Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is This Any Way to Decide a Championship?

The Beer Snob and I partake in some good-natured ribbing about sports, namely futball vs football. He loves the former while I love the latter, though recent developments make me wonder just how much I care.

So yesterday I decided to give his sport of sports a try and watch the UEFA Championship, which pitted Chelsea vs. Manchester United. Everybody was making a big deal about how this was the first all English final in some time (maybe ever) but I believe one team is owned by Tampa Bay Bucs owners the Grazers and the other is owned by some Russian dude, so how "all English" can it be?

Admittedly, when I say "watch" what I really mean is that I hooked up our new DVR cable box (the old one stopped pausing and playing recorded programs and live stuff) and had it on while I was running around the house doing other stuff like taking pictures for eBay and the Kinski blog. Naturally, this meant that I missed not one, but both goals that took place during the game's meandering running time. (I still don't understand the way soccer futball is timed, but whatever.)

So here's my question... is a penalty kick contest really the best way to decide a championship? I've read comments on other blogs about how "exciting" this was but it basically comes down to a guessing game between the goalie and kicker. In most cases the kicker is shooting the ball into an open net because the goalie is sucking turf twenty feet away from the ball. How exactly is this deciding which is the better team?

The only equivalents I can think of would be if you decided the Super Bowl with a field goal kicking contest, the NBA Finals with a free-throw shootoff or the World Series with a game of home run derby.

Soccer. Just don't get it.


SC said...

Like you, I don't get unamerican football at all. And like you, I heard big things about this match, so I watched it for about 30 minutes while I was on the treadmill. I caught from about the 50th minute to about the 85th minute and in that time the action was stopped no less than 3,245 times because of some foul, infraction, mugging, flop, injury, or other action or inaction. All I could think of was how could it be possible to enjoy something where the action is stopping no more than every 10 seconds for just about any reason.

Ironically, that's the argument unamerican football fans have used to prove why their version is better than ours. They actually claim that since the clock doesn't stop running the action doesn't stop either. WTF.

But that just leads to another problem for me: no one knows exactly when the match is supposed to end except for the referees because of all the stoppages.

And all that is before even getting into the way this particular match was decided!

Dan said...

Glad I'm not alone on this. You're right... the big argument I always get is how the action stops in the NFL and soccer players are such great athletes, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but if you want non-stop action the NHL blows soccer so far out of the water it's not even funny.

The Daily Breather said...

I heartily agree wit Dan (go Wings!) but NHL is also decided at the end with free shots. Granted, it is more rare in "hawkey" (say it like a Yooper!) and it's more of a skill test (in my opinion) for an NHL goalie to block a free shot because he doesn't have to commit to a blind dive as much as a soccer goal keeper.

But yea, I saw the match yesterday. It was a good match, actually. One thing I can give international futbal crowds though, they're true fanatics in the literal sense. I love the soccer chants and the loyalty (even if they are owned by the Bucs)

John said...

I dunno. I myself could never get into our own football. I've always been kind of bored with it, simply for the way the last ten minutes of the game can stretch out for seemingly half an hour. With soccer, yeah, the action does stop a bit, but it would just make me nervous because the clock doesn't and the players are just wasting time. That might be it: I find soccer a little more interesting because I know it'll end sooner than later! But it's all relative, because I'm not the sports-watching kind of person anyway, so saying I'd rather watch soccer than US football is like saying I'd rather eat a Soyjoy than a Larabar. I'd eat the Soyjoy if I had to, not the Larabar, but I wouldn't go out of my way for either.