Or football. Or fútbol. Or whatever you wanna call it. I call it soccer, because I’m an American who also enjoy American Football, and otherwise things would get too complicated in my brain.

I love soccer. I don’t exactly know why, or how, or when it started (I think my first introduction to FIFA back on PS2 probably had something to do with it), but a lot of my friends and family love soccer, too, and it’s this nice little thing going on in my life.

Except this “little thing” is the biggest sport in the world. People go crazy for it, and with good reason. In terms of versatility, it’s easily the simplest game to get started playing that I’ve ever come across. You don’t even need a ball; stuff a bunch of socks together, or find an old cabbage, or tie an dirty shirt around a rock. If you can kick it, you can play soccer with it. Sadly, this is actually one of the reasons why it’s so accessible: even in third world countries, the poorest children can always find something to kick around with their friends. Anyone anywhere can get a pickup game started. I once played a game in Mexico with the crew of a cruise ship I was vacationing on. We had guys speaking Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Italian, and various forms of English, but it didn’t matter. These are your teammates; that is your goal; score.

Economic and social considerations aside, there’s a real practical aspect to my enjoyment of soccer. I’m a fairly patient person. I don’t mind multitasking, but I’m not someone who worries about ADD or continually having to switch my attention to something else. All of which is to say: I HATE COMMERCIALS. If I’m watching a game, I want to be watching that game. I don’t want to be constantly interrupted by cars and burgers and bathroom cleaners and investment banks and every other possible thing. Most modern soccer stadiums have scrolling sideline advertisements, and that’s more than enough for me. I love the idea of watching 45 minutes of soccer, taking a 15-minute break, and then watching 45 minutes more. It makes sense to me. I watch TV the same way (thanks dvr/Netflix!), and while I can appreciate a good highlight in many other sports, I can’t handle the commercials.

And then there’s the game itself. Some of the most beautiful bits of athletic skill, some of the most fantastically improbable achievements in the history of the physical body, have occurred on a soccer pitch. There are bicycle kicks, headers, long range bullets, intimate bits of trickery, ridiculous displays of agility, and otherwise virtually unexplainable phenomena on almost a weekly basis. There are so many games being played around the world, how could there not be?

This weekend the Barclays Premier League, the highest tier of soccer in England, kicks off its 22nd season, and for the above reasons and many more, I CANNOT WAIT. Come on you Gunners!


Remember, if you want to suggest a topic for next week’s “500 Words On…” you can do so in the comments!

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