​Don't be fooled into caring about the World Cup

Christian Raja reacts while watching the United States vs. Belgium World Cup game, July 1, 2014, in the Dumbo neighborhood of the Brooklyn, N.Y. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Even though it ended in defeat, Tuesday's World Cup match between the U.S. and Belgium attracted more than 16 million viewers. Doesn't sound like Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri would have been among them:

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Columnist Alexandra Petri.
Washington Post
Friends, don't be fooled by the hype. You do not have to care about the World Cup, for several reasons.

First: It's soccer. I know they call it football, but it's clearly not football. There's nowhere near enough concussions, and the only tight end in the game belongs to David Beckham.

No, it's soccer. And soccer used to be something you could stop caring about after you turned nine. You played it as a kid, because, like ballet, soccer is something you can teach a three-year-old to do badly without having to put in a whole lot of effort. But then you get your trophy for participation, and you stopped.

Second, watching soccer is always miserable. You spend what feels like eight years of your life watching people run back and forth across the field, while nothing happens, so you think it's safe to turn away for a second to get a snack and THAT'S when there's a goal!

It takes a kind of constant vigilance with zero payoff that I thought I could save for child-rearing.

I know other sports are not perfect, but at least in hockey people carry big sticks, like Teddy Roosevelt would have wanted.

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Goalie Tim Howard of the United States did not use a big stick once during the World Cup.
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

At least in baseball you can look away because nothing exciting ever happens.

Furthermore, the World Cup is un-American. Explicitly so. It says "World" in the name!

And if I wanted to spend 90 minutes watching foreigners beat us, I would just leaf very slowly through our students' international math and science test results. If I wanted to cheer for France against Germany, or Italy against Turkey, I'd go re-enact World War I -- which sounds like a fun weekend, compared to watching soccer.

The Olympics are fine. At least they're over quickly, and we only have to watch Americans do things we're good at. The World Cup goes on for weeks, and by the time it is over we have been forced to cheer for Germany.

This is just wrong.

We are America, and the last several foreign conflicts aside, we are only supposed to get involved in things that we can win.

Don't give in! We don't have to watch the World Cup. It may be the world's favorite sport. But we aren't the world. We are America.


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