Post by SavoyBG Post by Bill B Post by Roger Ford Post by Bill B Post by Roger Ford
............for English Football!!
Congratulations to both these great teams----and for displaying for
all the world to see exactly why football is far and away the most
popular and most watched sport on this planet!!
I'd venture to speculate that that is due to the fact that all you need
to play in the way of equipment is a ball. That leads to its popularity
in underprivileged locales.
What? No, you need cleats, you need nets, you *definitely* need
referees, you need personal protective equipment...
Not to play sandlot style, which is what sews the seeds for interest in the
adult game. You need a ball. The rest can be bare feet, any space between
two markers. Referees? C'mon.
I've done baseball games in the past alongside a soccer field down in Rahway,
not far from you. Even with referees there were usually problems in the men's
soccer games, figthts and stuff.
Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey had a good story about teams that thought
they could play without umpires. It was like 1960 or so and he was working a
spring training game with a 3 man crew. They finished 9 innings and the teams
wanted to play another 3 innings. Doug was the crew chief, and they were
getting $75 each for the game. Doug told the teams that they would be willing
to stay and work the extra 3 innings for the same rate, $25 each for the
extra 3 innings. The teams scoffed at having to pay them to stay and said
that they did not need umpires and would play without them. So Doug and his 2
partners walked down to a small shed in the left field corner out of play to
change. They were not even in there 5 minutes when they heard all kinds of
commotion going on. They came out of the shed and the two teams were brawling.
There's a difference between organized sports leagues and kids playing
team games in the schoolyard or on an empty lot, and in most of the
world, and even in the U.S. until the last three decades or so, most
kids learn a sport by playing it with minimal equipment and no
supervision, the way I played softball, the way inner city kids still
play basketball, and the way, in most of the world, kids still first
play soccer. In Ethiopia, when I was there, kids played soccer just as
Bill described, with some facsimile of a ball, a couple of rags or
stones to mark the goals, and, literally, bare feet.
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