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January 31, 2004
How did I miss this?

Bill Whittle describes the first set of Basic Skills in his "Building the Ideal American" series.

The ability to hit a baseball is what separates Americans from Animals and Socialists. It has been often said that there is no more difficult task in sports, for the very best practitioners in history are successful less than 4 times out of ten.

This ability to measure real success in the face of repeated failure is a core element of the Ideal American; therefore, we recommend that all Ideal Americans be able to hit a flying sphere with a wooden or aluminum stick.

This was published two weeks ago... how did I miss it?

SOCCER is also not recommended for the Ideal American, although it is immensely popular over every square inch of land beyond the US border. You will soon discover that Soccer is a complete mystery to your Ideal American. This is certainly not due to it’s complexity; soccer has two rules, one strategy, and can be instantly understood by amphibians and mollusks.

No, Soccer baffles your American because it so obviously reeks of incompetence, and this is deeply unsettling to all Ideal Americans. Your American will rapidly progress from shocked, to confused, to dismayed as he or she watches a team of eleven or twelve or however many they have run back and forth for an hour and a half on a field the size of New Jersey and still not be able to put a ball the size of a small pumpkin into a goal the size of an aircraft carrier at least two or three hundred times.

I guess I've been preoccupied. Shame on me.

Go read the whole thing.

Posted by Russ at 11:59 PM, January 31, 2004 in Bloggery

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Perhaps the reason why the Ideal American is shocked , confused, and dismayed is because for some reason, he can't figure out why he can't seem to win and soccer games outside his own borders...

Posted by: Jason Wall at January 31, 2004 10:46 PM

I might buy into that rationale... but then I think of all the sports competitions Americans routinely win outside our borders.

American soccer teams don't win because most Americans recognize soccer for the enormous waste of time that it is, and therefore don't dedicate themselves to it. You usually have to have a large active base of athletes from which to recruit a world-class team.

As BW noted,

Soccer baffles your American because it so obviously reeks of incompetence, and this is deeply unsettling to all Ideal Americans.
Making a world-class competetive sport out of kicking a ball -- and doing it poorly, as evidenced by the average scoreboard -- makes as much sense as awarding Olympic medals for long distance spitting. Heck, Americans on average would probably be more interested in spitting contests.

Yes, yes, soccer players are incredibly athletic. I've known a number of very good players, particularly the missionaries' kids I knew in college. They just need a different sport -- one which has an actual point to it -- in which to participate and compete.

Posted by: Russ at February 1, 2004 12:24 AM

Well-put slams on soccer! I liked Frank DeFord's comments on NPR a few months ago. He was asked why Americans don't like soccer, and he replied that we prefer games usings the hands, noting, "Use of the hands is what separates us from the beasts of the field."

Posted by: John Cunningham at February 3, 2004 02:50 PM

I was prevented from commenting because my comment had "questionable content." I find it hard to believe that you can profess American virtues, while stifle freedom of speech.

Posted by: Algernon at February 21, 2005 09:10 PM

Actually, your comment contained a common spam word - "c i a l i s." I have MT-Blacklist configured to automatically reject typical spam keywords.

So if you're spamming: don't.

I don't block comments based on opinion, merely on spam-likelihood (though I reserve the right to delete questionable content, as I there are children who read this site.)

Posted by: Russ at February 21, 2005 11:21 PM