Ann Coulter's recent article "America's Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer" is two things. First, it is an example of that shrill uncouthness that Europeans like to attribute to Americans, an obnoxious boorishness that is typical behavior for those jerks, which are the subject of Dr. Fleming's numerous articles. Second, it is an exaggerated illustration of someone writing about a topic she has no idea about.
All of Coulter's arguments against soccer are easily demolished. First, she argues that "individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer" unlike in "real sports" like baseball, football, and basketball. Obviously, she has not seen too many (any?) soccer games. Soccer is all about individual achievement: scoring goals, missing penalties, deflecting shots - all of these things are done by individual players. Yes, teamwork does matter, as it should. After all, soccer is a team sport.
Ann Coulter's laughable cluelessness is further demonstrated by the following assertion about soccer:
There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability
Really, now? How about Jermaine Jones' stunning equalizer in the group stage game against Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal, which kept the American team alive - was he not a "hero" in sports terms? And how about Uruguay's star forward Luis Suarez's infamous bite, which got Suarez thrown out of the World Cup and resulted in Uruguay's loss to Colombia? Was Suarez not both a loser and a villain who was held accountable?
How about this other Coulter gem about the beautiful game:
Everyone just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in. That's when we're supposed to go wild. I'm already asleep.
By accident? Even a child should not be this ignorant about soccer. As for going to sleep, do not the replays after every football play and the sheer slow, sleep-inducing nature of baseball make a soccer match a nail-biting experience in comparison? After all, what is baseball's or football's equivalent to the adrenaline-fueled penalty shootout?
Then there is the assertion that "[t]he prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport", implying that soccer is not a "real" sport because of the absence of these crucial factors. What could be more humiliating than missing a penalty shot or being send off of the pitch - events that lead to your team's defeat or elimination. And who can forget the story of Colombian player Andres Escobar who was murdered a mere five days after deflecting a shot into his team's own goal at the 1994 World Cup. Apparently, Ann Coulter is so blinded by her anti-soccer rage that she completely forgot about that episode.
Overall, Coulter's raving attack on soccer is the kind of thing that makes America and the American Right (whatever is left of it) look like a bunch of shrill, clueless, obnoxious loonies. Calling a sport or its fans names is childish and silly. I hope that Ann Coulter, who makes good points on many other issues will not be remembered for her shabby column about soccer.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.