BBC: “Football (Soccer) Seen as ‘Sissyball’ in Deep South”

Whenever I see a video from BBC News that’s titled “Football (soccer) seen as ‘sissyball’ in Deep South,” I knew what I was getting myself into by watching. Let’s just say many people in Baton Rouge weren’t displaying too much “southern hospitality” toward soccer.

Pretty much, think of all the stereotypes you have heard from people who hate/are ignorant about soccer. There’s not enough scoring in soccer. It’s a game for kids. Where’s the orange slices and juice packs? It’s “sissyball” or “sissy-football” as my Dad used to call it when I was playing youth soccer. Yeah we’ve heard it before, we’ll hear it in this video and we’ll hear it in the future.

One person in the video did have a good point in that soccer isn’t in the mainstream compared to college and pro football. That is true in a sense and leads to why so many older people don’t bother to watch soccer. Soccer is a sport that baby boomers didn’t grow up with. My Dad definitely didn’t grow up on soccer. He grew up on football, baseball and auto racing and he, like millions of others, have been lifelong fans of those specific sports.

Before the 1994 World Cup, the only time soccer got any sense of notoriety in the USA was when Pele, Beckenbauer and Chinaglia played for the New York Cosmos in the 70’s. That lasted for a few years until falling back into obscurity for another decade. Learning a sport is like learning a new language. If you’re immersed in it and grow up with it, like many Millennials such as me and those in the video playing indoor soccer, it’s much easier to learn and be fluent instead of not getting a chance to do as much.

When it came to my Dad, he despised soccer when I played as a kid. While he didn’t understand the sport, he at least supported my decision to play. I took him to go see the United States vs. Turkey friendly in Philadelphia right before the 2010 World Cup. We got seats in Sam’s Army and as a former Air Force vet, he appreciated the patriotism that was shared throughout the stadium and was entertained by the action on the field after I taught him some of the basics of the sport. He’s not someone who is going to get up at 7 AM to catch an EPL game or the next US friendly, but he’ll pay attention to the US men and women in the World Cup and at least check out the scores for my favorite teams.

I like to think of myself as an advocate for soccer and there’s nothing better than to talk soccer with those who have various levels of knowledge. That’s the main reason why I got into writing about soccer. I want to do all I can to “grow the game” in this country in whatever capacity. I get that, out of 319 million people in the United States, not everyone is going to like soccer and that’s fine. What I don’t understand is that soccer seems to be the only sport in this country where many people take time out of their life to actively hate it in such a way that they don’t even want it to exist.

I don’t care for certain sports but I’m not going to go all Ann Coulter and trash that specific sport. The thing soccer has going for it is, with every World Cup, there seem to be more and more people in the United States who learn about “the beautiful game” and know enough to decide if soccer is right for them or not. Soccer isn’t going to grow in this country by the number of people who enjoy soccer. It will grow when we don’t have to listen and answer to people like Ann Coulter who irrationally hate something she, and those people in the video, doesn’t understand.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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