Here’s a fun little game for you. Type Manchester United into YouTube and on the first search result leave the following comment: “Man, what a great game of soccer!” Just another pointless yet completely harmless sentence deployed into the vast expanse of the interwebs, right? Well, not according to English “soccer” fans.
The relationship between the UK and the USA has always been something of an uneasy one. Although we share common ground and march headfirst into decisions together, we still aren’t entirely accepting of each other and as such exchanges between the citizens of both of our nations often devolve into playground hair-pulling and name-calling. By leaving the above YouTube comment you are thereby opening up a can of worms involving my country’s most honoured tradition: the humble pastime of watching a group of 22 multi-millionaires kicking a sphere into a net.
I’m not sure why it infuriates the English so much that you refer to our nation’s favourite sport as “soccer” rather than “football”: perhaps it’s because you use the latter to describe another of your own sports; perhaps it’s just because we enjoy a good ol’ fashioned moan. Either way it has become just another example of the “difference in interests” that often sees us at loggerheads with each other, and in a world filled with beer-drinking, headstrong men, it is our respective sports that often worm their way into conversation during the routine Yank vs. Brit penis-swinging competitions.
If you were going to judge the competition solely upon spirit, the yanks would win hands down. Whereas we watch the England national team step onto the pitch and already accept that they’re probably going to lose before anyone has even kicked a ball, you Americans kick off the Super Bowl by hiring Slash to fart fireworks while the Black Eyed Peas dry hump and fist bump their way through Indeterminable Crowd-Pleaser #97, as million dollar energy drink advertisements pummel the viewers’ eyeballs throughout. It’s all a little garish, yes, but God would I love to have that in English football.
The differences between UK sport and US sport are comparable with the changes from the original Star Wars trilogy to the prequels: the originals (UK sport) are mucky, worn around the edges but inherently charming and generally more fun to watch. On the other hand the prequels (US sport) are sleeker, shinier, yet missing the heart and soul that’s presumably buried somewhere beneath the 25 Mountain Dew commercials and Fiat sponsorships.
Watching coverage of UK sport is like watching an underdog movie unfold, as it is British nature to continuously root for the little guy, the blue-collar worker, and shun those with fame and fortune. However, watching coverage of US sport is just like watching the Gods duke it out atop Mount Olympus: no matter who wins or loses, they’re still f***ing immortal.
Although both nations do sport differently only one can stand triumphant, so without further ado I bring you the winner… the UK.
Hey, don’t blame this decision on me. If anything blame it on Nascar. I mean seriously, how do you guys even class that as a sport?!
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS