Soccer doesn’t always suck

I’m not a big soccer fan. I enjoy watching my kids’ games, but other than that, I just don’t watch it. I’ve tried to get into it when the World Cup is on, figuring that if I’m ever going to watch soccer, I may as well watch these guys since they’re the best in the world. But I just can’t. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a rooting interest – neither Canada (my home country) nor Scotland (that of my parents), are ever in the running so I generally don’t care who wins. I also find that soccer just isn’t that exciting a game to watch on TV, and the fact that soccer players are the worst divers I’ve seen in any sport doesn’t help. But when I got the opportunity to get some tickets to last weekend’s Toronto FC game match, I took advantage of it and got tickets for me and the boys – Gail was away for the weekend or she would have come too.

I’ve seen a number of musical groups live that I really enjoyed, but I don’t listen to them otherwise. Leahy is a good example – they are fantastically talented musicians and I really enjoyed watching them play, even though it’s not generally my kind of music. At the show I got all excited and I bought a CD of theirs, but I almost never listen to it. Similarly, I rarely listen to the soundtrack of Les Misérables, which is one of my favourite musicals. It seems universally true that live music is better than recorded music, and it’s similarly true of sports. I can’t think of too many sporting events that wouldn’t be better to see live than on TV so I figured the same might be true of soccer, and I was right. Maybe it was the rooting interest in the home team, or maybe it was the atmosphere (much louder than a Rock, Jays, or even Leafs game despite being outdoors), or maybe it was surprise at the fact that a sporting event can be exciting despite a single goal over the course of 90+ minutes. Most likely it was a combination of all of these but whatever the reason, I enjoyed the game.

Watching soccer live gives you a better overall view of the plays and how things are set up. It’s not just “kick the ball towards the opposing net and hope that either (a) you get a clear shot or (b) one of your teammates randomly ends up in a good spot and he gets a clear shot”. Now I’m no idiot, I know that professional soccer isn’t like that at all, but on TV, you just don’t (or at least I don’t) see that as well.

The next time the World Cup rolls around I will, in all likelihood, ignore it again. But if I get another opportunity to see a Toronto FC game, I might just go.


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