A soccer question

I watched the first half and the last 10 minutes of the US-England soccer match.  I enjoyed it, but mostly because I enjoy most sports and watching this match involved me sitting on my butt hiding out from my wife at a friend’s house instead of doing chores at home.  I can see myself rooting for the USA this year, but I doubt I will ever get that excited about soccer (and if the networks don’t figure out how to filter out that obnoxious hum coming from all the blow horns, they are not going to capture much of an audience).

My question for the day is this: How big is the intersection of NASCAR fans and World Cup fans?

For many of us Americans used to watching football and basketball, we need a good excuse (like hiding out from chores) to watch soccer.  No matter how many lectures we hear about how exciting it is even though there is almost no scoring, we just don’t get it.   But compared to NASCAR, a World Cup soccer game is like overtime of a NBA finals game.    They must sell prodigious amounts of alcohol at NASCAR events.  How else could a sane person tolerate it (around and around and around and around)?

But maybe a genetic ability to watch really boring sports can overcome the sociocultural dissonance that would occur from being simultaneously a World Cup fan and a NASCAR fan?  Has anyone met one?

I’ve always been afraid that if I start watching soccer, I’ll eventually lose my taste for beef,  start buying organic vegetables, and have a sudden desire to visit countries that don’t have enough brains or electricity to put ice cubes in my Diet Coke.   Soccer seems to be hugely popular with university professors, but I think very few of them actually watch soccer.  They just fake it.  They love soccer for the same reasons that they hate Dick Cheney.

I might say that they hate NASCAR for the same reasons.   But, then, it could be because of the around, and around, and around, and around…

6 thoughts on “A soccer question

  1. I agree: it will be unlikely to find a NASCAR fan who watches the World Cup… because most American soccer fans are either immigrants (so they don’t live in the South) or eurofiles (this is the positive rendering of “euro snobs”).

    But I suspect there are a lot of F1 fans who are soccer fans or even cycling fans (maybe a close European equivalent of NASCAR) who also watch soccer.

  2. I seem to be aligned with you ideologically, yet I LOVE the game and have played it all my life. Failing to see how this passion connects me to liberal professors (and similar nutjobs). And by the way, ratings have been up ~75% from previous WCs, according to my sources.

  3. You’re right that the affection for soccer among American academics is largely ‘second-hand’ and at some level fake (see Daniel Gross’s recent piece on his love of WC soccer in Slate–the true fans in the commentary section exposed it as a fraud).

    The irony of this affectation is, of course, that Americans are imitating the tastes of the rest of the world’s lower classes. No European academic I know is paying attention–well maybe a couple. At best it is reverse snobbism. I have no explanation for the attraction of NASCAR. It has to be the absolute dumbest “sport” on the face of the earth.

    I don’t get the connection between the of love soccer and hatred of Cheney. Are you implying that the hatred was affected?! My sense is the hatred was very real, and for the most part founded. His public defense of torture was a national disgrace; and we are now seeing destructive results of his and Bush II’s gutting of regulation for offshore rigs.

  4. Sorry to butt in on what is now an old post, but I just saw the link to this on The Sports Academic and I simply must chime in:

    My husband LOVES both NASCAR and soccer in general, World Cup in particular. How can it be? He has a French dad and an English mom and was born in Birmingham, AL.

    1. Awesome. Only in America!

      But If he held a NASCAR/World Cup party, could he find anyone else to come?

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