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View Full Version : Some more BS from Frank Deford. Seems to think Americans are from mars.


A4
Aug 29th, 2002, 12:04 AM
Wonder if this article's been posted. I just couldn't make head or tail of it, except that its a load of crap. Can someone explain?


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/frank_deford/news/2002/08/28/viewpoint/




The male American Dream, athletic division, is now this: Every little boy hopes to grow up to become a good enough player to someday be celebrated with his own bobblehead doll.

Certainly, we know, too, that the best young male American athletes are not concentrating on tennis anymore. The U.S. Open, which is now the richest sports event in the world, opened this week with only four homegrown men among the 32 seeded players. It was not that long ago that half of all male tournament players were from the United States, but as tennis has become more and more international, American representation has dropped off precipitously.

The American presence in men's tennis is actually even more diminished than it seems, because two of the four seeded U.S. players are Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, both of whom are over 30 -- dotage, in a physically demanding sport where players rarely compete past their 20s. Poor Sampras seems to have aged overnight. Until very recently everybody kept asking whether he would ever win another tournament. Sadly, now, with every tournament he enters, it's problematic that he'll even win a match.

Agassi's decline has not been quite so dramatic, but he is clearly not the commanding force he was only a couple of years ago, and it seems only a short while before he bows out and joins his wife, Steffi Graf, in a contented life of parenthood and desert leisure.

This leaves U.S. men's tennis in the hands of the 25th-seeded James Blake and, most particularly, with Andy Roddick. The 11th-seeded Roddick will celebrate his 20th birthday this Friday, and, is, incredibly, the only serious American championship hope for the immediate future -- this from a country that has rarely failed to have at least one player at the top of the tree. Indeed, except for the 1960s, the United States has produced a great male tennis champion in every decade of the 20th century.

Moreover, starting before World War I with Maurice McLoughlin , who was known as the California Comet, almost all of the top Americans were, like Sampras, great servers. The Comet, Bill Tilden, Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, Tony Trabert, Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe all had offensive games where the serve was paramount, where attacking the net was the purpose. Only Jimmy Connors didn't fit that mold, and he was certainly aggressive enough after his own fashion. So, too, did the great Australians play serve-and-volley when they ruled tennis.

Now, though, as the Europeans have taken control of men's tennis, the game has begun to mimic their favorite team sport. Tennis has been soccer-ized. Tennis now is played almost entirely from the baseline, side-to-side rather than up and out. The slashing, advancing style always favored by the best Americans -- analogous to the home run, the fast break, the long pass -- has been superceded by the more patient, wearing Euro-soccer style. The large, kryptonite rackets allow players to hit harder than ever, but it's not a vigorous, exciting, advancing power. Tennis used to be cavalry. Sound the bugle! Now it's artillery. Mark the coordinates.

Curious as it may be for this nation of immigrants, we Americans have never cottoned to foreign athletes. Now that men's tennis is not only dominated by non-Americans, but also played in an un-American style, you have to wonder how long the U.S. Open -- and the game itself -- can sustain popularity here.

-Sonic-
Aug 29th, 2002, 12:10 AM
diddums.

Rocketta
Aug 29th, 2002, 12:19 AM
I understand it. FD knows that Americans are fickle and frankly "most" of us will only cheer our own. Notice I said most not all. He is questioning wether the popularity of men's tennis will be sustained in America without any American men ranked at the top. He thinks it won't. I know it won't. There is a reason Soccer is not that popular over here and that's partly because we don't win anything in soccer, we are also rans in soccer. Popularity didn't pick up until the Women won the World cup and then the Olympics.

That's the way it is over here. Oh well the USTA better get on the ball looking for new talent or interest in Men's tennis will plummet in the USA or has it already started?

A4
Aug 29th, 2002, 02:24 AM
Why not just state it without taking swipes at soccer and Europeans? I know he categorises soccer as "unamerican". Why not state his views without bringing socer into it? And what's this style of "American play" etc etc. Tennis is an individual sport and the styles pretty much based on an individual and not on a person's nationality.

cynicole
Aug 29th, 2002, 02:32 AM
Hey A4 - I'm posting to the board after all ;)

I agree - the soccer analogy sucks. And it sounds like he's pinning the boring baseline game on the Europeans - LMAO. Gee, what does he think the non-Sampras Americans are?

A4
Aug 29th, 2002, 03:07 AM
Why not just state it without taking swipes at soccer and Europeans? I know he categorises soccer as "unamerican". Why not state his views without bringing socer into it? And what's this style of "American play" etc etc. Tennis is an individual sport and the styles pretty much based on an individual and not on a person's nationality.

tennisvideos
Aug 29th, 2002, 03:52 AM
What Frank Deford says about the style of the game changing is SPOT ON. It is true, that these days it's mainly about players belting the cr@p out of baselines drives. The game of all court tennis involving attacking plays, volleys, lobs, drop shots, strategy etc has diminished markedly since the advent of powerful rackets and the shift from grass court to hard court play. How many Serve & Volley players are there on the tour today to provide some variety in styles? You could count them on one hand.

Also, he is not far off the mark when he infers that quite a number of Americans have lost interest in mens tennis with the fact that American men are not dominating at the moment. It would be the same for most countries. When there is an Aussie doing well in tennis, the public here certainly take more interest in affairs. I am talking about the general public btw, not die hard tennis fans, who will follow the sport regardless of whether their favourites (including countrymen & women) are doing well etc.

Personally, I think Frank is a great tennis journalist. We have had similar articles published in Australia by some of our tennis scribes who understand the history of the sport, and how dramatically the game has changed since the mid 70s.

Larrybid
Aug 29th, 2002, 04:46 AM
What.. more whining about how the "game has changed"? Yes the game has changed. Why? Because players want to WIN. Geez, if players were winning playing serve & volley tennis, you can bet there would be more serve & volley players. Does the equipment have a role in the style of play? Duh...of course. But the equipment effects golf, football baseball and just about everyother sport known to man. Why the whinning? Guess what...if you eleiminate just about all the grass court tounements on the tour...you eliminate the encentive for players to play a serve and volley style. Why should players be obligated to play a style unsuited to the playing surfaces the vast majority of tennis is played on? Since Defored is not suggesting that all these hard courts be ripped out and grass planeted in its place, this article seems to nothing more than a mindless whine.

Has the game changed? Yes...but so what? Option football teams can't compete for national titles anymore in college football. Nobody bunts in the American league anymore, due to the DH. Modern "kryptonite-shafted" golf clubs turn old traditional golf courses into Put-Put courses. So be it. Adapt or die. Complianing about change won't help.

irma
Aug 29th, 2002, 04:57 AM
I knew his hate towards my favourite player had only one ground.
lol to all people who saw worth in it :rolleyes:

Freefall
Aug 29th, 2002, 05:07 AM
FYI

2000 Olympic Women's Soccer Final:

NORWAY Def. USA 3-2

So HA!! :p :) :cool: :angel:


Congrats to USA for winning World Cup & Olympic Silver though :)

Volcana
Aug 29th, 2002, 05:18 AM
Look, you're missing the essential point. If men's tennis goes down in the USA, tennis coverage period goes out the window. And he's saying the absence of top American male players will have that result. America's the biggest TV market in the world. If US TV isn't covering tennis, the sport will be hurt worldwide. How long can the US support three Tier I tournaments and five Tier II tournaments with no TV? Well if the men have no TV, for damn sure the women won't have TV. What other country can take up the slack?

If tennis loses the US TV market it is well and truly fucked. And I don't think Andy Roddick is the answer.

The sport certainly HAS changed, and the equipment certainly IS why, but that isn't a reason to go back. High tech racketry has made everyone's passing shots lethal. Only guys who are cat-quick and nasty as hell venture up there with any regularity. Maybe 5% of the tour has the physical equipment to even try. DeFrod's war anology is correct. Tennis used to be about infantry. Now it's about artillery.

No need to change anything. Unless you're losing sponsors you can't replace. Or sponsors are asking for rebates. Do you think people who bought commercial time during the Wimbledon men's final were happy at the paltry numbers. (Well, compared to the Williams sisters, anyway.)

We had best to enjoy our selves, becasue how much tennis we see in the US in the next few years, pretty much rests on women's liberation and how many Slams Andy Roddick wins. Be afraid.

treufreund
Aug 29th, 2002, 05:21 AM
I found him quite insulting towards the Europeans. Typically chauvinistic stereotypes. :(

treufreund
Aug 29th, 2002, 05:23 AM
Also I guess EUROPEANS Edberg, Becker and Navratilova were "patient baseline players" What an idiot!

