When I recently posted a couple blog articles about soccer I thought I was taking a break from my usual political posts to write about my new found interest in the World Cup and to heap praise on the gritty, gutsy American team. It seemed like an all American thing to do. However I have recently learned that according to Ann Coulter, the conservative equivalent of Wicked Witch of the West, soccer is virtually un-American “and (a) growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” (The latter phrase was quoted from her blog.) Apparently, according to Ann, the effort to popularize soccer in the U.S. is part of an evil liberal conspiracy. Wow! Then, when real soccer fans reacted to her ill advised narrative, instead of gracefully leaving the pitch, Ann doubled down with another blog entry further insulting the game with several vindictive comments including pointing out soccer is only fit to be played by girls.
I will not dignify her articles by posting the links here, but just Google her name and soccer and you will find them easily enough. I would recommend reading them only as examples of how screwy ultraconservative thinking can be. If you always thought Ann was a little weird, you’ll find that she can also be clueless. I’ve decided if Ann thinks she is qualified to write about soccer, I’m definitely qualified to write a response. So here is my open letter to Ann Coulter.
I read with interest your recent bog about the growing interest in soccer in our country and my immediate impression was that you would be better served by not trying to write about a subject that you obviously know next to nothing about. Your knowledge of soccer seems to be based only on your experiences watching six year olds kicking a ball around a soccer field. It’s painfully obvious that you have never really watched soccer played at an elite level and that you are totally clueless about the game. It’s not pretty when you display your ignorance for the entire world to see.
You first repeat the old saw (which seems to be the mantra of the soccer ignorant) that soccer has so little scoring that it is boring. Obviously you didn’t watch and cheer on our US team as they battled Ghana, then Germany, then Belgium. For instance, US vs. Belgium ended regulation in a scoreless tie, but it certainly didn’t lack for excitement. I am huge football and basketball fan, but it is difficult for me to recall a football or basketball game that generated more excitement than did the US team did when time after time after time theyturned back Belgium’s determined efforts to score.
You then wrote that “Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer” and “there are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child’s fragile self-esteem is bruised”. You even pointed to the lack of serious injuries in soccer, insulating that it is a girls game, not macho enough for real American men. Again, you have only watched little children playing soccer, right Ann?
Like in every other team game, a soccer team relies on heavily on teamwork to be successful because individual effort, no matter how superlative, is rarely enough to achieve victory. Team work is not un-American Ann. In this country we use team sports to teach our young the value working with others as a team because that is that is an essential skill in real life, in everything from the simplest company situation to the middle of a battlefield. It’s not sissified to be a good team member Ann. Solders in elite military units, some of the toughest guy around, are rightfully proud to be members of their teams.
However, like every other team sports, individual achievement in soccer is appreciated and even glorified. Certainly you haven’t been hiding in a dark hole all of your life and have never heard of guy by the name of Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Okay, maybe that’s not fair, but certainly you have heard of more common nickname, Pele. I am sure you cover your eyes and ears when the media discusses America’s World Cup team, but even you must know who Tim Howard is by now. Heroes abound in World Cup soccer, and if you think that there are no losers and no accountability, you can’t begin to appreciate how the weight of his entire country comes crashing down on a player whose mistake results in his team being unable to advance in the World Cup. And If you think that soccer is a sport for sissies, you need to talk to the two Americans who played with broken noses. Again Ann, you are totally clueless.
You also seem to think that the only people interested in soccer are first and second generation Americans. You wrote, “I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer.” Wrong again Ann! I could point to many examples of which I am personally aware, but I will use myself as an example. I would be more than willing to bet that most of my ancestors arrived in the New World long before your folks even consider emigrating. I know that all of my ancestors relocated to the territories that are now the United States in the 1750’s. So I think that I qualify in the great-grandfather department, four times over, and I am watching the World Cup, and not only the American team’s games. And before you refer to me as a sissy because I like futball, please be aware that I was a regular Air Force officer and that I hold a fifth degree black belt in Yoshu-Kai Karate – another one of those foreign endeavors not known for having sissy participants.
Then you come to what is obviously your biggest problem with soccer – “It’s foreign”. While you praised quintessential American sports such as baseball and football, perhaps you didn’t know that almost of our “American” sports were derived from games first played other countries. I find interesting that only truly American game, basketball, is not enjoyed by many of your fellow conservatives because it is played at the elite levels mostly by Afro Americans.
I think the main problem you have with the “foreign” game of soccer is that you, Ann, like many conservatives, believe that the USA is the greatest country in the world because we are somehow different from every other country. Apparently you actually do believe that a “growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay”, that by adopting a “foreign” game we reduce ourselves to the level of the rest of the world.
As stupid as that sounds Ann, I understand that kind of thinking because it is so typical of conservative “intellectuals”. Since I despair of ever changing a true conservative’s mind with anything less powerful than dynamite, let’s go with it for now. I would think that the best way the good ole USA could prove its superiority is to beat the other countries in the world at their own game. In a larger context, conservatives appear to believe that American greatness means that we should be the leader of the rest of the countries in the world and dictate to them what they should and should not do. Well here is a free lesson in leadership for you Ann: If you want to be captain of the team, you first have to be a member to the team. If you want to effectively coach the team, you must illustrate that you have the team’s best interest at heart.