Our Kind of Football
I watched the FIFA World Cup with the rest of the Americans who were skeptical, and maybe a little curious, about soccer. I got into the whole tournament concept, the competition, and even the athleticism of the players and the referees as well. In my humble opinion, fans are fans in any sport with a few subtle traditional differences in the revelry. We have a favorite team in a game and we root them on, (at least they got rid of those obnoxious large plastic horn noise makers).
As one who really didn’t grow up with soccer, much of it is rather new to me as a serious spectator. I have to admit I enjoyed myself, overall. There were some frustrations with the low scoring and the backwards time keeping and the “extra time” feature etc. By the time I started to grasp the rules in a general way, the tournament had ended. What I did notice was the words and phrases the commentators use in describing the play by play and the analysis of what just happened. In that comparison I realized that we -- us Americans -- are very different. Not only how we see the game, but also in how we as a culture think. Perhaps it’s our history, our life experience , our ancestors, or our American experience. It’s a combination of all those things best illustrated by our game of football!
When the Germans beat the Brazilians 7-1 the booth commentator, the color guy, said, “Brazil should be embarrassed”. Really? If the Seahawks beat the Rams in a playoff game 49-7 we would describe that as the Seahawks “slaughtered ‘em” or “killed ‘em” to name a few. They crushed the Rams with the Seahawks version of smashmouth football. Even in hockey at the end of overtime the rules call for a shootout. In soccer they call it “penalty kicks” even though there was no penalty committed, but it avoids having to say “shoot” out.
Our football has relatively simple objectives. Attack them, stick it to them, knock them down, knock them out, but above all make it hurt. We invade their backfield. Destroy the blocking scheme so you can bring them to their knees, only to ultimately crush them. Our defense is a wrecking machine. Blitz the quarterback and sack him. On offense we’ll block them and trap them. We’ll hammer them with the run to set up the air attach. We’ll burn their rookie corner with the bomb. Our QB, has a real cannon. Our QB fires the ball like a rocket all over the field. This is going to be a real barn burner. Fourth quarter now, our defense has smothered them all day. We’ll go with the pass to torture that rookie corner who’s a sniper. Our rapid fire air strike leaves one more play. 0:03 left on the clock. We go with the Hail Mary….. caught it! Spiked it! There’ll be no sudden death today.
I can’t wait for the aggression. All hail American football!