Alley
Aug 29th, 2002, 05:50 AM
I have to say that this article is completely insulting to Europeans and I say this as an American. Deford basically states the european way is inferior to the American way, how completely egocentric is that. If tennis sucks in the US it doesn't necessarily mean it is going to suck elsewhere, it goes in cycles. Being a child of the military I spent a lot of my youth in the 90's in Europe, specifically in Germany. There was so much tennis on TV in Germany back then it was great, it was really shocking when I came back to the US at the lack of tennis coverage in comparison. IT was equally shocking to me when I went back to Germany last year and saw an incredible decrease of tennis on tv now in comparison to the early- mid 90's, but I guess that reflects a lack of top players in that country. Frank needs to understand Tennis is a world wide game which isn't going to die just because us Americans or any other country start sucking at it.

kiwifan
Aug 29th, 2002, 06:21 AM
He doesn't say it's inferior, he says it's different and unappealing to American casual spectators.
I don't know why you're all getting so up in arms.
Serve and volley play is more fun to watch than baseline play in men's tennis.
The lack of S&V players leave the tour boring.
I think the soccer analogy is fair because, just like tennis, there is more than one way to play soccer.
I prefer to watch Brazil or Nigeria play against a European team, than to watch two European teams (excluding the Dutch, they usually play all out) because most of the time, it seems that if the stakes are high European teams are too cautious.
Watching two personality challenged baseliners on the men's side is like watching Italy v. England in soccer. You know they have talented players that can put on a great show (and often do with their pro teams) but when they are playing for the country they play to "get a result" not to entertain.
There's nothing wrong with anyone who is paying to watch a sport wanting entertainment as well as victory.
Not a lot of entertainment in the ATP and it isn't just anti-Euro, Sampras has been criticized his entire career for being boring even though he's American and winning.

Larrybid
Aug 29th, 2002, 06:37 AM
Volcana, you may think that was the point of his article but from what I read, the article made another point altogether, and rather clearly: that the game was dominated by "European style" baseliners that doesn't appeal to him - Deford - and is not suited to the way good old American boys like to play. I agree with Alley, this should be insulting to Europeans - as insulting as people complaining about power tennis in the womans game.

Winning tennis is always exciting. By the way, is he aware that Agassi (the baseliner) was always more popular than Sampras (the serve and volleyer)?

Interest in men's tennis in the U.S. will pick up when U.S. men learn to play winning tennis, by whatever style. And the american public won't care what style he plays as long as he wins. In the meantime, the ATP will survive just fine thank you....and there's always womens tennis for Americans.

irma
Aug 29th, 2002, 06:41 AM
yeah but andre is through too since he married the enemy!

A4
Aug 29th, 2002, 07:17 AM
Hey cynicole :wavey:

I should have known you couldn't resist the board. Glad to know I'm not the only one with an "unamerican" view here, apologies to FD. With regards to the Brazil Nigeria soccer analogy, I beg to differ. These are team sports and a collective effort from all. That's why comparing tennis to soccer seems like comparing apples to oranges. Sure national and regional influences could come into play with soccer, but with all due respect, I don't see an American style of play when Sampras or Agassi plays. Just two different styles.
Which begs the question, what does FD really want? He sees a problem of lack of credible American challenge in tennis and uses the opportunity to bash anything he see's as "unamerican" or he really tries to point out a problem in America and for Americans? In that case, why not ask Americans to solve the problem by culitavating wonderful players with the brand of American tennis, rather than asking Europeans and soccer to take the blame?

Volcana
Aug 29th, 2002, 09:51 AM
I liked the article. But not that I see other peoele's reactions, I realize it was failure. His point is about what he sees as an ineveablr decline inthe popularity of the game, and what that means inthe future. Most of you are hung up on the relatively trivial point of WHY it's popularity will decrease.

Why is unimportant. It doesn't matter if the popularity of men's tennis decreases because of style of play or because Andy Roddick was a little dick, the result is the same. Less tennis coverage in the biggest market in the world.

-Sonic-
Aug 29th, 2002, 10:04 AM
guess people should learn to broaden their horizons, get some brain cells and some taste.

and my country can't talk (but since when do i care what country a player is from) but also maybe instead, america should produce the number of players they feel they should be.

if its 'dominate the sport or shut it down', all i can say is pffffffff to u.

