Thursday, March 1, 2007

Non-soccer view

As a soccer reporter/junkie, I often tend to look at games through that view. I don't often consider the perspectives of people who know nothing about the sport or are new to the game. For instance, last night was a good night of soccer, but I expected it to be as much. I have been to many Mexico games both as a reporter and as a fan and have long been accustomed to what happens on the field and in the stands.

So it's interesting to read the perspective of someone too typically immersed in football/baseball/basketball/golf/etc. to pay attention to soccer. The San Diego Union-Tribune provided excellent coverage of the game and one of their columnists, Tim Sullivan, went to the game to soak in the atmosphere, the fans and whatever else he could find.

From what I gather, this is the first time a columnist has gone out to write on a game like he did last night. Never before has that happened which really is a shame. I found it interesting some of the things he focused on that I really don't pay any attention to. For instance, the horns. They're so much a part of the game I don't even realize that they're playing. It's like living near train tracks; pretty soon, you don't even realize that some locomotive carrying cargo cross-country is blaring at cars to stay away from the tracks lest they want to end up a crumpled heap of metal.

He did feel the energy of the crowd and compared Chargers crowds to "60 minutes of chamber music" and Padres games as "poetry readings." Great stuff. I imagine it must have been like 'Hey, how come this energy isn't present at other games I cover?'

Unfortunately, he pretty much made it clear that he wasn't into it and went on to give suggestions on how to make the sport more attractive to Americans, as if the world has to cater to Americans even on a sporting level.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how old the columnist was. It really seems to me that there is a sort of a break point in soccer fandom in this country around the late thirties. Americans younger than 35-40 seem to accept soccer for the world game that it is and, even if they're not fans, respect it. Older Americans seem to have some built-in problem with the way the game's played and think it has to be changed to be appealing, ignoring the fact that it's appealing to so many already.

Good news is that the break point is moving up as people are getting older, and the percentage of Americans that don't "get" soccer is decreasing.

RobertTheBruce said...

Look at the guy's byline pic at the top of the story that's linked. Waaay over 35-40. Either that or he's lived a very hard life... which wouldn't be surprising for someone covering the Chargers.

Great point about the 35-40 thing, although I count myself as an exception to that rule!