- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I won’t go so far as Jonathan Chait’s high-school football coach and dismiss soccer as a “communist homosexual activity,” but I will cop to not understanding why the sport is such a combustible global phenomenon.

Maybe it’s that I see soccer through American lenses: I see it as an anodyne alternative to rougher, less egalitarian sports like football.

Whatever the reason, I simply can’t gin up any enthusiasm about the World Cup. Schematically, soccer is played much like ice hockey — only much slower and on the far more forgiving surface of grass. And unlike hockey, soccer players don’t have to master skating or the use of a stick.

I’m not saying soccer doesn’t require grace, dexterity or grit. Obviously it does — and given the size of professional soccer fields, it probably requires more stamina than any activity short of marathon running.

But does it require as much grace as hockey? As much dexterity as basketball? As much grit as football?

Tell me: What am I missing?

I hereby invite readers to give me a pro-soccer shellacking.

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