rational quantifiable resilient and neurotic
June 17, 2010, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

American sports, like Americans, are quantifiable.  Not footie.  It’s tragic, frustrating and neurotic.  Three years ago, the American conservative press wrote articles on how soccer is subversive.  I laughed out loud.  They’re still writing them during this cup.  This article by David Brooks, is a shift:  it admits our parochialism, and also proposes a real difference between rational, stats obsessed America and the football mad rest of the world.

David Brooks on the world cup –

The World Cup calls this parochialism to mind because soccer is not just a sport, it is an entire mentality. We in this country prefer pastimes that are rational and quantifiable. Football plays can be drawn up in a playbook and baseball lends itself to statistical analysis.

But the rest of the world follows a sport that rewards resilience and neuroticism. Soccer is a sport perfectly designed to reinforce a tragic view of the universe, because basically it is a long series of frustrations leading up to near certain heartbreak.

The author Nick Hornby once had the brains to turn around while at an Arsenal match to watch the faces of the fans instead of the game. He observed that over the course of 15 minutes, the fans reflected frustration, rage, bitterness, despair, false hopes and discouragement. That’s because the players are perpetually pushing the ball forward, and it often looks like something is about to happen, but in reality it almost never does.

The goals are never scored.

-David Brooks, A World Cup Mentality, New York Times


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