Recently, with the continuous broadcast of the FIFA World Cup, Americans have become intrigued by soccer (which is called by the rest of the world, in a clear violation of copyright laws, “football”). Perhaps it’s because we’re suddenly possessed by the desire to fit it with the global community. Maybe it’s because with Lost over, there are only three things on TV these days, and we’re getting tired of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Kobe Bryant. Or maybe we just enjoy watching a bunch of multinational metrosexuals getting hit in the faces by soccer balls.
The fact remains, however, that this onslaught of weird foreign things, despite our sudden interest, remains confusing to many people from countries whose women shave their armpits. Thus, I will attempt to explain the game of soccer and its World Cup to the perplexed American:
The World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world. Some countries take the entire day off for the World Cup; it is believed that Hitler invaded Poland while the Polish were watching the World Cup, taking the Polish by surprise and beginning World War II.* Some countries ritually sacrifice virgins to the soccer gods to increase their teams’ chances of winning.**
According to tradition, soccer began when the Danish invaded Sweden, and the king of Denmark cut off the Swedish king’s head and kicked it all over town. (It’s believed that the King of Denmark wore Adidas sneakers, thus beginning the noble tradition of plastering sponsors’ logos everywhere from the stadium to the athletes’ underwear.) From there, billions have enjoyed the sport, flocking to stadiums in hopes of witnessing a high-scoring game (defined as any game in which someone scores a point).
The game is played on a pitch, which is a made-up British word meaning “large, goods-carrying motor vehicle.” (Or maybe that was “lorry.” I get my made-up British words mixed up.) Players may not touch the ball with their hands, a tradition dating back to the days before people had hands.
Fans of soccer are generally a courteous bunch who only occasionally incite riots in which multiple people are injured or trampled as if by a herd of rabid wildebeests. They (the fans, not the wildebeests) often bring loud horns to the World Cup matches to fill the stadium with the raucous sound of buzzing and frighten the other team into believing the pitch has been overrun by mutant locusts from outer space.
The players are an even more interesting bunch. The job of the goalkeeper, as his name suggests, is to keep the goal, though this is often unnecessary given the low frequency of players actually getting accurate shots at the goal. The forwards and centers run up and down the field just fast enough to allow their perfectly coiffed hairstyles to wave fashionably in the wind. Lastly, the seeker’s job is to catch the Golden Snitch, gaining for his or her team an additional hundred and fifty points.
That’s enough about soccer; I’m quite sure Americans have better things to do than listen to me witter on about nutter footies and their gaffers and rubbish like that. Cheerio! Also, I'm sorry if in this article I offended the soccer gods. If so, I'll gladly provide a virgin sacrifice for their appeasement.
* This is not true. But it could be.
** This might be true.