I love soccer as a sport. I played it growing up and only quit when it started getting serious (too many elbows to the head in one game and I figured it just wasn’t what I was looking for any more – it gets nasty in the box). So it concerns me that here in the good ol’ US of A many people do not seem to appreciate it.
What I started thinking about was that each goal in soccer is something very special, more special than any single thing to any other game in another sport.
As I thought about this over the last few days the NBA finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics have been going on. [Full discloser: I don’t love basketball, though this may have something to do with the Knicks being horrible.] However, I only watch the last quarter of those games. Sure great plays happen all game, but it always seems to come down to who can make the biggest plays at the end. There is a great quote by Jordan which is something like, “It is not enough to play well, you have to have something left to finish with.” The game goes to whichever player or whichever team makes the plays at the end; the first three quarters are just a preamble.
Putting this all together, watching soccer is like watching the last 10 minutes of a basketball game, but for the full 90+ minutes. The individual or team plays that lead to a goal are like the critical brilliant plays that Bryant makes at the end to edge out the other team. It is this brilliance that can happen at any moment which makes soccer so exciting.