When it comes to sports, I definitely love baseball the best, but I can’t watch games that don’t involve the Yankees without getting bored unless they are playoff games. Of course, I not infrequently will pull over to watch an inning or two of little league. But, for the most part, I concede the limits of baseball as television entertainment. I get far more fired up for a New York Giants game than for anything else, and I can watch any NFL matchup and be entertained. I used to enjoy the NBA but that changed when younger and younger players started joining the league. I lost interest in the NBA in large part because I no longer could follow the best players through three or four years of college ball. I enjoy hockey, but it’s really best in person. Otherwise, I can only manage to watch it if its the playoffs, its the third period (or overtime), and the game is close.
When it comes to the World Cup, I’ve watched nearly every match and I love it. But I’ve never watched a MLS match, and I never watch the English Premier League or any other of the top leagues around the world. What interests me about the World Cup is not just the quality of play, but the stakes. I care because so many other people care. It’s kind of a weird kind of interest, but my love of World Cup soccer simply doesn’t translate to lower stakes matches. In that sense, it’s a bit like the Olympics. I’ll watch all kinds of Olympic competitions because there are medals on the line, but I’d never watch the same competitions in offyears.
More kids play soccer in this country than any other sport, and yet our professional league offers low salaries and has modest ratings. Very few people know the names of any of our star players. It’s a shame that our team couldn’t go further in the Cup because I got the feeling that the country was beginning to warm up to them.
With all the people we have playing the game, I expect that we will compete for the World Cup championship before long, but I don’t know if we’ll ever really embrace football. What do you think?