Beige
Aug 29th, 2002, 11:54 AM
Volcana is right. Those of you American ATP fans who enjoy the annual coverage of the Mercedes Benz Super Nine (or whatever it's called today) better enjoy it while you can because their days are numbered IF there's a continued decline of top American male tennis players. The sponsors will simply stop investing in Carlos Moya vs. Obscure Eastern European Journeyman-type finals. That's the reality. The ATP is in hot water and I wish them well.

Volcana
Aug 29th, 2002, 01:43 PM
I want to make something clear. I personally like th long rallies and heavy spins of modern baseline play. Do I wish there were more Pat Cash type players? Sure. But back when Vilas and Borg were exchanginf 80 shot rallies, people have been warning about what would happen to serve-and-volley. Europe will be fine. You won't lose tournaments or TV coverage, we in the States will. The TOURS will be hurt, because there will be fewer big money events. But European fans will be fine.

And some network like Oxygen or USA may still cover the semis and finals of the WTA becuase there are so many high ranking Americans. But American fans of Hewitt and Safin and Moya and Guga will be out of luck.

cynicole
Aug 29th, 2002, 02:05 PM
DeFord's stuff
Curious as it may be for this nation of immigrants, we Americans have never cottoned to foreign athletes. Now that men's tennis is not only dominated by non-Americans, but also played in an un-American style, you have to wonder how long the U.S. Open -- and the game itself -- can sustain popularity here.

Originally posted by Beige
The sponsors will simply stop investing in Carlos Moya vs. Obscure Eastern European Journeyman-type finals. That's the reality.

Yeah, the sponsors. And the exceedingly pro-USA broadcasting of sports. Those Eastern European players are obscure because the media never mentions them in the same way they constantly bombard us with Andy Roddick.

Maybe in DeFord's first line that I quoted there, he should've changed it to "Curious as it may be for this nation of immigrants, our American sponsors (WASPs) have never cottoned to foreign athletes."

I remember World Cup '94 when the US team was a joke that only got past the first round because of a Colombian defender's fatal (in the most tragic sense) mistake. Maybe it's just because I live in the Boston area but there were lots of people here who latched onto Ireland and Italia. When I got back to school, everyone was talking about Italy and Baggio and co.

Also, in that infamous sport called figure skating, fans often give a damn about foreign competitors too. Some even prefer them. We had Katarina Witt Coca-Cola commercials. (Okay, so part of that was because she was pretty. So what?!)

Volcana
Aug 29th, 2002, 03:34 PM
The real horror is, the situation's just not fixable. There are so many different professional sports in the USA draining off athletes. Our best athlete's don't become tennis players. Half the players in major leagure baseline would make fine tennis players. (the skinny half.) The NBA drains off a few. Think if a guy with the body control of Tony Hawk had instead been a professional tennis player. I don't think style of play is the issue. The problem is Americans have historically not paid attention to tennis unless an American man is at or near the top. Maybe the Williams sisters will hold people's attention but Americans don't by and large take women's athletics seriously. We're gonna find out.

But I think when Agassi fades out, we're for it. Sponsors simply aren't going to pay. Advertisers won't by commercial time. TV coverage is driven by money. The last two US Open men's finals were American TV Godsends. High ranked American vs Up-and-Coming Star. Everyone knew Pete and Andre were nearing the end of the line. This was a chance to showcase new stars. This year, the odds of an American man being in the finals is .... 'remote' is too strong. But if whoever it is isn't entertaining on their style and level of pay alone, the ratings in the USA, especially for the seond hour, are going to tank. IN a bad economy, that alone is enough for advertisers to seek more value for their dollar.

veryborednow
Aug 29th, 2002, 03:38 PM
Tennis has been soccer-ized. Tennis now is played almost entirely from the baseline, side-to-side rather than up and out
He obviously hasn't watched Chelsea play ;)

...and aren't a lot of the players just not from USA as opposed to being European?

Rocketta
Aug 29th, 2002, 04:02 PM
Wow, I think you'll are too hard on FD. He stated an opinion that you'll don't like but I don't think he was putting down Europeans.

