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June 15, 2010

30 Days of Dads: Laid-Off Dad, "Follow The Bouncing Truncated Icosahedron"

Laid-Off Dad may well be the original* dadblog. The man behind the curtain, Doug French, started it way back in 2003, when people still listened to Linkin Park and Peter Jackson still looked like a hobbit. He's remained remarkably consistent, and continues to put out well-written, insightful and funny posts. You new kids on the scene, you could learn a lot from him. Here, Doug takes a hard look at soccer, a sport beloved by millions of 8-year-olds and Ghanese alike.

*We realize you may have started your dadblog before Doug started his. We don't care. His mastheads are still better than yours.

The other day my boys and I were enjoying some Mancave Time when we had the choice of watching the World Cup or a baseball game. I wanted to show the kids a bit about the global spectacle of Copa Mondial, so I switched it on. And as they were settling in, I thought of the debate that has beset man for decades: Which is more boring: soccer or baseball?

Guys, there is no debate. 

Soccer is just terribly, terribly dull. People argue that soccer’s action never stops, but there’s a difference between “action” and “running back and forth.” When The New York Times tries to live-blog World Cup matches, they manage about a dozen entries in 90 minutes. And that includes … gasp! …substitutions!

I have nothing against goal-based sports. I love hockey and lacrosse, which have action to burn. Soccer, by comparison, is like spinning a bunch of wooden tops on a nok-hockey board. And besides, how exciting can a sport be when 1) you can capture its essence in table format (hello, foosball!), and 2) the table format has more scoring?

Even as I’m typing this, I just saw two last-inning nail-biters as South Carolina and Florida State advanced to the College World Series. Conversely, when Germany went up 2-nil against Australia, half of Sydney figured they might as well start channel-surfing for Home and Away reruns.

I also know that soccer players are amazing athletes, whereas Prince Fielder looks like he’s eaten a few. And the World Cup is far more globe-encompassing than the World Series will ever be. But time is precious, and time with my boys is even more so. If I’m going to commit to quality spectator time with them, I’d at least like to be sure that someone will have won when it’s over.

So come on, soccer nuts. I know you’ve got passion. So bring it. But please keep your voices down, OK? Slovenia-Algeria is on, and the kids are asleep.



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