.
I know the real reason for your soccer bigotry. Play does not stop for you to take a beer break to the kitchen.
A good idea supported (shock!) by all sides
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:09 AM
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wants a new online database that would help taxpayers track how Congress is spending their money.
According to the New York Times, Coburn believes "the more the public learns about federal spending, the less it will want."
But the Times also finds that liberal groups that support activist government also want the new database. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., also sponsors the plan.
The liberal groups believe the database would give taxpayers a new appreciation of the work government does.
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