I am a huge sports fanatic. Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, golf. I am also one of the more passionate futbal, football (soccer) supporters you will ever encounter. My team is Arsenal, of London.
In my never ending quest to show you why the rest of the world is slowly and surely coming to loathe not only the American government but Americans in general, I give you this from the London Guardian blog.
The truth the soccerphobes refuse to face
Some Americans regard soccer as the devil's spawn. In reality it is as much a part of their nation as mom's apple pie
January 17, 2008 3:55 PM
Soccer is a slow, boring, low-scoring, meaningless, super-sucky pseudo-sport played exclusively by lesbians, small children and homosexual Nazi psychopaths with bad haircuts. And terrorists. Children who play soccer all grow up to be "asshole incompetents" and "knock-kneed milksops" and "flopping on the ground, writhing-in-pain homos". Soccer is being forced on the American people by the sinister "global elite" secret world government. Soccer, in short, "sucks bat-shit off cave walls". And did we mention that it's gay?
Meet 39-year-old commodities trader, Jefferson Glapski. Jefferson runs the soccersucks.net website (slogan - "prepare for fisting, soccer participant!"). Two million visitors to soccersucks have learnt that soccer appeals to "violent hooligans, terrorists, perverts, fascists and Nazis". That youth soccer teams are "homosexual incubators". And that all soccer fans are all "self-important and self-hating freaks [who] actually fellate one another".
Meet radio show host Jim Rome. Jim - a short man with a Village People biker moustache - is the pope of soccerphobia. "My son is not playing soccer, " promises Jim. "I will hand him ice skates and a shimmering sequinned blouse before I hand him a soccer ball." Jim's soccerphobia is part of a grand tradition of crassly xenophobic, casually homophobic, tediously sexist and smugly pig-ignorant soccer-bashing in mainstream American sports journalism. As Sport Illustrated's soccer-friendly Alexander Wolff put it: "There isn't a US daily without a 'soccer stinks' beat guy".
"Their mania is in direct proportion to their insecurity," laughs Miguel Almeida, a New York-based soccer writer. "Hence its intensity. And the phenomenon pops up every time the World Cup rolls around, its reappearance as certain as swarming locusts."
Not all soccer-haters are cliché-recycling hacks. Meet (right-wing) intellectual think-tanker Stephen Moore. "I am convinced," writes Stephen, "that the ordeal of soccer teaches our kids all the wrong lessons in life. Soccer is the Marxist concept of the labour theory of value applied to sports - which may explain why socialist nations dominate the World Cup."
Now before you dismiss Mr Moore as an isolated and irrelevant know-nothing right-wing bollock-talker, have a listen to his fellow Washington conservative, Mr John Derbyshire: "The very inconclusiveness of soccer is, I suspect, what has made it the pet sport of the repulsive [left-wing] bobos."
OK, but two soccer-hating American gobshites do not a sinister right-wing conspiracy make. So here's Jay Nordlingerm who claims soccer is "a project of the left, the athletic equivalent of vegetarianism". This bile is echoed in the letters pages of America's newspapers: "Soccer's slow strangulation of real sports like football needed to be stopped," rages a reader of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "High school football programs around the country have nearly succumbed to the foreign-sports terrorism known as soccer ... Young minds and bodies are being wasted by continuing the slide into the soccer abyss."
Yes, he really did say "foreign-sports terrorism". Worse was to come. Rob Janeda wrote to the same paper, making the very reasonable point that: "As the 'global elitists' attempt to tear all parts of our 'Western European culture' away from us, such as Christmas, the Ten Commandments, the family unit, why should sports be any different? If you can replace an American game with one that is not, you have come one step closer to the fragmentation of our society."
But we've heard enough from the hoi polloi. What do America's pipe-sucking professor types make of all this hoo-ha? Meet Michael Levin, Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. "Soccer is 90 minutes," puffs the Prof, "of guys in green shirts kicking the ball down the field until they lose control to the guys in blue shirts, who kick it back up the field until they lose control ... until somebody is too aggressive and a penalty shot wins the game 1-0."
They don't just hand out those PhDs to anyone, do they? Meanwhile other eggheads all over America have also busted their academic nuts trying to figure out the answer to the question: Why Don't Americans Like Soccer? Oklahoma State University professor Sam Whitsitt argues that America is an acquisitive culture, which is confused by a sport where you can't use your hands. "To be an American and to play soccer are two mutually exclusive things." waffles the Prof.
And in his book Sport and American Exceptionalism, Andrei Markovits of University of California-Santa Cruz reckons that it's because soccer's inherent collectivism offends the American cult of individualism. Or something. And that's just the tip of an enormous transatlantic why-don't-Americans-like-soccer iceberg. And what have all the theories got in common? They're all bollocks.
Fifa regards the USA as the most "soccer-populous" nation on the planet, 20 million play it, blah blah blah. But more than that, soccer is infused into American mainstream culture - into its movies, sit-coms, cartoon strips and novels. Into the warp and weave of everyday American life. In some places the black-and-white-panelled soccer ball decal is nearly as ubiquitous as the stars and stripes flag. Soccer is as American as McDonald's Apple Pie. And that's what really pisses off the soccerphobes.
"There is no surer sign of the decline of America's culture than the craze over this awful European sport," boo-hoos Stephen Moore. "Drive past a park or a schoolyard on a clear spring afternoon and you're likely to witness a depressingly unpatriotic sight: the baseball diamond lies empty and crab grass grows in the infield, while herds of American children dressed in preposterous polyester uniforms run around kicking a white and black ball in no particular direction and to no apparent end."
"I remember my daily walks through my neighborhood in Washington," groans Jay Nordlinger, "where I saw the baseball diamonds grassed over with those infernal soccer fields."
Far from being un-American, soccer is fast becoming the quintessential American sport. And the time will come when, in the words of US journalist Sasha Polakow-Suransky, "the anti-soccer crowd might finally realise that their mom-and-apple-pie crusade against the beautiful game could ultimately backfire or, even worse, be labelled un-American."
America's soccerphobes no longer speak for America. They are a frightened, ignorant, embattled and increasingly bitter minority - an ugly coalition of young fogies, laddish homophobes, snarling misogynists, neo-con nogoodniks and gobbledygook-spewing, tin-foil-hat-wearing, knuckle-gnawing nutjobs. And let's not forget the ever-present and always unfunny comedy-of-conformity-spewing sports hacks.
In July 2004, Sports Illustrated ran an article - Not Our Cup Of Tea - by long-term soccer-basher Frank Deford. "Here's the nasty down-home American reality," wrote Frank, "Far from being graceful, soccer appears, in fact, awkward. You can't sweetly control a ball using feet and head any more than you can drive a car fast with your nose and knees. We value efficiency in the United States. Soccer is inefficient."
Soccer, wrote Frank, will never, ever catch on in America. He was then buried under an avalanche of letters from his fellow Americans, most of whom quietly and politely pointed out that Frank was talking absolute bollocks - because it already has. "There is nothing more American than kicking a foreigner in the shins, delivering an elbow to the jaw, knocking him on his backside and beating him at his own game. You just don't get that sort of opportunity in most American sports," wrote one reader.
In breaking news the arrival of Beckham and her husband in the US has caused a further terrified tightening of the soccerphobe sphincter. Hey, can you spell "fear of penetration"?