I don’t like basketball, and I don’t like baseball, and I don’t like ice hockey. Basketball is basically; you score, I score, you score, I score, you miss, I score, I score, you score, I win. Baseball is fun when you’re at the ball park because you can sit down with a beer and a pit beef sandwich and ignore what’s going on , on the field, but when it’s on TV I’d rather be watching extreme ironing. And you can’t even see the bloody puck in ice hockey so what’s the point unless there are 7 fights a game?
Football on the other hand, I love, I live for, but as it’s only on for between 17-21 weeks a year there are times when I need something else to give me my sporting kicks. For the most part soccer fills this void. From August to September when the NFL starts, I’m watching Arsenal… then from September to the start of February (with any luck) I’ll be watching football, and then the rest of my year up to May is more Arsenal. Then it’s either a World Cup or European Championship or holiday and suddenly my year starts all over again.
Recently however I’ve fallen a little out of love with soccer, and more in love with football. The trouble is that the game in England has become too predictable. The same teams are winning, there is too much money and the players are for the most part, ungrateful shits who fall over crying when they get hit by a strong breeze. Compare that with football, where wages are controlled, most players are college educated and the NFL has a parity system which gives crap teams the chance to get better, and it just makes it a much more enjoyable sport to watch, for me at least.
The thing is that I’ve found myself becoming a sore loser with soccer. Arsenal lose or play badly and I am not only disappointed, but I’m also left to complain about how much money we waste on our players, how expensive tickets to games are (on average I’ve spent around $85 on a ticket, and if you want a pie, pint and a programme that’ll be another $15, and travel is another $7-10) and how unfair it can be when teams like Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City can be hundreds of millions of pounds in debt and yet still operate. Basically soccer has made me a whiny bitch, and I don’t like it.
Football on the other hand, due to its parity, is something I can’t get whiny about in the same way. Yeah, I hate it when the Vikes lose, there are bad calls, bad plays and a whole manner of other shit to moan about, but it just doesn’t make me whine in the same way. The Cowboys may be loaded, but all they can waste their cash on is a stadium and oversized helmets for ol’ Jug Ears. There’s just a whole lot less resentment at the whole thing.
But, every once in a while there comes a moment when I’m reminded why I loved soccer in the first place. That moment came last night in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against Barcelona in the Champions League Quarter Final first-leg. For American readers who just switched off after hearing the word draw, let me draw you back in, last night’s game was probably the most entertaining draw in the last 10 years of soccer. Barcelona were undeniably the better side for a good 60 minutes, playing some of the best soccer I’ve ever seen. At 2-0 up they were looking like champions, and we were looking down and out. Then, suddenly it was 2-1 and with 5 minutes remaining we suddenly had a penalty and it was 2-2. For a match report that really gives the game justice goto Arseblog (incidentally, it’s probably the best sports blog site on the planet), but I just had to express my utter joy from last night. I needed this. 2 months with nothing but Brett Favre rumors and Bryant McKinnie being a damn fool had left me feeling like a zombie in need of a stale body to feast on, but last night I got served up with the tastiest, freshest, cadaver ever to grace the lips of an undead! Hopefully this will see me through to the world cup now, and from there it’ll soon be the poinless offseaon.
Which incidentally was announced yesterday and we’re going to be lining up against at the Rams (LOL), at the 49ers (it’s Greg Lewis!), and then at home to the Seahawks and finally the Broncos. I’m not a fan of preseason, I’d rather we had only 2 games and then added another 2 real games onto the regular season, but it is the way it is so we’ll just have to enjoy them for what they are. The Rams game is going to be pointless, let’s be honest. The 49ers might be a little bit tasty, but as the Gab points out, they might be after revenge for last season, but a preseason win won’t satisfy their needs. The Seahawks are an interesting bunch, I can never quite make my mind up whether they’re shit or mildly shit, either way though I neither like or dislike them as a team, they are pretty much the purgatory of the NFL. And finally there’s the Broncos, who I will be seeing play against the 49ers at Wembley Stadium in October (the week after my wedding), so I guess the only interest I’ll have is which team I’m going to support when I see them over in Blighty. Still at least it’s football, and should provide a good mix of whipping boys and some gritty teams to get us ready for 2010.
Okay I think I’m done, sorry about the soccer heavy post today, I know this is a football blog, but every once in a while some of my other passions are going to make their way in here, and after last night when I went from glumly nursing many a point of Fosters whilst watching my team get dismantled only to be pounding my fists on the pub table in joy by the end of it all, well, you can hardly blame me.
I’ll leave you with an interesting draft idea/rumour being entertained by PJD. Skol Vikings! Come on the Arsenal!