I find it funny because a lot of Europeans on this tennis board talk about Americans a lot. That is their opinion and that's fine but god forbid someone says anything that is deemed negative about a European and they are up in arms.

Having said that, I don't think FD was trying to be negative about Europeans at all but more so about Americans. He was telling the hard truth. That we are fickle and if we don't have any Americans to root for the popularity over here will wane. That's the truth. I would guess FD is in his late 60's. Maybe when he was young and watching tennis most of the Americans played one style and the Europeans played another. Maybe that is not the way it is today but that doesn't mean back in the day it wasn't that way.

Everybody griping about what he said about "European" style of play but nobody wants to discuss the ramifications of the important part of the article. That if popularity decreases so will coverage and number of tournaments in the US. Which will effect all you Americans that love "European" players because you won't get to see them that often.

I really don't get why everyone is so huffy over the article I really really don't.

Larrybid
Aug 29th, 2002, 06:52 PM
I think the problem is some of you seem to be writing a differnent article than the one Deford actually wrote. If the point of his article was that the ATP is suffering from the lack of successful American men, he could have said that, and added a few facts to support him (ie. evidence of lost sponsers, waning attendence at ATP events in the states, lack of a TV contract for the Master Series events, etc, stc.) Frankly, I don't think the FACTS suppose his thesis. The facts are the ATP still gets better treated by the TV networks in the States than the WTA.

instead what Deford offered instead of facts was his personal belief that tennis has been "soccerized" buy the Europeans who supposedly dominate and is therefore unappealing to American male players. Sorry, but that is a diss. But even a Diss would be OK with me if it were accurate. There is no eveidence that the American fans don't like baseline tennis, otherwise Aggassi, the King of the modern baseliners, wouldn't have been so big. Its not style of play that matters..its success and personal style that makes the turnstyles spin. Therefore the whole thesis of his article is wrong. And he has no facts to support the point some of you think he was making.

BrianII
Aug 29th, 2002, 07:47 PM
Larrybid , I think yoour entirely correct here, specially when one remembers that 3 of the former " big 4", Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Chang were baseliners ...americans just loved the fact that they won ...weren't particular how they won

A4
Aug 29th, 2002, 08:59 PM
Okay, some guys don't seem to understand that Mr Deford isn't really as concerned about tennis as he is about the opportunity to bash his favorite "hate" topic. Otherwise why bring in soccer at all into something as simple as looking for ways to make more Americans play the sport etc etc. Got this article a while back. May help explain where Mr. Deford comes from.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/2001/07/04/deford/



Not our cup of tea

Soccer will never thrive here, the author opines, because it's simply un-American
Click here for more on this story
Posted: Wednesday July 04, 2001 1:29 PM
Updated: Saturday July 07, 2001 11:20 AM



By Frank Deford



It has long been a subject of fascination that the United States, virtually alone in the world, has rejected soccer. Andrei S. Markovits and Steven L. Hellerman, who have written a book called Offside: Soccer & American Exceptionalism (Princeton University Press), compare this phenomenon with another, more significant "American exceptionalism" -- the fact that the U.S. has never embraced socialism. Messrs. Markovits and Hellerman even provide, on two pages, a cogent catalog of reasons why socialism hasn't found acceptance here. Unfortunately, in the next couple hundred pages, they don't explain nearly as well why we don't give a hoot about soccer.

Oh, Markovits and Hellerman do a fine job of laying out how soccer missed the boat when baseball and football were establishing their hegemony here. Soccer did not get itself into schools and colleges. The sport's American organization, such as it was, proved to be inept. Soccer was stigmatized as a foreign game. Once it failed to find room in the U.S. "sport space" (schedules, newspaper coverage, etc.), its also-ran fate was sealed.

The difficulties soccer faced here in its early years, however, don't begin to explain its current plight. Baseball, after all, has never been run by a Pericles, yet it prospered from the start. Basketball was largely played by immigrants but outgrew this stigma. Ice hockey didn't really exist here till half a century after soccer had arrived, yet hockey became the half in what the authors refer to, very nicely, as the "Big Three and One-Half" of American team sports. So we must come back to the seminal possibility the authors avoid: Soccer simply may be antithetical to the U.S. temperament and sensibility. It is not for us to feel guilty that we are out of step. Rather, it is for us to feel sorry for the rest of the world that it is not lucky enough to have games as good as the ones we have.

