Four years ago last week, I wrote a piece in these pages about the World Cup in which I expressed my enthusiasm for soccer and encouraged anyone hating on the sport to give it a go.
Though my vuvuzela has been decommissioned, I'm even more entrenched this time around. My girlfriends and I haven't been able to watch the Cup together like we did in 2010, due to our day jobs, but we've spent many of the games furiously texting each other (sorry, day jobs). Aside from a spoiler suffered by one member of our group who happened to be on a 10-second delay while streaming an early match, our communications have been nearly as exciting and hilarious as the comments of the announcers. For sure, ours have been more depraved.
Of course, we've texted about shots on goal, botched crosses, close calls, bad calls, lack of calls and the art of flopping (trophy to Brazil's Neymar) versus serious injury (Dr. Belfer diagnosed Dempsey's broken nose on instant-replay impact). But we've also done our fair share of ewwwing at the booger-eating German coach and objectifying the players. We've covered the hotness of the Netherlands team; Mexico's hero, Ochoa (my God, Ochoa!); and Messi, perhaps the best player ever (I'd like to snuggle with Lionel at the top of a Ferris wheel at dusk while feeding each other cotton candy). And, too, note has been made of the slow-motion replays of flopping man junk, if you know what I'm saying.
Maybe Glenn Beck was right back in 2010, when he was blowing eyeball veins over soccer, a thing more offensive and vulgar than public breastfeeding or American-flag thong underwear worn inside out. Soccer, to him, is all things evil. And if by "evil," he means the retired Luis Figo, then I would have to agree—one look at the man can fill a nun's head with the sinfullest of sinful thoughts.
The 2014 World Cup hasn't received so much of Beck's ire that I'm aware of, but Ann Coulter filled the void last week with a screed of her own.
In her retread of how the sport is shoved down the collective American throat, Coulter managed to also take digs at girls, moms, Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, the metric system, public schools, Ted Kennedy's 1965 immigration law and America's changing demographics. She didn't skewer any puppies, but she did bemoan the lack of hockey-like violence in the boring, ninny, no-individuality sport. Seeing as how Uruguay's Luis Suarez has some free time on his hands, someone should set her up on a date with him. Just warn him that he'd damn well better speak American before enjoying his fava beans and chianti.
"Any growing interest in soccer is a sign of the nation's moral decay," Coulter wrote.
Now, she's not talking about the issue of rampant gun violence in our country or our elected officials' unwillingness to enact legislation to rein it in, even as the public increasingly, overwhelmingly, favors it.
She's not talking about the minors—including 6-, 7- and 8-year-old children—flocking in unprecedented numbers to our borders from South America all by themselves. (As a friend of mine wrote to me, "Think about how insane things would have to be at home for you to send your 8-year-old by himself traveling 1,000s of miles across Mexico to reach the US. Most kids here aren't even allowed to walk to the corner store alone.")
Coulter also isn't talking about the hundreds of mostly white Escondidians who missed Jeopardy! and braved the elements, crossing town in their air-conditioned cars last week to sardine themselves inside their City Council chambers for the express purpose of not-in-my-backyarding the proposed 96-bed shelter for such children. Nor is she talking about the Escondido Planning Commission that voted unanimously to nix it.
Coulter, who is perhaps the Queen of the Depraved, isn't talking about the real signs of our nation's moral decay. She is talking about fútbol because she can write her inane flubberdeegubb with all the misplaced indignant outrage and still be syndicated. That alone irks me way more than the term "fútbol" could ever irk her.
Is it so wrong that I'd like Coulter to make an earthly exit à la Joffrey Baratheon? Or, barring that, that I'd like her to walk across an endless desert all by herself? At the very least, I'd like her to endure a future of wobbly restaurant tables, Internet videos that endlessly buffer and a perpetually scratched contact lens.
There are many people who just aren't feeling the soccer thing, who share Coulter's view that soccer is a sport for wussies. "At what age do male soccer players spontaneously sprout a vagina?" was one status update that found its way to my Facebook feed, as if having a vagina is a symbol of weakness.
It's fine with me if Coulter and others want to dismiss soccer as silliness for wimps because everyone "just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in." Sort of how golfers whack their clubs around and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally falls in, right? Clearly, these are the most stupid arguments in the history of stupid arguments.
When it comes to the downfall of our nation, soccer doesn't really matter because, even as the fan base grows, it's still only a game. Even with its inherent drama, on the spectrum of all things depraved and vile and lacking in humanity, soccer doesn't even register.