World Cup

Any of you watch it? No? Why not? Oh, yeah. We’re Americans. I like to make fun of soccer (my wife thinks I do it rather too often) and soccer players, though one has to be much more careful with that nowadays because one is always running into people whose kids play soccer or played themselves when they were in high school or college. Lately, however, a particular piece of criticism has come to my attention that is worthy of serious note and is yet a very damning indictment of the quality of the game as it is played, especially at the championship level. It is the fact that when a soccer game ends with a tied score, instead of playing sudden death overtimes (football), or even continuous overtimes until someone is ahead at the end of one of them (basketball and baseball), soccer goes to penalty kicks. In other words, the game changes completely and is hinged entirely on something entirely different. It would be like deciding a basketball game with a free-throw competition, or a football game with a punt-pass-kick contest, or using a home-run derby to decide a baseball game. Soccer, faugh!

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