After all, the authors ignore perhaps our greatest distinction. We don't import culture. The only two major foreign items America has accepted recently are water in bottles and the Wonder Bra, and these both relate to modern life's essentials -- water and cleavage being as vital to our society as food and shelter. No, what we Americans do is we pass along our stuff to other, impressionable peoples: movies, music, Coca-Cola, the English language, basketball, bacon double cheeseburgers and what have you.

For goodness' sake, though, soccer has had even more chances here than Hillary gave Bill. We are, to start with, chock-full of immigrants who grew up in countries in which the game is adored. Huge sums have been invested in a succession of professional leagues that have received inordinate amounts of Pollyanna publicity. Pele was brought here to troop the futbol colors. The authors detail, at length, how many American children now play soccer. (Yes, soccer is terrific exercise, almost as good as tai chi -- and nobody wants to pay to see that, either.)

See, there's the rub. If soccer had never had an opportunity here, one could argue that its time must surely come. But soccer has been jammed down our throats -- and found wanting. The leagues fray, the TV ratings barely gurgle, and soccer kids can't wait for soccer moms to pick them up at practice so they can go home and watch true-blue 'Mercan games. (Participation never equates to spectator popularity, anyway. Twice as many high school kids are on track and cross-country teams as play soccer, and the last time I looked, Yankee Stadium wasn't packed for a track meet.)

Desperately, soccer smug-nuts always fall back on accusing us American yahoos of failing to appreciate the grace and nuance of their superior game. First of all, any sport in which you hit a hard ball with your head is, ipso facto, neither graceful nor nuanced. Even ignoring that ugly idiosyncrasy, any run-of-the-mill 6-4-3 double play is more graceful than the most precious soccer maneuver. And nuance? For pete's sake, every sport has nuance. Hello. That's why Tim McCarver, John Madden and Mary Carillo have jobs. Nuance doesn't make people care. About 99.44% of NFL fans don't have the foggiest what nuances the nickel defense possesses. So what? It's third and three on the 36. Turn up the volume and crack another brewski.

The authors also make a big deal out of how many Americans saw the World Cup when it was foisted on the United States in 1994. That argument is specious too. The World Cup has no more to do with ordinary soccer than the Kentucky Derby has to do with Wednesday at Suffolk Downs when 4,500 grizzled septuagenarians drag in off the streets to box exactas. Markovits and Hellerman also salivate over the Women's World Cup of 1999, when the U.S. beat China, 0--0, at the Rose Bowl. The 90,000 attendance is stressed. What is not dealt with is the score, of which there was none -- excuse me: nil -- till we got to the pinball finale.

Why do you think the only image we have of that game is of Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt? Because there was nothing in the game to remember. Sports authors, beware: Don't read too much into one-shot anomalies. The 1980 victory of the U.S. hockey darlings over the big, bad Commie bullies is, surely, the most lionized American game ever. It did nothing whatsoever for hockey (though it did make Mike Eruzione the Brandi Chastain of 1980).

So soccer has been around these colonial precincts for something like 125 years. It has had its game of the century. It has borrowed the player of the century. It has been spoon-fed the globe's biggest tournament. It has had league after league, outdoor and in, bankrolled by well-heeled angels. It is blessed with legions of ready-made fans who immigrate here and millions of suburban children who are indoctrinated from kindergarten on. Still, it never catches on.

At a certain point, Markovits and Hellerman, you have to accept the obvious. It ain't our cup of tea. Nothing wrong with that. There's no accounting for taste. The same British sophisticates who call me a parochial rube for not appreciating soccer prefer watching snooker to basketball. Fine. But here's the nasty down-home American reality: Far from being graceful, soccer appears, in fact, awkward. You can't sweetly control a ball using feet and head any more than you can drive a car fast with your nose and knees. We value efficiency in the United States. Soccer is inefficient.

Remarkably, Markovits and Hellerman don't offer an in-depth analysis of how other American sports overcame integral problems of tedium. Football added the forward pass. Baseball souped up the old horsehide. Basketball introduced a shot clock. Soccer says bugger off, barbarians, and learn grace and nuance. We prefer offense in the United States. Soccer is defensive.

It is not only that soccer lacks scoring, either. It also has no small victories, no cumulative successes. Baseball teams build rallies. Football teams drive down the field, even if they have to settle for a field goal. Soccer is the coitus interruptus of sport. Watching TV, I'm astounded how announcers ooh and ahh over some failed play: "What a magnificent run!" Only the player did not succeed. In the end, the ball was taken from him and he stumbled back the other way. Nonetheless, analysts keep praising pretty disappointment, raving about the glory of almost. We expect satisfaction in the United States. Soccer celebrates frustration.

Soccer developed outside the U.S., and unlike most everything else in the world, it lacks our influence. In countries that care about soccer, the point is always made, ad nauseum, that soccer is not a game; it is a way of life. I'm sure that's true. That's the point that eludes Markovits and Hellerman. Ultimately, the reason that we don't care about soccer is that it is un-American. It's somebody else's way of life. So most American kids abandon interest in the game when they realize it's not consistent with what they are finding out about Americanism. The same with immigrants and their children -- as soon as they discover more appealing games that reflect American spirit, American values. It's really very simple why most of us nonsocialistic Americans will forever reject soccer.

We are not amused.

Rocketta
Aug 29th, 2002, 11:07 PM
Wow, that article was hilarious!! I agree with him. I too am tired of hearing how we Americans are bad for not liking soccer. I like a lot of different sports but soccer is just not my cup of tea along with Nascar. Its like a 5 set men's match. Just call me for the fifth set or the last 10 minutes of a soccer match or the last lap of a car race. This was the funniest to me though......


Why do you think the only image we have of that game is of Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt? Because there was nothing in the game to remember. Sports authors, beware: Don't read too much into one-shot anomalies. The 1980 victory of the U.S. hockey darlings over the big, bad Commie bullies is, surely, the most lionized American game ever. It did nothing whatsoever for hockey (though it did make Mike Eruzione the Brandi Chastain of 1980).


and also this article really is out of context because we have no idea what was said in the book that FD is refuting unless someone has read it and would like to write a summary for us. ;)

Rocketta
Aug 29th, 2002, 11:37 PM
I was also going to say that I don't think most of the agreement with FD comes from his assessment that all baseline players are European or that an american style is serve and volley but that if there are no top American players interest will wane here in the USA.

I actually agree a lot more with the second article than I do with the first but I do think that Americans are very fickle. We do not support things if we do not see Americans participating. I'm not saying thats good or bad but it just is.

cynicole
Aug 30th, 2002, 03:42 AM
Nonetheless, analysts keep praising pretty disappointment, raving about the glory of almost. We expect satisfaction in the United States. Soccer celebrates frustration.

He's obviously not a Boston Red Sox fan. :angel:

Does he not realize that baseball is a game where the defense controls the ball. And about hands and feet controlling a ball - how about whacking a ball with a slim stick? And I thought part of the charm of the Pittsburgh Steelers was their emphasis on defense.

Part of the reason why football was able to grow the way it did was because it was perfect for television. I wish I remember where I read/heard it but there was an article or documentary about the development of football for television. There were TV execs who were trying to find a sport they can easily show on television and, in the end, they choose football. Nice long shots of the action plus time to have close-ups on the players.

It's also managed magnificently now, especially compared to that screwed-up MLB.

And speaking of the MLB, even though that sport was so popular in the early days before there were the teams we have now, it really picked up when they had a strong commissioner. And there's a rumor that he rigged the league so that the best players ended up in the biggest growing "market" - NYC.

Or maybe that's just a Red Sox conspiracy theory.

People don't want to watch MLS because it's not the best players in the world. The players are comparatively slow compared to the European clubs. They seem to have no sort of strategy whatsoever.

And it's not ideal for TV because it doesn't have nice breaks where you could have a long close-up on a player. And the field is too big to not have to compromise showing a close-up or the action being set up.

Part of hockey's failure was that it failed to capitalize on whatever superstars they had (Gretzky, for example). And, strangely enough, there was an argument brought up during the Olympics about the NHL possibly playing the more "European" version of the game. I think the rinks are slightly larger and there are more penalties to keep the game "clean" or whatever.

NBA did so well because they had some good ol' rivalries...and then later they had a charismatic star Michael Jordan (who is pretty much an anomaly in a sense from a marketing standpoint.)

Okay, I just rambled there. (I hope *someone* gets it.) :o