What Then Of The Metric System?
Did you feel the earth move?
Can you tell that the sky's a different color?
It's all because of David Beckham.
One of the globe's best soccer plays arrived in the U-S this week to ply his trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy--and I dare you to name another team they'll play or the league they're in (MLS).
Chances are, though, that you know his wife, Posh. And, if you don't, you will. Trust me, you will.
The issue today, though, is soccer.
My kids played it, I coached it, I even try watching English Premiership games on cable. I don't mind it. I really don't. I AM bothered by soccer fans who immediately bitch the moment we say the word "soccer" on the air--assuming that by mentioning the sport, we're rippiing it. And, even if it's being given some gentle jabs, why must soccer fans get so bloody offended (Bloody. See? I really DO watch Premiership games)? Lighten up.
After all, we in the States have been told for ions about how soccer is about to take over...that it'll be the next big thing. I remember hearing it during my elementary school soccer unit (one week of trying to learn how to kick a ball with the side of my foot, when every natural instinct told me to do it with my toe like Don Chandler/Lou Groza/Lou Michaels did). Then came Pele and the New York Cosmos and yes, for a minute there, I thought the experts were right. Pele left, the Cosmos faded, and so did pro soccer.
My kids provided me with my next brush with the game--EVERYONE plays in grade school, and I got roped into helping coach even though I still don't know a corner kick from a side-out. We never did the club scene, though, their playing days ended and I hung up the whistle.
Now comes Beckham, whose arrival earns him the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. Again, the talk begins: soccer is about to become the next big thing.
I don't think the NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball need to worry. For now.
Pro hoop, football and baseball will still rule the airwaves and land the big network contacts but soccer will grow as the U-S becomes more and more a majority/minority country, as more people come here from countries where soccer is ALL THAT. More and more Americans are here from lands where football is futbol, and, as cable and satellite pump more and more games into the U-S, expect the game to become part of the landscape. S-I says the L-A Galaxy's fan base is about 50 per cent Hispanic. It'll only grow broader with Beckham on board. The World Cup will, little by little, become a larger and larger part of the American fabric, instead of a back-page sport placed next to the WNBA standings in the local paper.
In the meantime, I ask soccer fans to lighten up: any pub is good pub, so enjoy it when someone mentions your sport. Even a jab or two means you're getting airtime that could be going to someone else's passion and...who knows? Someone listening might just give your sport a taste.
It could be worse.
You could be like me.
You might follow the NHL.
There's a sport that'll NEVER become the next big thing--unless, of course, we're conquered by Canada.