Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bend It Like (Yogi) Berra

Nice analysis of soccer and it's lack of popularity in the US (hat tip to my friend Scott)...

Allen R. Sanderson, Bend It Like (Yogi) Berra: Library of Economics and Liberty: "Throughout the entire 2+ hour ordeal, I kept asking myself: Why would anyone waste good time or money watching this sport? Ignoring for a moment the lack of scoring, the ubiquitous flops that would make an NBA player jealous or incredulous, and 'unnatural acts' such as not being able to touch the ball with your hands or arms, I began to apply basic economic principles to the sport, and tried to understand why 6 billion people, including my graduate teaching assistants from Milan, Rio and Barcelona, seem to care passionately and a few hundred million, mainly in the United States, don't. "


At 3:10 AM, Blogger said...

Looks like a rational assessment on the surface, but, as usual, is really just a parochial justification for liking what you're familiar with, and xenophobically deriding other cultures sports!

A couple of points - if it was the lack of scoring (eg. 0-0 draw in 2 hours of play) that makes soccer less popular than, say, US "football", then by that theory cricket should be a runaway success in the US - eg. scores of 411+312 vs. 380+200 in a 5-day test match should keep US viewers glued to their seats in front of the TV! ;)

He also rambles on about only soccer and boxing having the head "in play" and unprotected - despite having discussed swimming in the previous paragraph! Diving head-first (either high board, or just starting a 100-m freestyle event) is an integral part of swimming. D'Oh!

All in all, Sanderson just doesn't "get" soccer. But I think it's just another example of being more comfortable with the familiar. If he worked in Europe from a year (and couldn't get US sports on cable) he'd probably come back a soccer fan.

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

I agree with your comment. If someone has either not played soccer or grown up in a soccer crazed nation, every nation except the U.S., then I understand how watching futbol could be difficult. Enjoying the game of soccer is not just relishing the goals but the ball control, passing and overall skill of the players. Football is not just the touchdowns but the completions, first downs, runs and other happenings between touchdowns.


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