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U.S. Fans: Look at the 'World' of Sports

Old 06-01-05, 10:09 AM
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U.S. Fans: Look at the 'World' of Sports

It's a link to an audio commentary by Frank DeFord from today's Morning Edition:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4674931

U.S. Fans: Look at the 'World' of Sports

Morning Edition, June 1, 2005 ∑ Commentator Frank DeFord says American sports fans are missing out -- by being jingoistic about their sports stars.
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Old 06-01-05, 10:29 AM
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Interesting. I was going to post how he's right, but then I listened to it, and I changed my mind. There is a great world of sport going on that Americans are missing out on, and this commentary doesn't talk about any of it (save brief mention of Formula One). Americans don't care about the LPGA, because it's women's golf, and if you want them to care about Sorenstam, put her against men, because American or not, they're not going to give a shit until then. As for tennis, it's been on the decline for years, in large part because the women's game became the same muscle-bound groundstroke borefest that the men's had become. If you don't agree with that assessment, that's fine, but if Lindsay Davenport were playing Amy Frazier in the finals, Americans still wouldn't care. When it comes to women's tennis, Americans aren't jingoistic. They want novelties and hotties. As for men's tennis, I might be more interested if the French fans didn't make complete asses of themselves when Grosjean plays.

So, uh, yeah ...

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Old 06-01-05, 11:19 AM
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While I do agree with DeFord to some extent, your comments are quite accurate. One of the reasons I posted the link, besides the fact that my wife sent it to me, is that DeFord is a well-known soccer hater, so the irony of him berating US sports fans for being jingoistic is somewhat ironic to me.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:51 AM
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In a week where the US plays England, and then Beckham and Owen put on a show a few days later in Giants Stadium, it was a pretty glaring omission for a rant about Americans and world sports.

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Old 06-02-05, 02:23 AM
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Mind you, I think DeFord needs to understand these facts:

1. In most of the world, soccer (known as "football") is a sport that fans literally follow with a religious fervor and obsession--quite literally! The USA doesn't really suffer from this syndrome, given that we have three major sports to choose from for major fandom: American football, baseball and basketball. And just below that, Americans also follow hockey (when the NHL is around ), auto racing and golf, too.

2. Americans never took to soccer because soccer never got the fan base (and more importantly, large scale advertiser support) to make the game really popular here in the USA.
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Old 06-02-05, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by RayChuang
2. Americans never took to soccer because soccer never got the fan base (and more importantly, large scale advertiser support) to make the game really popular here in the USA.
This might be the most circular statement I've ever seen.
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Old 06-02-05, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RMSpuhler
This might be the most circular statement I've ever seen.
Quite probably it is.

Americans never took to soccer because we developed our own, indigenous team sports in the late 19th century instead. Looking at countries where soccer is not hugely popular, invariably most of them are made up of former British colonies - the US, Canada, India, and ANZUS (each of whom, except for India, incidentally invented their own form of "football"). The only notable exception is South Africa, where soccer became popular with the black majority largely because it was unpopular with the (white) ruling elites. It's a truism among people who have studied the history of the sport that soccer became popular with the countries the Brits traded with, not the ones they ruled.
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Old 06-02-05, 09:54 AM
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Exactly. And soccer will likely never achieve great popularity here because it's fundamentally different from the instant gratification society in which we live and are so accustomed. All the indigenous American team sports have evolved to cater heavily to that, but soccer never can.

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Old 06-02-05, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
Exactly. And soccer will likely never achieve great popularity here because it's fundamentally different from the instant gratification society in which we live and are so accustomed. All the indigenous American team sports have evolved to cater heavily to that, but soccer never can.

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