Sunday, June 4

Soccer Is?

The Outrageous

The Age writer and Melbourne poet and critic Chris Wallace-Crabbe has written a really Australian-friendly and politically correct article on the
beauty of soccer.

What still riles me, and amuses me somewhat, is in the lead up to the World Cup, which is less than a week away at the time of writing, molly-coddled Australians still need to be told and explained what soccer is.

Trying to describe the beauty of soccer to Australians is like shoving a square peg into a round hole.

I've been lapping up articles and stories in the last six months on soccer in Australia. The landscape of Australia soccer changed forever when John Aloisi scored the winning penalty in Sydney against Uruguay last year. I remember that night as clear as crystal. I was cheering and screaming so hard for Australia. My neighbours, stuck in the anachronism that is footy, must have thought their Asian neighbour must have had one too many bowl of rice.

As a passionate soccer fan, i watch and follow any soccer that deserves watching. I was in my late teens when i watched Australia getting dumped out of the World Cup play-offs by Iran in 1997. The pain and the manner of the defeat was hard to swallow, especially when the Australian team - or any team for the matter - was leading 2-0.

Perhaps it's the pain of not qualifying, and the omnipresence of the silly national game Australians call 'football', or footy, that has numbed the soccer senses of Australians.

What's even funnier, is the writer's audacity to mock American football. And this is coming from an Australian. I don't know which is funnier, the dim-witted Australian, or comparing American football to Australian football.

Here're some excerpts from the article that had me chuckling from where i sat.

"This game is actually football, dominated by feet kicking a ball accurately. Thus it is more precisely named than any other such sport, even though there is some beautifully weighted passing or brilliant shooting for goals in the AFL."

Precise passes? Of course, it's only possible when you do it with HAND or the goal's 6 stories high and 50-feet wide. Or whatever the dimensions are.

"To start at the top of the range, Manchester United shops make a fortune, for example, even in Singapore."

It's Singapore, 'nuff said. It's a massive bandwagon there. Nobody has a clue about soccer there. They'll barrack for the team their pet rock is following.

"What is also evident is that parents like soccer for their boys and girls, especially mothers. It is felt to be a sport in which little kids are not going to get themselves injured, touch wood."

Here's a list of injuries i've sustained since i've started kicking a soccer ball:
- an internal bleeding on my right ankle, which needed operating on and left me on crutches for 2 months
- countless number of ankle sprains and abrasions
- popped right kneecap
- lost vision
- chipped tooth

Not so injury-free now huh.

"More annoying, to fans of high-scoring games such as basketball or one-day cricket, is the lack of goals. Plenty of Australian viewers, casual viewers, scoff at the low scores, those dogged 1-0 wins, and the like."

You are stupid and shallow. The rest of the world isn't.

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