Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Thousand Soccer Hooligans Chained Together At The Bottom Of The Sea

“You’re not going to quote me on this, right? Look, the thing is, all fans know the game is dreadfully boring. We don’t like to admit it, but we know it. That’s why we get into fights in the stands. Adds a bit of excitement to the day, you see? Otherwise we’d be wasting four hours of our lives watching Manchester United lose to Chelsea by a final score of 1-0. Just don’t go telling anyone I said that, right?” ~ Mick “Stumpy” Wallace, Manchester United Professional Hooligans Association

Well, it seems that out across the pond, Euro 2012 is occupying the attention of sports fans. For those of you who might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, it’s a multinational soccer (or football) tournament. The fans of course refer to it as football, and rightfully so, since the ball spends much of its time being kicked about. Those of us in North America used to the American or Canadian versions of football, well, let’s face it, the only time that kind of ball comes into contact with a foot is during a kick-off. Most of the time it’s being tossed or carried by a player, so is it right to call that sport football?

Well, I’m not talking about the pointless North American game of football today. I’m talking about the international version, which is equally pointless. In case it’s not already obvious, I’m not a soccer fan. I must be in the minority, though. The game consumes people across the world, draws huge television audiences, brings out long dormant national flags in families who immigrated out of their homelands generations ago, starts up riots, and sets the fans to killing each other.
And it’s so bloody boring. More so than tennis or golf (not that I’m endorsing either of those sports, mind you). Watching paint dry is more interesting.

Every four years, of course, there’s a World Cup, and you can expect bars, restaurants, and the like to be filled with people, demanding to watch the games. In between the actual World Cup tournaments, there’s no end of other games, professional leagues, and international tournaments. Some years back there was an Under 20 tournament hosted here in Canada, including several games in Ottawa. The games were played in a stadium close to home, across the Rideau Canal from my place. I recall one occasion, moving through a crowd before a game, on my way home, and getting clobbered on the shoulder by a drunk fan with a beer bottle. The drunk got my fist in his face, his ass on the sidewalk, and a cop arresting him for assault. Rightfully so, by the way.
Now we’ve got the European tournament that’s just gotten underway. It’s getting people drawn in to watch as much of it as possible. Passing through a downtown building the other day, I saw a pair of big screens set up in the ground floor, with temporary bleachers set before them. The purpose? I learned from a store clerk that it’s a place for office workers to come watch some of the games. Aren’t they supposed to be working?

And there’s no escaping it now if you want to have a meal. Most pubs and restaurants are getting in on the act. There’s a lot of money to be parted from by rabid soccer fans, who, of course, require plenty of liquor to get themselves through the dreadfully boring and tedious ordeal that is a single game.
Low scores. Kicking a ball back and forth. Occasional running about that goes nowhere. Periodic kicks of the ball at a net, invariably set aside by a surly netminder (assuming he hasn’t fallen asleep watching a black and white ball being kicked around way out in the midfield). And for this, fans (aka hooligans) will fight, bludgeon, and kill each other? For this, the fans will hold grudges that make the Hatfields and McCoys look like best friends? Come on, boys and girls, if you’re going to resort to violence over a sport you’re just watching, make it something interesting. Like hockey (no, they already do that). Or baseball (imagine a mob fight in Yankee Stadium). Or Capture The Flag (make that one more of a challenge by giving each player a tomahawk).

I will never, ever understand why people get so wrapped up in that game. And yet for the next couple of weeks or so, the fans will be everywhere, the boring, idiotic game will be on too many screens, and too many people will be chattering away about how the Germans just kicked the ass of the Spanish team or England got robbed by Belgium (bad Belgium! Bad! What did England ever do to you?).  And yes, I know that by calling the game boring, idiotic, dreadfully dull, waste of time, and any other choice words, I’m inviting the wrath of soccer hooligans down on my head, not to mention getting a bounty placed on my life.
To that, I can only say.... nyah, nyah, nyah,nyah!!


  1. Okay, I really like that last pic!

    I've never understood the appeal of soccer...met alone why fans of the sport are too often such out -of -control fools!

    Great post, as always!

  2. I love football - but your blog is fantastic. As a football fan youve got to be able to laugh at yourself!

    Following through GFC. Hope you'll take a look at mine

  3. Boring is watching [also] loud cars going around in circles at great speeds for 3 hours. The only part that is exciting are the crashes. You've covered everything else--except also there's horse racing--um 30 seconds or so and it's over. Man, I have not seen a riot over a horse race as yet. That might be worth watching, though!

    Not a sports fan. But boy no one had better say anything about birdwatching or I'll just have to get violent!

    Great post as usual, sir!

  4. My previous comment didn't take?

    It amazes me that anyone gets so violent over any sport. They need to grow!

    Great post, as always. I like the last pic best....

  5. I looked around... for some reason your first comment ended up in the spam comments! I didn't know I had a filter for that....

  6. The forth photo really made me laugh !
    The look on the cat's face wahahahah !

    I like watching soccer when I am in Japan watching the game in the Irish Bar my son works at part time. The owner is Irish, main bartender in Australian, lots of English and Japanese customers and of course one American, David. So it is the UN of who to support and root for, What a hoot !
    And the food is good !

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Soccer has become v3ery popular in the midwest in the last several years. No idea why ...

  8. Oh, this made me laugh. I couldn't agree more - and the fighting thing is absolutely mental.

  9. I don't watch soccer but I liked your blog. How long did it take you to get over 100,000 page views?

  10. @Deb: about a year. I'm still astonished the numbers went like that!

    @Talli: yes, it definitely is mental!

  11. I'm not much a fan of any sport, especially soccer or football. On a side note...did you watch Hatfields & McCoys? It looked like something I'd like, but I haven't gotten around to seeing it yet.

  12. lol... I'll take your word for it. I've never bothered to watch cuz yanno... just doesnt seem interesting to me. But then, sports in general dont do much for me. I used to go to hockey games a lot when my good friend worked for the Lightening, and that was cool, but I'd rather go see a movie than sit in the stands and watch professional sports.

  13. Soccer is OK, though not my favorite. My sons prefer basketball. But really the fans get too outrageous, esp in Europe! Great pics, Will. Love the lion! Take care!

  14. @Christina: I did, and I'm waiting until I get hold of a certain book; I'll be doing something of a joint review on the miniseries and the book.

    @Lena: they really do get out of line!

    @PK: I was watching Invictus last night, and the way rugby is played. Now that I could get into!

  15. Big ouch to that second picture! I like the one with the cat. With the way my cat acted yesterday (like the spawn of Satan) I would've volunteered her for it. Okay, maybe not. I couldn't really go through with it.

  16. Actually, soccer I get more than basketball...that game just seems pointless. Of course, so is soccer, but I'd rather watch it then the other...

    No wait...I'd rather watch golf...!

  17. I can't say much about it. My opinion is that ALL sports are way over done, except competitive dancing and figure skating. And gymnastics.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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