Every Saturday morning I wake up to an alarm.
I’m not getting up at 8:30am to get ready for work, it’s not to go running on the damp pavement, like in those Nike commercials either, I’m not even going to leave my house.
You are probably reading this thinking it’s about football, college football to be more specific. It’s not.
I’m not getting up to watch Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit ramble on. They barely even talk football these days, it’s just feature after feature; Players who overcame adversity, coaches who worked their way up and are now in a title hunt, teams who are talking about why they are going to win this weekend. OH, you think your team is going to win? Wow, SHOCKER.
Just show me highlights, tell me who’s playing and what channels I can watch the games on. I really don’t need to know anything else.
On a sidenote—remember the days when Sportscenter showed highlights of games, play after play, stat after stat, and interviews with coaches after games? Features weren’t around and none of the previous day’s games went without highlights. Now…they skip entire sports sometimes just because. What the hell happened?!
The reason I wake up on Saturday mornings is simple—Soccer, and not just any soccer but the BEST soccer in the world, European soccer. Those of you who are soccer fans and I know you are out there, you know what I am talking about.
Major League Soccer (MLS), the United States professional league just isn’t the same. That is not to say we have no talent in our country or that the professionals in our country aren’t any good. The reality of the situation is all the money, all the tradition and all the best players in the world play in Europe and will, forever.
This isn’t so much an editorial piece as it is a persuasive one, my hope is that those of you who are reading this who don’t watch soccer or care about it, will begin too, here’s why.
There is just nothing else like it, it is truly athleticism in it’s purest form. Those of you whose perception of soccer has been shaped in the United States just have no idea what soccer is supposed to be, it is NOT the MLS version that’s for sure. It is for the world’s ultimate athletes.
You can be short or tall, fast or quick, powerful or graceful, doesn’t matter. The best soccer players in the world come in all shapes and sizes. But make no mistake about it, there are no David Wells on the pitch, the average midfielder is going to run eight miles a game, constant movement with bursts of exceptional speed and power throughout.
People, especially those unfamiliar with soccer, say “It’s too slow, nothing happens!” to this I respond usually with a roll of the eyes. There is nothing mundane about watching a European soccer game. Every single player on the field is absolutely the best in the world at what they do. The ball is merely an extension of their body, they literally have control over a ball, it’s unbelievable. Serioulsy, tell me that’s normal? (hint-wait for the replay)
Try hitting a trash can with a soccer ball in a full sprint from 40 yards away…damn near impossible and yet that is as regular as a hand off to Clinton Portis would be when you are watching Inter Milan @ AC Milan on a Saturday morning.
To understand the beauty of the game and the skill with which it is played, at that level, you must have an appreciation for what you are watching.
Honestly, it’s not like watching the NFL, which has a cartoonish quality to it now…We are watching about 6’5” 300 pound monsters hitting each other, What?! That is huge. Go stand in line in Starbucks, hell, walk through a grocery store, you know what the odds are of finding ONE person over like 6’3” are…not good at all.
I watch every NFL game I can, but I’m not going to lie if in 10 years everyone is 6’10” and 350 pounds it just won’t be fun any more.
Even the NBA has become ridiculous on some level. OH WOW…did you see that dunk by LeBron?! Yeah sure, it’s amazing but if I was 6’8” 250 I could dunk pretty easily too. I’m not playing down his athleticism by any means, the guy is a freak athlete (All-State High School football player) but at some point you have to lose a little interest in a game that basically real people can’t play.
My favorite soccer player is Francesco Totti, he is 5’ 11” 170 pounds and 32 years old.
Manchester United, Roma, Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ronaldinho, Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Ibrahimovic, Leo Messi—look them up, watch some highlights, educate yourself and then tell me you aren’t impressed.
So do yourself a favor and set your alarm clock to 9am this Saturday.