Thursday, March 12, 2009

Evil Soccer is Ruining Our Children But Holy War Is A OK.



Here at UF we love a reasoned argument. Challenge us to a sensible, smart, well-informed debate over anything football related and we get hard excited. But occasionally you come across anti-soccer rhetoric that is so ridiculous, so absurd and quite frankly worthy of printing and placing in the cubicles of any public toilet.

Occasionally someone will write about something they know little of. With that in mind, let me introduce you to Professor Stephen H. Webb. Mr. Webb is a professor of religion and philosophy at Wabash College. He's also written a couple of books. A quick glance at Amazon reveals that he clearly writes his own reviews...

This book is a deeply thoughtful treatise on how to approach the teaching of faith in the classroom and he explains a lot about his own scholarly background.

Wow... Thoughtful? Lovely, so you would think his piece here entitled "How Soccer is ruining America" would also be thoughtful, based on heavy research of the world's number one sport and filled with insight and facts. No sir. Mr. Webb doesn't know his Arsenal from his Arse.

Bend over Professor. Here cometh the UF Truth Train of Reason.

Where to begin?

First of all Mr Webb refers to his uninformed and shallow attack on the beautiful game as a Jeremiad as referenced in the bible by a the prophet Jeremiah. Webb is suggesting with his title that soccer is not only evil but it will be responsible for the downfall of society.

I am lost for words. The sheer stupidity of over dramatizing Webb's shared and very American dislike for soccer devalues his whole argument. How can a sport adored by EVERY country in the world be imorral and wicked? Soccer not only brings people together but it is a worldwide language. Go to Africa and walk into any poor, deprived village. You won't be able to talk the lingo but break out a soccer ball and you will have 100 new friends instantly.

What other game, to put it bluntly, is so boring to watch? (Bowling and golf come to mind, but the sound of crashing pins and the sight of the well-attired strolling on perfectly kept greens are at least inherently pleasurable activities.) The linear, two-dimensional action of soccer is like the rocking of a boat but without any storm and while the boat has not even left the dock. Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without any bullets in their guns. Soccer is the fluoridation of the American sporting scene.
This tells me that Professor Webb is basing his opinions on children's soccer and not on any experience of professional soccer. Boring to watch? It's 90 minutes of action played at a furious pace by 22 men who average 7 miles of running per game, while also displaying tremendous skill and teamwork.
Any sport that limits you to using your feet, with the occasional bang of the head, has something very wrong with it. We can even talk with our hands. Have you ever seen a deaf person trying to talk with their feet? When you are really angry and acting like an animal, you kick out with your feet. Only fools punch a wall with their hands. The Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush was following his primordial instincts. Showing someone your feet, or sticking your shoes in someone’s face, is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Do kids ever say, “Trick or Treat, smell my hands”? Did Jesus wash his disciples’ hands at the Last Supper? No, hands are divine (they are one of the body parts most frequently attributed to God), while feet are in need of redemption. In all the portraits of God’s wrath, never once is he pictured as wanting to step on us or kick us; he does not stoop that low.
This is the argument a seemingly intelligent individual uses against soccer? Perhaps if the refrain were "Trick or Schmand" children might reply "smell my hand."

I am starting to think that either Professor Webb is a pie short of a picnic or that for anything to be logical it must involve Cochran-esque rhymes. What an absurdly redundent and ridiculous amount of garbage. Feet are disgusting and hands are divine? I am stunned. Stunned by the stupidness of such nonsensical bollocks.

All of Mr. Webb's beloved baseball players used their feet to get to the steroid dealer, no? They walk to the plate and they run the bases. Let's see A Rod steal a base standing on his hands. Not to mention that the bible is a collection of fiction, rewritten time and time again by who-knows-who about people who never existed!.Webb's whole career is based around false prophets. He endorses the teaching to children of a story book as fact. Who's wicked now? Now I certainly cannot say whether God exists or not because I do not know. Neither does Webb. But I do know that soccer brings joy to people throughout the world.
Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding. Even its language was intimidating, with bases, bats, strikes, and outs. Striding up to the plate gave each of us a chance to act like we were starring in a Western movie, and tapping the bat to the plate gave us our first experience with inventing self-indulgent personal rituals. We also spent a lot of time in the outfield chanting, “Hey batter batter!” as if we were Buddhist monks on steroids. Our chanting was compensatory behavior, a way of making the time go by, which is surely why at soccer games today it is the parents who do all of the yelling.
Baseball? Baseball? I like baseball as much as the next chap, but to call soccer evil and use baseball as a reason because it was "so demanding"?

