Dave Eggers Explains American Soccer


posted by Amy

Soccer is the only sport I ever played by choice, so I like to pretend that I'm interested in the World Cup because I understand the game, albeit on a (very) amateur level. I watch on the local Spanish-language channel and enjoy seeing strong, fit, and often downright beautiful men running up and down the field while I lounge on the couch. Add some peanut butter M&Ms to the mix, and what more could I ask for?

I even like the commercials shown during the televised matches, especially the one with the kids choosing pro players for their teams and then playing on a dirt soccer field. It reminds me of my brother Alexandre, who was living in a Brazilian orphanage when my parents and siblings and I arrived in Sao Paulo to adopt him and his brother and sister. Alex was one of those kids who would make a soccer ball out of trash if he needed to; watching him, I realized why soccer is popular around the world: you don't need much to play, just a ball, some space, and some players. (And yes, to an overprivileged American twenty-year-old, that DID seem like the realization of the century, thankyouverymuch.)

Dave Eggers helps explain the American attitude toward soccer here. Hint: Eggers thinks "flopping" is what troubles Americans about the sport, and/or the fact that America didn't invent it. But you know what? I kind of enjoy watching the guys overacting whenever they get tripped or, you know, bumped into. Those people who say nothing happens in soccer just aren't paying attention to the high drama inherent in the art of "flopping."