Conservative Hate Queen Ann Coulter just published an editorial in which she said that soccer is growing popularity in America is a “sign of the nation’s moral decay.” Coulter’s thesis sets up an article that would attempt to connect a bunch of hateful, conservative hoopla to American socio-political issues. But instead, the article just reads like a redneck rant about why “soccer sucks and American football rules,” which is just one thing Coulter has wrong.
Right now, the World Cup is going on. It’s the most-watched television event in the world. What makes the World Cup so great is that it gives people another chance to get behind their countries. It’s a cause that abandons politics, economy, and our differences. And that applies to Americans too.
Sports are the great unifier. When you walk into Fenway Park (Fenway Pahk), you’re not looking at white people, black people, hispanics, or anything else. All you see are Red Sox fans. All that matters is the game. The same thing is true with the U.S. World Cup team. Walk into any bar that’s showcasing the World Cup while America is playing, the same rule applies. Everyone cheers in tandem when we (yes, WE, everyone, America) score a goal, and everyone groans when we get scored on. All that matters is the game.
But, according to Coulter, soccer isn’t like other sports. She insists that it’s a “sissy” sport because you can’t use your hands, it’s foreign, and there’s no “prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury.” She believes that sports are “sublimated warfare.” That’s not a sports mindset; that’s an American football mindset.
Not to knock American football, I love watching it, but we need to acknowledge the sport for what it’s become: an over-the-top, hyperemotional spectacle. But that’s why we love it.
But baseball isn’t that, and neither is hockey. There’s no boasting, just shut your mouth and play, and it’s the same attitude with soccer.
Coulter isn’t a sports fan, nor does she seem to understand the game. Sports in America have come a long way to become the unifier they are since the day that Jackie Robinson first stepped onto Ebbets Field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Of course, soccer isn’t breaking down racial barriers or anything, but it definitely adds to the enrichment of America’s weakened sense of community the way sports is supposed to.
The World Cup is giving Americans something to stand behind, which is an opportunity this country doesn’t have too many of. And if Americans who are standing behind a soccer team that represents their country is moral decay, then let America rot in peace. At least we’ll be cheering and half-drunk while it’s happening.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.