There are an enormous number of sports that are played across the world and none more so than the round ball game, what we in Australia and New Zealand refer to as soccer and elsewhere as ‘football’.
In Australia and New Zealand when one mentions the word “football” it might be any of a number of national sports such as Rugby, Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Rugby 7s, Touch, Indoor Soccer or indeed soccer. Take your pick.
Therefore in Australia and New Zealand, soccer it is. In America too. The word ‘soccer’ is clearly identified and clarified. It is the only form football where only the goalkeeper can touch the ball with their hands or indeed the ‘hand of God’ (Maradonna).
There are a number of fascinating aspects to soccer:
- The ball isn’t round – it is made up of 12 sections
- The only person who runs a lot is the umpire
- Unless the ball is nearby, the players stand around
- It’s noticeable the players pass the ball to avoid running
- Spectators are not as good as singers as the Welsh rugby
When it’s analysed, clearly soccer is pathetic.
So the question is, why do so many play it?
When it’s all said and done, soccer is cheap. It’s for the cheap skates. All you need is a ball and a couple of goals at either end. If you look at the game geographically: South America, Africa and Asia - the big end-of-town numerically, soccer is spoken in other languages to English.
Translation becomes a problem, so the game is explained in gestures. In soccer, the umpire blows and whistle and points. In more sophisticated sports such as those listed about, when an infringement is awarded, the umpire points in the direction of the awarded team. Much simpler!
The offside rule in soccer is a constant problem as the linesman (linesperson) has to keep one eye on the play, another eye on the ball, then another eye to ensure there are two defenders in front of the attacking player, then another eye on the attacking player running through, and again another eye on the chief umpire.
Somewhere here there are several potential problems.
The biggest two doozy’s
One of these biggest doozy’s in soccer compared to other sports are the outfits. There are several points to be made about the shorts and shirts.
Soccer shorts have such characteristics that for want of a word, described as being ideal for the cinematic boudoir, whereas the shirts have such space one might expect them capture the wind as a maxi yacht might.
Moreover the nature of the soccer ‘dive’ has been likened to a Hollywood talent scout’s picnic. Strangest of all, the entire crowd in a stadium saw it, other than umpire and the two linesmen (linesperson). This is one of the mysteries of sport, the soccer drama queen…
For me, I’ll stick with field hockey!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html