This morning I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column deliberately provocative and dripping with sarcasm that essentially poked fun at Americans who don’t watch the World Cup.
(And that is most folks out there; sadly only 18 percent of Americans say they will watch the tournament, according to one survey I saw today).
I wanted to point out that all those Americans who don’t watch because soccer isn’t an American game or don’t watch because the U.S. likely won’t win the World Cup are missing a lot.
Those parochial folks are missing an event of enduring multiethnic, multinational and multicultural appeal. And I tried to go to pains to point out that upsets do occur and that can happen in the favor of the lightly-regarded U.S. no matter what the so-called experts (including this one) say.
I figured I might get a few angry e-mails from fans of pointyball-football or soccer-haters, which was, after all, my intent in part. If I have to goad people into watching the beautiful game, so be it.
Instead I got a half dozen e-mails from futbol fans who completely missed the point.
Some (unedited) excerpts:
*Good afternoon ignorant, I felt very sad reading your article about futbol, it’s not soccer. This sport is know worldwide and play by almost everyone except those fatty people who play, football and baseball, every time that I go to parks I see those fatty people trying to kick a ball with a bat meanwhile other players standing, that is boring and sad. I hope that some day American people discover how wonderful is futbol no soccer. – Diego (I’ve removed the last names).
*I just would like to say I read your article today in the daily bulletin title “it’s ok to think the worst for U.S.” and your article was by far the worst piece in today’s paper. It is obvious that you have no understanding of the game of soccer as well as no respect for the people who represent our nation or anyone who plays the sport. You are an ignorant columnist who has no understanding of the most popular sport in the world and one that is growing rapidly in the united states. – Oliver
*The whole time I was reading the article I was hoping that all the negativity against the World Cup was going to turn around towards the end of the article. But obviously, it never did. I am not a huge fan of soccer but I can appreciate the prepartion and training an athlete goes through in order to prepare for a large event like this. Some people strive their whole lives to reach that mark of just playing in a World Cup match regardless if they win or not. You proceeded to defocate all over that dream. – Chris
*I’m only 17 but and I don’t know much about writing of articles, but I do know enough that the article you wrote is shit. That is the worst article I have ever read. You obviously don’t know much about the underestimated talent of the us soccer team. We are very capable of upsets but I agree we may no win. But its pieces of shit that you why soccer doesn’t catch on in america. The team deserves support even if there not the best. So ill be there along with other thousands of americans to rub it in your face when england chokes and us pulls an upset like the 2-0 victory against 1 spain last summer. – Nikki
*I hope you enjoy living in your cave of ignorance, filled your amazing sports and athletes. There’s not many who can compare to a Manny Ramirez or C.C. Sabbathia, I mean, talk about top notch athletes. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you have to hate it. Soccer has the biggest following of any sport, in the world. Have baseball or basketball games ever stopped a war? We don’t need people like you watching the world cup anyway. You can stay in your corner and face the wall and watch your silly idea of what sports are. The other 90% of the world is going to watch the biggest sporting event of the world. – Warren
I e-mailed every respondent urging them to re-read the article and go in search of their sense of humor. Most got the point on the second reading.
But dammit not a single non-soccer fan responded. They just ignored the article, turned the page and awaited tonight’s Lakers game.
Better, um, defocate (as a reader put it above) better than that, I guess.
Good to see at least one reader understood the point of the column.
And he’s Brazilian – where they love the game more than any nation on earth:
My name is Luciano.
I am a 33 year-old Brazilian.
I am writing to let you know that I got tears in my eyes after reding your article: http://www.dailynews.com/ci_15248759
I feel lucky that I found your aticle on the web.
Thanks, Luciano, I needed that.