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THE WORLD BOGRAKAB CUP

For at least a quarter-century now, I've been hearing the same mantra from soccer enthusiasts:  "Every little kid in America plays soccer.  When they grow up, soccer will be more popular than football or baseball."

This hasn't happened and never will happen.  Kids love to run around and kick a ball.  Watching grown-ups do it has all the drama of watching paint dry. 

A majority of Americans will not pay much attention to the World Cup this month while the rest of the world goes bananas about it because "soccer" should really be named "bograkab" – bunch-of-guys-running-around-kicking-a-ball.

Here's a synopsis of most every period of most every professional soccer game ever played:

Run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball – never score. 

Run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball – never score. 

Run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball, run around kick a ball – never score.

It doesn't get more exciting in sports than this.  Except for curling.

So – now that I have all soccer fans totally enraged (something that's very easy to do, by the way), let's talk for real about why soccer will never be a competitor to football or baseball or basketball for the hearts of American sports fans.

Bograkab, for Americans, has no drama.  I know that bograkab, sorry, soccer, oh, sorry again, futbol, aficionados will vehemently deny this and say this just shows no understanding of how galactically dramatic the game truly is.

Yet all this denial shows is a fundamental lack of understanding of the American sports fan's concept of drama.

Not the sports fan of any other culture.  Not all those cultures filled with folks for whom bograkab is the ultimate in drama.  The American sports fan.  Remember, we're talking about America, here, not some other place.

The drama that appeals to Americans has to involve a certain kind of pace.  It has to have periods of intense action followed by periods of rest where one can think, analyze, and anticipate what will happen in the next period of action.

Football – American football, college and professional – is an ultimate expression of this.  There is a play with incredibly complex athletic choreography.  Then there is a huddle where the players plan the next play while the fans get time to think about it:  "It's third and long – they've got to pass," etc.  The drama builds.  What will happen?  When the next play explodes with action, the fan gets to think again, comparing his analysis to what took place.

Baseball has the same pace and drama, albeit slower.  Thus baseball can be agonizingly boring on television.  Baseball has a human dimension that can only be appreciated in person, at the game, in the stands, where the excitement and drama are palpable, are physically felt.  You can't feel that through the TV.  You have to be there.

Basketball does not have this pace and drama.  It makes up for it by high scoring.  Try to imagine how exciting a basketball game would be in which each team scored one or two baskets for the whole game.  Basketball games over which fans got deliriously excited because the teams scored four or five baskets in total.  Think you'd be glued to the TV watching?

Now let's imagine a basketball game not in a small auditorium with the fans up close and looking right down on the players, but in an immense stadium with the crowd far away.  How exciting would it be to watch, preferably with binoculars, the players going up and down the court rarely if ever scoring a basket?

Run around bounce the ball, run around bounce the ball, round around bounce the ball – never score.  Wow – that would almost be as exciting as… bograkab.  An endless pointless frenzy with little or no payoff.

So, I make no apologies as an American in thinking bograkab is stupefyingly boring to watch and will not be interested in the outcome of the World Cup.  We can wish the rest of the world well and happy viewing.  Have fun and enjoy the games.  Just leave us alone while you're having so much fun.

And if your fun turns in to riotous rage and bloodshed, don't bother blaming America.  We're not interested.