Thursday, August 10, 2006

Inhuman Interest

Reading through Brent's last post should give those of you who are new to the site (all, 1...2... 0 of you) a fairly good sense of our different characters.

I'm not so much as optimist or idealist as much as a daydreamer who fantasizes about a utopian society devoid of such banal, asinine ninnies as Skip Bayless and the equally loathed Bill Simmons (along with 99.5% of the sportswriters in North America), and then gives voice to those daydreams.

Brent is the man who reminds me that, oh yeah, we live in the real world. Where Bayless / Simmons and all the other blathering idealogues are granted prime-time access to the mainstream public and those who accept various points of view are contained within their small niche blathering incoherently about the blathering idealogues that they dislike.

Though I sadly agree with Brent's assessment of our proudly polarized society (where (according to the master polarizer, Stephen Colbert) a house divided against itself is called "a duplex") I would like to provide what I think is an explanation of the dearth of Soccer columnists in the U.s.

It's not merely the mundanity of "Chivas V.s. Real Salt Lake" (which, in my opinion, is perhaps the most innapropriate name for a team since the Utah Jazz) it's the desperation with which we turn to the sports page these days.

It's a shock and awe journalism world now and you can see it clearly in the sports page. Either it's a scandal (steroids, Maurice Clarett, Terrell Owens announcing that he hates Tuna Fish and thus creating fodder for 9,000,000 articles in the next three weeks) that goes under news, or a goopy, supercillious, sepia-toned, up-from-hardship tale (the kind that NBC specializes in cramming down your throught during the Olympics) that goes under human interests.

Soccer, in the U.s., lacks that panache. They go and they play the game. No one's doped up (how could we tell?), no one's staging a holdout or presenting themselves as a dynamic presence, and no one has a Hortio Alger story because (so far) American soccer has been built on the suburbs. This is not to say that such stories don't exist (soccer's omnipresence in Europe and Africa shows just how common scandals (match fixing, team swapping, etc.) and goop (rising stars, new acquisitions, etc.) can be popular). But, with nightly press conferences held after every game and live remotes from practice fields discussing pulled groins in the middle of July, these stories are so readily accessible in other sports that it takes a top notch writer to bring the Soccer stories to life.

And when's the last time America produced a top notch sports writer?

No comments: