In response to Ann Coulter - what's right about soccer, the metric system (and opposable thumbs) - brnd.ws
Ann Coulter, let me start by saying, thank you! From a European heart to an American heart, thank you! After several years living in the United States, it’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around the American stereotypes I grew up with in Europe. But inevitably something like this piece of Stereotype Art comes around, and life becomes normal again. I just have to frame it and mail it to my European friends, for them to read it over a cheese and wine breakfast.
Ann, I understand you are worried about your country’s moral values. I fear something more serious might be happening. If you honestly think soccer can be the trigger to America’s moral decay, you might as well tell me you were cryopreserved in the 1800s and were just brought to life. If that’s the case, I recommend you starting with simple concepts like selfie, snapchat, or gun violence epidemic. For now, I will stick to your article.
Where should I start? Maybe with your first sentence. You start with a joke about “the length of the average soccer game” being about a decade. Let’s get the facts right. With rare exceptions, a soccer game has 2 halves of 45 minutes each (and no commercial breaks!), with a 15 minute break. Do the math and you’ll see that it is shorter than any other major sport event in the US.
You make a big deal about individual achievement, because God save us from bringing socialism to the most sacred corner of American culture – Sports. In fact, in (European) soccer there is no limit to how much or how little a player can make. You know why, Ann? Because there are no real unions in European sports.(!) That’s why players like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can make $20M+ while other players in their teams will make less than $1M. No salary cap, no floor. It’s what we call free market and meritocracy. If an individual’s performance is outstanding, good for him. Sucks for bad players like myself. Oh! And we do have MVP awards, but you know what players like better than MVP awards? Titles and a fatter check at the end of the month. Ask Peyton Manning.
Ann, you worry about spreading blame around. Let me tell you this, blame is NEVER “dispersed” in soccer. In soccer, you blame bad results in 3 people, and 3 people only – coach, referee, goalkeeper. I’m sure you’ve seen coaches and referees in American sports. The coach is the guy in suit who’s yelling at everyone; the referee is the guy in funny uniform who’s being yelled at by everyone. If you want this in your football terms, you bench the quarterback, you blame the ref, then fire the coach, but you never boo the center. Call it select accountability.
You seem unimpressed by the fact that “you can’t use your hands in soccer”. Ann, that’s why we call it FOOT-ball. Why do you call it football in America? Also, goalkeepers in soccer are very skilled at using their hands, especially when you consider that everyone is trying to kick the ball away from them. What?!? Go figure!
Anyhow, apparently this all comes down to the Europeans’ unwillingness to use their opposable thumbs because, (and Ann, I’m not joking, you really wrote this) “what sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs”. We are primates with a soul! I think this might be an epiphany. Right now there’s a rhinoceros in Africa thinking, “That’s why I had to stick to soccer and was never called to the football team. No opposable thumbs!” I’m sure football players around the US are thanking you for having their opposable thumbs in such high regard.
A few final words regarding the metric system. I feel your frustration. It must be really hard for people with inch-wide opposable thumbs to cope with European beasts who can only add and subtract zeros. As you say, 1 foot = “the length of a man’s foot” = 30.5 cm = 13.5 US man shoe size. I’m guessing that’s the average foot size in America. It’s a little smaller in Europe, maybe that’s why. Likewise, 1 yard = “the length of a man’s belt” = 91 cm, likely pre-McDonald’s.
So why the metric system? As you point out, if the guillotine-happy French revolutionaries were so busy mass murdering countrymen, why did they have to go out of their way and adopt a system that was “based on the principles of logic and natural phenomena”? I’m quoting here the barbaric French revolutionaries. The actual metric system was developed through the 1500s and 1600s, not during the French revolution. You know who was one of the early supporters of this system? A guy called Thomas Jefferson in 1790. You might recognize the name.
Finally, Ann, no soccer fan around the world cares if Americans are watching soccer. Soccer is already the most popular sport in the world, despite what ratings in the United States might say (vide USA ≠ World). We fans call it “the beautiful game”. I would tell you to go watch a game or two, but I’m guessing your great-grandfather was born in the US.