Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Care About Media Coverage of Soccer in the U.S.

When people bemoan to me the demise of newspapers, I try to gently tell them that newspapers are a generational thing. If you're younger than, say 50, chances are you get most of your news and information from A) television, and B), the Internet. I don't subscribe to newspapers anymore, I read the free ones online. Who, then, is keeping newspapers alive? Our parents, of course. These are the folks who need the physical ink-stained fish wrapper in their hands every day. These are the folks who don't quite realize that ALL of the news in a newspaper is OLD!

But back to my point; it's a generational thing. And when mom and dad are no longer with us, or get too old to realize they're actually missing their newspaper every day, that's when you'll see newspapers finally die off for good.

This argument is quite useful in many arenas. For example, you can use an offshoot of this argument when dealing with American media types and their slanted, ignorant coverage of football--I'm talking about soccer, the round football. When these old bastards die off, so will the cocky, elitist coverage of soccer in this country. And then, perhaps, the game will get a little more mainstream here. But until then, who cares really? Does soccer need America to thrive? The answer is a simple "No." It's doing just fine without it.

For sure FIFA would like to see millions and millions of dollars pumped into the game, but if that doesn't happen, c'est la vie. They'll survive on euros, yen and any other currency of your choice. That's because soccer doesn't need America. It doesn't need positive coverage from the American media, who amazingly, still to this day, rely on the same crutches they did 20 years ago when covering football. For God's sake, we get it, the field is too big, there isn't enough scoring, make the goal bigger, more shootouts (shootouts?), why do they wear shorts, surprise surprise, it's ahem nil-nil at the half, another game decided by penalty kicks--that's like deciding a game with a home run derby (is it?). We get it: You don't get the game, so the easy way out is to slam it and of course, make fun of the foreigners who love it. That's another crutch these ass-clowns lean on, because you know, they don't speak English and take all our jobs, and oh yeah, build all your schools, churches, playgrounds and roads--and have done so for 100 years.

What's brought this rant about today? Last night's Celtic-Sporting match at Fenway Park. I should have known better than to try to read the coverage from the local media because I knew it would tick me off. Against my better judgment, I'm going to link to the coverage and send them some page views, but I caution you, click through at your own risk. Why? Because you're going to read A) Token stories about the jolly drunken Scottish dudes in Celtic jersies on Lansdowne Street singing tunes and rubbing their stomachs. And in those same stories, you're going to hear from the immigrant Portuguese family, all wearing Sporting jersies, talking about how their daddies and grandaddies loved Sporting from the moment of conception. B) The local columnist's rant about how the game didn't sell out despite the recent World Cup and soccer sweeping the nation--and oh yeah, a few potshots at diving, nil-nil and how they might have ruined the Fenway infield. Did you know the Orioles-Red Sox games this weekend are sold out?

I could have predicted this a day ago, and I wish I'd blogged it because I would have looked like a frikkin genius. I could have also predicted exactly what you wouldn't have read. Namely, any worthwhile insight on either team, both of which are weeks away from starting the domestic season and a week away from starting in Europe. You won't read about the hidden gem that is Georgios Samaras or what a future star Paul McGowan is for Celtic. You won't read about Sporting's promising new signings of Maniche and Pedro Mendes (yes, these ass clowns missed the obvious angle here the Mendes played for Rangers, y'know, Celtic's main rival. Whoops, you didnt' know).

The point is, that it's easy for the American media to take a steaming dump on soccer, because like everything else in life, it's easy to crap on stuff you don't understand. It's hard work sometimes researching stuff on the Internet and trying to produce interesting copy that would appeal maybe to a niche part of your audience, instead of just trotting out the same pablum you always do about soccer.

But the thing is, usually crap helps stuff grow. And eventually crap fades away--dies off, even, generationally--and what you're left with is something better than what you started out with.

Rant Over!

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Anonymous said...

agree 100 percent

Ajay said...

Not sure about coverage about football in the US. From what I have seen on ATH and PTI on ESPN, it seems that the view is that football and FIFA need USA. My view is that it doesn't as football has been football for as long it has been and USA is realising that it needs to be part of football.
Am grateful for the coverage of football on ESPN International here and hope that in the future it will match what is provided elsewhere.