Before I begin, let me remind my loyal seven readers that this is not a sports blog but an entertainment blog (which, to be fair, are sports not entertainment for those watching? But I digress). For the rest of you who may be reading this blog for the first time, I do not write about sports. I watch sports. I enjoy doing sporty things. But as someone who majors in Broadcasting and knows very talented people who are “sports guys,” I must clarify that I am not a “sports guy.” With that said, I read something tonight that kind of angered me. I must admit, I probably sound a little bias as a quote-unquote “liberal,” but let me be absolutely clear: I’m not writing this as a liberal. I’m writing it as someone who just cannot stand outright closed-mindedness (this, turns out, is a word…moving on). People have their opinions, I get that. Everyone knows I have mine. But for the love of God, can we just find a way to stop Ann Coulter from having opinions?
Yesterday, Coulter posted a column called American’s Favorite Pastime: Hating Soccer ( http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2014-06-25.html) and now it’s making its social media rounds. At the time of writing this, Coulter was the top trend on Facebook, and I’m sure Twitter will have at it, too. In the column, to sum things up, Coulter basically writes about how much women suck at sports, how much liberals suck at everything, and about how much she herself sucks at finding joy in anything. But I’m not writing this to attack Ann Coulter. It’s merely a reaction post, and if it seems like I’m attacking Ann Coulter, I’m sorry.
(1) Yes, individual achievement does play a big part in sports. Why else would we select MVPs? The ego is both a splendid and treacherous thing, and it can often get in the way or drive someone to victory. Egos are sometimes just as big a tool to athletes as talent, motivation and hard-work, and some things exist to reward those egos. But since when does “individual achievement” make a sport a sport? Hell, we’re still trying to figure out whether cheerleading is a fucking sport and they have to trust others to literally throw them in the air and make sure they don’t hit the floor in a mess of blood and broken bones.
If Coulter wants individual achievement, she can find it in Landon Donovan in the 2010 World Cup. She can find it in Cristiano Ronaldo, who basically advanced the US into the final 16 this year’s World Cup, and he plays for Portugal. Individual achievements in sports give fans a posterboy they can look up to and a topic at the water cooler (i.e. Twitter). They drive the sportscasts-your Lebrons and your Mannings. But at the end of the day, nearly two weeks after the Spurs beat the Heat in game 5 of the NBA finals, no one is saying that Lebron lost and Tim Duncan won . The Heat lost and Spurs won.
Individual achievement plays a large role in sports. But it doesn’t make a sport.
(2) If a woman wanted to play American football, the school would probably have to let her. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a school with a woman’s football team. The majority of the time, if a woman wants to play football in this country, she’s playing with men. What was that about co-ed sports? I wonder if Coulter even stopped to think about the fact that football is the only sport, that comes to mind, that doesn’t have male and female teams. Probably because she didn’t even think about the prospect of a woman wanting to play football in a school setting. But that’s not the point. The point is that Coulter thinks that girls and boys can’t even play a sport together when they’re still pissing their pants.
(3 & 4) “t’s a lot harder to score when a half-dozen 300-pound bruisers are trying to crush you” says Coulter, referring to American football. She seems to have this idea in mind that a sport has to physically hurt you in order for it to count. Blood has to be spilled. While that makes it more exciting, and while I love football as much as the next guy (it’s actually my favorite sport, whodathunkit), that’s not the case. Unless a golfer hits someone in the face with a club, people are rarely getting hurt in golf. But that’s not to say injuries don’t happen in soccer. It’s a contact sport, and while people aren’t getting pummeled to the ground because that’s the name of the game, serious injuries do happen.
And if a sport isn’t hurting you, it has to at least humiliate you. I hope Coulter doesn’t have children.
(5) No, you can’t use your hands in soccer, “eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.” Wow, thanks for clarifying that Ann. That’s the whole point of the game. A sport is supposed to challenge the body (all those injuries, remember, Ann?), and what better way to challenge oneself than to take away their ability to use their hands. I feel like professional baseball players don’t really find catching balls all that “dangerous” unless it was with bare hands. But soccer players still have to let a ball the size of their face bounce off their head.
Before I move on, please note I’m not trying to eliminate the strengths of any particular sport like Ann is. I can acknowledge that catching a baseball can still be dangerous even in MLB. But I don’t think it’s a fair point on Coulter’s side.
(6) Girls and Beyonce are fucking fantastic.
Anyway, people don’t have to endlessly remind us why American football is exciting because it originated here. There is an immediate conflict between American football and soccer because the rest of the world calls our soccer football. And a lot of Americans feel the need to be offended by that for some reason. In all honesty, American football is to a capacity “more exciting” but that shouldn’t take away from soccer.
(7) I think Ann Coulter trying to sound like the voice of African Americans speaks for itself.
(8) Why does she keep equating “liking soccer” to “being liberal?”
(9) I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on whether soccer is “catching on” or not, but if social media is any indication, it does seem to be impacting a large population of Americans. Whether that will stick or not after the World Cup remains to be seen. I can admit I don’t watch soccer any other time, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy the Cup. It’s like the Olympics–when else do you watch gymnastics or volley ball or ice skating unless you’re a die hard fan? Never. But it’s the Olympics, so we watch it. And this is the World Cup, and that means being a part of something much bigger than just a puny debate over whether soccer is “exciting” or not. It’s about rooting for your country in a sport that we don’t by any means dominate in, but this Cup we can say we’re still in it.
So what is the point of all this? Soccer and football don’t need to be at odds with each other just because one is “foreign;” liking soccer doesn’t make you a liberal pyscho and it doesn’t mean the end of mankind if America does like soccer, even if only for a short time; Ann Coulter will devour your children; and there’s nothing wrong with rooting for your country and experiencing something bigger than oneself. I’m sure a conservative like Ann Coulter can at least respect that if nothing else.