FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The XLVIII Super Brag

by PIER ANGELO

We are a country of excess. We are obsessed with size, quantity, speed, guns, monster trucks; with the Big Gulp, the economy pack, the party size, two-for-one regardless of what it is, the Whopper, the quadruple Big Mac and all-you-can-eat-buffets. We put foodstuff inside foodstuff. And we brag about it. It’s an accepted part of the American obsession with supposedly being number one in everything, believing we’re bigger, stronger and faster permeates many of our thoughts.

This brings me to this year’s Super Bowl. Mercifully the NFL season will soon be over and the day after The “Night of the Living Bored” people will only remember and talk about the ads. I, instead, will be left with the usual nagging question. A question that has probably been asked many times before: why do American sports fans feel comfortable with calling the winners of the “Super Bowl,” the winners of the NBA and MLB titles “World Champions”? Barely anybody else even plays these sports. The Australian Football League winners don’t call themselves “World Champions” of Aussie rules. The winners of the Irish Gaelic Football league don’t call themselves “World Champions.” The winners of the Indian Kabaddi title don’t call themselves “World Champions” of Kabaddi. So why is the team that wins the Super Bowl called the world champion of a sport almost nobody plays elsewhere in the world? Shouldn’t they at least have to beat the winner of the Canadian League in order to partially claim that title? “Super Bowl Champions” or “NFL Champions,” would suffice and it is about as technically accurate as you can get. Calling one’s team “World Champions” when nobody else even plays the sport is a peculiarly American thing. Throwing “World” in because you’ve decided, without ever trying to prove it, that you’re so much better than everyone else that you shouldn’t have to prove it, is just arrogance and frankly makes the teams who claim that title a bit of a laughing stock in front of the rest of the…world.

Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina have won multiple World Cups in soccer, the real football, in grueling tournaments. The preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil saw a total of 204 entries across six continents competing for 32 available spots.

The winner will surely deserve the title of World Champions. For the last FIFA World Cup in 2010, 200 teams played a total of 853 matches, over the span of 4 years, as 32 teams qualified for South Africa. Even after 30 years of being an American Citizen I can’t watch an NFL game. I’ve absorbed almost everything “American.” I am very proud of my adopted country but its sports are anathema to me. I must be missing that gene. I did try. I thought it would make me seem straight or butch. Now I do not care. I just don’t get it.

The spectacle is reminiscent of the barbaric gladiator fights of ancient Rome. Muscle-bound specimens in helmets and heavy armor hell bent on trying to kill or maim their opponents. A match played in five seconds increments, probably because they can remember or execute only one play at a time. The game is constantly broken up by loud commercials and field interruptions. After 3 hours of terminal boredom the score is probably 21 to 6. A goal/touchdown sometimes counts for 6 points sometimes for 7, another ingenious American way of creating high scoring games. 21 to 6 in soccer lingo is simply 3-1.

Football players are referred to as athletes but they seem to be running out of stamina whenever called upon to run more than 60 yards at a time going constantly back to the sidelines for a Gatorade or an oxygen refill. And supposedly they are not allowed to use imagination or burst into spontaneous plays.

The coaches do all the thinking and they have to draw them on paper for the players to understand them. I prefer the symmetry, geometry, creativity and dance like coordination of soccer. It’s a beauty to watch unfold as inevitable as the waves of the ocean. By the time this column goes to print there will be approximately 5 months left before the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 13.The single biggest sporting event on earth. More than 750 million people watched the final game in 2010. That’s almost ten times the number that watched the Super Bowl that same year.

Come June 13, I’m taking off from work, I’m taking off from activism, I will not answer the phone or tweet, and my social and personal life will be put on hold until the winners, the real, true, World Champions lift the cup on July 13. Italy, my Azzurri, are four times World Champions. It will be extremely difficult to win a fifth title but let me dream for a few more months, or until they are eliminated. If and when that happens don’t talk to me, don’t call me, don’t come looking for me — unless you have an extra large supply of Xanax and a Blue Ray copy of “Bend it Like Beckham.”

Bill Shankly, a Scottish coach, once said: “Some people believe soccer is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Pier Angelo writes for South Florida Gay News, where this originally appeared.

More articles by:
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail