Soccer: A Sport for Sissies?

Shawn SieiroContributor IApril 14, 2008

Enough is enough.

Last night I was with some of my boys, watching the Montreal-Boston hockey playoffs game, and we were talking about Kovalev faking an injury in an earlier season. He tried to get a stoppage in play for the benefit of his team. One of my friends decided to leave some input [being a Montreal fan, he wasn't too happy with us calling out Kovalev] and said, "At least hockey is not a sissy sport like soccer". 

Ordinarily, I couldn't care less for the soccer haters on this side of the Atlantic, who only call it 'soccer' because they already have a 'football'. And having lived in Canada for the better part of the past decade, I know how passionate Canadians are about their hockey. But what my buddy said after his initial statement, shocked and angered me even more.

"In soccer you are actually encouraged to dive. Soccer is such a pussy sport, where they cry every time they fall, and coaches teach players when they are young how to dive properly. Hockey is a real sport, a sport for tough guys."

I, in my semi-plastered state from drinking a few more than one Labatt Blue, decided to defend the sport that I have played since I learned to walk.

"How can you even compare hockey? Hockey is a faster game played at break-neck speeds on a surface that is harder on the body, use sticks, and play with a solid rubber puck that could break a bone. Therefore, you would need protective equipment, not because you're a tough guy, but because if you wanted to keep playing the bloody game you would have to protect your bloody self from getting hurt."

"Besides, it's own bloody share of tough guy moments. We have our bloody instigators, we have our sodding assholes, and we do have those wankers that are moronic enough to dive on the pitch. Basketball players get called for touching an opponent's hand or shoulder barging, and rightly so. Imagine if you left your bloody feet only to be hit mid-air. You wouldn't bloody well enjoy your landing."

Another hockey fan decided to quote YouTube and state that there was a video on the site that showed coaches training young kids to dive. I simply said that anyone basing their opinion on something they saw on YouTube was a wanker anyway.

What is it with the West in thinking that soccer is not a man's game? Is it for this precise purpose soccer never made any strides in the American and Canadian market? It is understood that soccer will never overtake the three main American games: Baseball, American Football, and Basketball.

But the MLS is quickly churning out more and more interest. Parents seeing their kids getting beaten up on the ice are turning to soccer as a less violent method of sport and fitness. 

I honestly believe that soccer players are angrier than hockey players. Soccer is a sport played on the feet, by the feet. There is a reason we wear shin guards and ankle guards. If hockey is so tough, why are hockey players covering themselves up so much? Let's see them play with just shin pads! It is idiotic and baseless thinking such as my buddy's that gives the sport a negative image in the West, and it needs to stop. 

Besides will ALWAYS be more radical than hockey fans. I should take one of these hockey fanatics to a Millwall game someday...

My soccer-hating buddy asked me why soccer players don't wear more equipment so that they can be more physical. I gave him the example of a goalkeeper such as myself. I hate wearing a jock since it impedes my movement. I can't wear a mouth guard since I have to marshal my defence, and I can't wear body armour because I need freedom of movement. 

Then I showed him a video of Gatusso's and Eduardo's injury...