Soccer is an acquired taste. Kind of like coffee, or lima beans or tequila, or – perhaps I should stop right there. I don’t want any self-righteous, lifestyle police picketing outside my office or threatening to poison my pooch for condoning something (like alcohol) that shouldn’t be condoned. But I digress.
First of all, I know this column will probably deeply offend those soccer devotees who adamantly defend the sport as the greatest form of athletic competition in the history of the universe. They are certainly entitled to their enthusiasm and I applaud them for their passion and perseverance.
However, I’d be lying if I stated soccer was one of my favorite sports. In fact, I’m not sure it would make my top 10. So to all of you soccer fanatics out there in Readershipland, I humbly apologize and hope you’ll understand why I feel the way I do. If not, tough toenails.
To wrap your brain around my thoughts on the subject, one must travel back in time some 50-55 years ago when soccer wasn’t taken seriously in the United States. Oh sure, there were a handful of soccer clubs and schools that fielded a team on the pitch, but for the most part it was considered a European endeavor that lacked the excitement and thrills associated with American football, or basketball or Tiddlywinks (sorry that was a cheap shot).
Despite its worldwide popularity, the fact remains soccer was not an option for a kid of the 1950s or ’60s. Unlike Little League or Pop Warner football, soccer was not offered as a summertime option for an aspiring young athlete, and to be honest the general population of the United States considered the game a boring version of “real” football. Imagine not being able to use your hands … how absurd.
As a result, regardless of those who were convinced the game would eventually replace all others as the favorite pastime of American sports fans, soccer didn’t really catch on here for decades. It took a long, long time for the most well-liked game on Earth to gain any kind of foothold in the U.S. of A., and although its fan-base has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 20 years or so, it still remains a monotonous mystery for many, if not most.
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