Americans, as a whole, have never embraced soccer.
My brother and I were discussing that just the other night. Now my little brother left Arkansas a few years ago and headed to North Carolina to establish his career as an optometrist. Henceforth, then, I shall refer to him as The Defector.
Anyway, The Defector and I came up with a few simple rules changes that will help soccer achieve popularity here in the United States. When The Hawg and The Defector put their minds to something, you can just bet that sheer genius results.
The problem, as we figure it, is two-fold for soccer. First of all, we've already got a couple of slow moving, boring games in the U.S. -- baseball and pro basketball during the regular season (we all know those NBA fellows run at about half speed until they get to the playoffs, right?) I love baseball, but the pace is decidedly slow.
Soccer has the same problem -- pass, pass, kick, pass, shoot on goal, miss, kick, kick, pass. Yes, it goes on forever and scoring is rare. If you want methodical strategy and a relaxed pace, baseball is your game here. For the people who can't handle all the fun and excitement of baseball, you've got golf. I won't really address golf here. Golf on television sucks.
Second, soccer has a lot to compete with, doesn't it? Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, NASCAR, golf, arena league football, tennis -- the list goes on and on. In order to compete, a sport really has to stand out from everything else, right?
The Defector and I have come up with a few, simple modifications to make soccer the fun, riot-inducing game we know it can be. Here, briefly, are the suggested changes that will make soccer as popular in the U.S. as it is in the rest of the world:
Tripping and kicking are legal
That's right. Players are allowed -- hell, encouraged, to trip and kick each other. What could be more exciting than that? No longer will the player he purposefully trips an opponent be greeted with some sissy referee waving a little card around. No, that player will be cheered!
Just imagine. Player A is kicking a ball down the field. Player B arrives, trips Player A and then steals the ball. What's more, Player B pauses long enough to kick Player A when he's down. Who wouldn't get excited over that?
Of course, players would be discouraged from using their hands -- that's just keeping with tradition. Still, just about all kinds of contact would be allowed, yet outright punching would be discouraged.
The key word here, of course, is discouraged -- punching wouldn't be illegal per se, but one player hitting another would lead to some nasty consequences that would thrill audiences but likely run up players' hospital bills. What's that consequence? The mandatory brawl.
So, let's say one player does punch another. What happens? Why, the mandatory brawl rule comes into play. As soon as one player punches another (with the exception of goalies -- more on that in a bit), both teams are required to fight each other.
Yes, as soon as a punch is thrown, a bench-clearing brawl is to take place immediately. Any players that don't join in the brawl are heavily fined and the team with the most number of players not participating in the fight automatically forfeits the game.
Goals and goalies
One of the major problems with soccer, of course, is that not enough points are scored. Everyone loves to see high-scoring games, after all. Just look at how much people prefer home runs in baseball to the "old" game in which teams strategically hit singles and doubles in order to advance runners.
So, we make the goals in soccer big. Really big. Big enough to cover the entire end of the field, in fact. Yes, we'll see plenty of goals scored then.
Ah, but we need more people to defend those goals, right? So we have two goalies instead of one and those goalies have an additional ability -- they can punch other players with no consequence. Goalies have always been able to use their hands, after all, so let's take that ability to the logical extreme.
Taunting and celebrating
To hell with good sportsmanship. Under the proposed The Hawg/The Defector rules, players will be encouraged to taunt each other. Going back to our Player A/Player B example, let's say that Player B wants to gloat a bit over his victory.
"You suck and your mother is a filthy whore!" Player B yells as Player A is lying on the ground.
There's no problem at all there. In fact, if fans are lucky, Player A would get angry, get off the ground and punch Player B, thus bringing the mandatory brawling rule into play and giving fans a real treat.
Also, players are more than free to engage in excessive celebrations after scoring goals. They can sing, dance and openly mock the other team. Riling the opposing team will likely result in punches being thrown often, thus enacting our mandatory brawling rule once again.
If these rules were put in place for soccer in the U.S., you'd players would become celebrities over night and the sport would start to dominate in this country.
Yes, The Hawg and The Defector may have just saved soccer's future in America. Hopefully, we'll be compensated well as soon as our plan is enacted. Moreover, those soccer riots in other countries will look like tea parties compared to the outright wars fans will start here as they react emotionally to the extreme violence on the field.
Want more nonsense? Check out Part 2 by clicking right here!