As a child, baseball requires you stand around for 3 hours waiting for the opportunity to swing a bat a few times. Here's all you need to know about the demands of baseball: John Kruk played the game professionally.

As a kid, baseball starts with t-ball. Hitting a ball from a static position. Demanding? Have you seen half of the pitchers who play professional sports? Big fat monsters chewing tobacco. Soccer is a sport that keeps children fit, teaches teamwork and coordination. If baseball is demanding, then I shall write to the Olympic Committee immediately and request that couch potato-ing be included at the next Olympiad.
Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion, but few people know exactly what is wrong with that. More than having to do with its origin, soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score. Even the way most games end, in sudden death, suggests something of an old-fashioned duel. How could anyone enjoy a game where so much energy results in so little advantage, and which typically ends with a penalty kick out, as if it is the audience that needs to be put out of its misery. Shootouts are such an anticlimax to the game and are so unpredictable that the teams might as well flip a coin to see who wins—indeed, they might as well flip the coin before the game, and not play at all.
Death and Despair. True fact: Sartre was a West Ham supporter. If a game that billions of people adore inspires thoughts of 'death and despair' in Mr. Webb, may I suggest some kind of therapy (not the physical kind either). To hear this from a man who studies and translates the 'death and despair' that features in the bible is nothing short of hypocrisy. Sudden death? Coin tosses? What tosh. Sudden death decisions do not occur in regular league play and only in knock out competitions. So they take place in what, maybe 1% of all professionally contested soccer matches.

Is Professor Webb aware of how Hockey games are decided? Or that the coin toss of an NFL play-off game in OT decides the winner most of the time? His mention of soccer as a 'foreign sport' smacks of the typical insular attitude of the American sport fan who sees the rise of the beautiful game in the U.S as a threat to their beloved 'national pastime'.

If there's any invasion going on, it's by 'us' over 'their' game. Who owns Manchester United, the richest club in the world? Americans. Who owns Liverpool FC, perhaps the most storied club in the world? Americans. Who owns Aston Villa, the most promising upstart in the league? An American.

And why do they own these teams? Death? Nope. Despair? Don't think so. They own them because they make plies and piles of money. And what's more American than leveraging the ever-loving heck out of your business to make an assload of money?
And then there is the question of gender. I know my daughter will kick me when she reads this, but soccer is a game for girls. Girls are too smart to waste an entire day playing baseball, and they do not have the bloodlust for football. Soccer penalizes shoving and burns countless calories, and the margins of victory are almost always too narrow to afford any gloating. As a display of nearly death-defying stamina, soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent with insurmountable power.
Now we have reached the bottom of the barrel. "A game for girls." Soccer is the number one sport for men worldwide. It's one of the most physically demanding, powerful, competitive sports availavle to man. Period! No 300 lb men can play professional soccer yet they can pitch or run for a 5 second-long play before screaming for oxygen on the football field.

Webb concludes his elongated sheet of imprudence by stating "I am an overworked teacher, with books to read and books to write, and before I put in a video for the kids to watch while I work in the evenings, they need to have spent some of their energy. Otherwise, they want to play with me!

Maybe Webb should play soccer with his children instead of wasting his valuable shot at fatherhood by scribbling baseless foolishness about a sport he doesn't understand or have any fruitful knowledge of. Maybe I should write a stinging rebuke discussing why Major League Baseball is devoid of any talent and skill after watching my 2 year old play t-ball. Even better, I once watched children pretend to be airplanes, perhaps that qualifies me to write a text on Aerospace engineering. Webb has clearly based his article about soccer on his daughters local league.

Webb calls soccer boring yet he also says that "girls are too smart to waste a day playing baseball." What a contradiction. Webb's lack of research into professional soccer is completely immature for a man who appears to teach and write for a living. He should know better.

Professor Stephen Webb (wearing glasses)

So to Webb, soccer is evil but religion is not? I can't remember the last time soccer caused a war, unlike religion which has been responsible for just about every man made war in the history of the world. Thousands of people die yearly because of religion and yet soccer continues to bring joy. My little man wants to play every night, to him soccer isn't boring, wicked or for girls. He is two-years-old and finds it fun. Just like I did before before being introduced to fantastic professional game that inspires more passion and excitment to people all over the world than Professor Webb is capable of understanding. Amazingly, I didn't grow up to pursue a career in despair. Although I am suspicious that I might indeed die. So he's got me there.

We happened upon this ludicrous 'Jeremiad' as a reader pushed it our way. Should this irrational drivel find it's way to more respected sports media outlets Mr. Webb would become an international laughing stock and not just one to us.

21 comments:

The Fan's Attic said...

I know soccer has stopped wars before, so it has that going for it.

Mike Georger said...

I am really looking forward to an oil conglomerate buying up an American franchise. To watch people squirm as some Sheik runs the Dallas Cowboys? Delicious.

epiblast said...

Good 'ol Pope Johnny P the second played footy!
He even blessed Italy's refs!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-196504/Pope-blesses-soccer-referees.html

ü75 said...

El Salvador and Honduras believe that a soccer match is a useful starting point for war. But your point stands that this has not happened in 40 years.

T-Pat said...

I'm trying to figure out if this is tongue and cheek or completely moronic.

Also this is odd, considering a large amount of catholic countries are the biggest footy supporters (South American, Central American, Western Mediterranean countries and the UK and Ireland)

(Catholicism passed Anglicanism as the largest religion in both the UK and England)

Precious Roy said...

Drogba stopped a war, so it's kind of a push.

And yeah, I too thought this guy might be some kind of satire, but it if so it was poorly executed as it wasn't quite ridiculous enough. If nothing else, it's just pitifully uniformed. In either event it speaks volumes about Wabash College.

The NY Kid said...

The linear, two-dimensional action of soccer

Well, he's clearly no physicist.

Precious Roy said...

Wow, way to poke fun at an educator and make about 16 grammatical mistakes in three sentences.

Aaron said...

About what I would expect from someone who teaches at an all-male college in Indiana...especially one where the students fornicate with sheep.

/DPU'd

Bigus Dickus said...

Hey PR. Our humble editor is blaming you. I make mistakes for sure. I never claimed to be smart. But, unlike the prof, I only write about what I know!

Precious Roy said...

No, no, Bigus I was making fun of my own comment. ("this guy might be some kind of satire" and "but it if so it was"... Clearly, I was being 'tarded.)

jjf3 said...

My Catholic upbringing totally failed me - I had no idea JC was the master of the bicycle kick too! Damn Vatican...

GeneralGametime said...

I laughed out loud about ten times while reading this. Then I wept. I wept for humanity. I wept that someone could earn a doctorate and then turn out something like this.

I didn't come around to soccer as a serious fan until about three years ago (though I played since I was a little kid), but after starting to watch, I couldn't stop. It is the greatest game in the world. And this is coming from someone who works in professional baseball.

Professor Stephen Webb, you have ruined my evening.

Lingering Bursitis said...

GeneralG: it's alright, you're not the only one. Webb's a moron.

Ibracadabra said...

Bigus, top quality stuff this. And Webb will be happy with you - you used your hands.

Corleonis said...

http://casorosendi.blogspot.com/2009/03/people-like-stephen-h-webb-are-ruining.html

I found this comment quite funny...

Corleonis said...

Aaron,
How prejudiced of you to bring the sad affair of the sheep. One ffks one ewe and the name-calling starts. How unfair! Consider this: at least the sheep are happier than Perfesser Webb... Hey! There's an idea to make Webb feel happier!

Joep Smeets said...

"I can't remember the last time soccer caused a war"

I can

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soccer_War

also, does it really surprise anyone that when you pick a religious standpoint apart, it doesn't hold up too well?

also also; in holland, JC does not mean jesus christ(us, in dutch). it's Johan Cruijff. And he's rightfully held in considerably higher esteem.

Bigus Dickus said...

Amazing how seemingly intelligent folks brains turn to mush when confronted with the thoughts of 'what comes next'. Nice catch on El Salvador Joep.

ü75 said...

I caught it already. Click my fucking links why don't ya? I go through the trouble of hyperlinking the damn things and you don't click? For shame.

/pottymouthed

Nathan said...

well said well said well said.

i heard someone else put it rightly with "does he not realize that 3-1 in soccer is the same as 21-7 in american football?"