It's a "soccer thing," and I just don't understand.
The World Cup ended Sunday with Italy beating France 1-1. No, that's not a misprint; the final score at the end of regulation was 1-1. So the winner was decided on penalty kicks, with the Italians making all five, compared with three for the French.
Can you imagine the Super Bowl's being decided by dueling field goals, or the Final Four coming down the best of 10 from the free-throw line?
I've never hidden the fact that I'm not a big fan of the sport, but I did watch the final. I was in New Jersey during the weekend and was watching with several big fans, including a guy from France who was rooting like crazy for his team. But I just could not get into it.
Soccer fans might say I'm crazy, but if soccer is to ever take off as a professional sport in the U.S. the way football and baseball have, they have to do something to increase scoring opportunities, and the biggest soccer event on the planet cannot be decided on penalty kicks.
There is no argument that around the world soccer is extremely popular. However, if these nuts from around the globe had been raised on football, basketball or baseball, would that still be the case? I'm not sure. I used to joke that soccer was a communist plot to overthrow the government. Now I say soccer is great for countries that can't afford football equipment.
Now, before all you soccer fans sit down to type out a hate letter, keep in mind this is only my opinion. If you or your children enjoy the game, more power to you. I will stick with the "Fab Four": football, basketball, baseball and golf.
I will say one positive thing. At a very early age, children who play soccer can really get themselves in top condition and build up great stamina. Then again, they could do that by just running around for an hour, not having anyone kick a ball into the net at all. Oh, wait, that's basically what happens in soccer anyway!
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