Ann Coulter, an American columnist who makes Richard Littlejohn and Donald Rumsfeld look like easy-going lefties, has finally written about football, having “held off on writing about soccer for a decade — or about the length of the average soccer game – so as not to offend anyone” (Note to Ann: a soccer game is 90 minutes long). It’s probably just an ingenious bit of trolling but I just couldn’t let it go, so here’s a point-by-point rebuttal. Ann says:

Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls — all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out, they’re standing alone at the plate. But there’s also individual glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam-dunks.

In soccer, the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child’s fragile self-esteem is bruised…

In football, players don’t “fumble” passes they misplace them. They don’t “throw bricks”, that would be dangerous and frankly bizarre. They do frequently kick the ball in a way that infuriates their teammates and supporters, though. In fact, individual responsibility is taken so seriously in football that players have even been killed for making an error in a game. You talk about “losers” and “accountability” but when has an American sports star paid the ultimate prize for a simple human error made during a game? I’m not going to be able to take your point about “losers” and “accountability” seriously until I see Tom Brady gunned down in the street for screwing up a touchdown pass.

You seem to think that football doesn’t champion the kind of rugged individualism so beloved by Americans, but “soccer” and “European socialism” are not one and the same thing. I like to watch 22 men dutifully tilling collectively owned wheat fields as much as the next man but I don’t call that watching a game of football, I call it reading a 19th century Russian novel.

Goals are football’s equivalent of slam-dunks, touchdowns or home runs, and when you score one, much glory comes your way.

Football, like baseball, basketball and American Football, is a team game which features star players. One of them is a Portuguese man called Ronaldo. He’s a bronze stallion, covered in gel, and whenever he scores hundreds of millions of people worship him like a God.

As for your desire to see the self-esteem of children crushed, perhaps I can suggest that our children have a play date. My kids can fight your kids (I propose the mace as a weapon) and the kids that lose will be mocked for the rest of the day, before being put in solitary confinement in the working model of Guantanamo Bay I’m sure you have in your garden.

 Do they even have MVPs in soccer?

Yes. I timed it and it takes 4 seconds to Google “Soccer MVP”.

The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare. As Lady Thatcher reportedly said after Germany had beaten England in some major soccer game: Don’t worry. After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game.

Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game — and it’s not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.

Since your ideal sport seems to be the “sport” of Europe-wide warfare as practiced by Britain and Germany once upon a time, it seems odd to me that you would champion baseball and basketball, neither of which are high on blitzkriegs.

In terms of personal disgrace, don’t worry! Players are constantly dishonouring the noble names of their forefathers by letting goals in, biting other players, misplacing passes, getting sent off, spitting at the referee or generally being shit.

In terms of physical injury, one German goalkeeper played a game with a broken neck  and players have actually died on the pitch, as well as regular breaking crucial parts of their body. I only hope that the prospect of seeing potentially fatal damage done to other human beings will make you re-consider your line on football. After all, I imagine the high proportion of American Football players who go on to suffer from serious brain damage is what keeps you loving that game. That and all those awesome commercial breaks…

I hate to tell you this Ann, but it’s even more disgraceful than a “ribbon and a juice box”. It’s tens of thousands of pounds a week and a carefully balanced selection of fitness drinks.

You can’t use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things. Here’s a great idea: Let’s create a game where you’re not allowed to use them!

Well, it’s called “football”, so you play it with your feet, but there’s also a goalkeeper, who is allowed to use his hands and thus mock all those dumb animals with their clumsy, non-opposable paws.

If that still sounds crap, I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t we create a sport together? It can be some kind of individuals-only death match in which you’re only allowed to use your soul and your opposable thumbs.

I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO’s “Girls,” light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is “catching on” is exceeded only by the ones pretending women’s basketball is fascinating.

I note that we don’t have to be endlessly told how exciting football is.

Beyonce is a singer who has sold over 75 million albums. Hillary Clinton is the wife of a former president who has been part of the political elite for over three decades. These two women do not represent a radical, alternative culture that is being “pushed” into the mainstream.

Do you really think that light-rail is force-fed to the American public by the “liberal media” the way that cars are by the automobile industry / government / town planners / media? Are you like Homer in The Simpsons, obsessing about Clown College because you saw one advert?

Every single media outlet in North America tells you how exciting American Football is. That is the nature of sports coverage.

It’s foreign. In fact, that’s the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not “catching on” at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.

Yes, foreign, unlike American Football, which evolved out of Rugby, or Baseball, which came from Cricket, or Basketball, which was invented by a Canadian. And of course no-one had ever thought to skate around on ice with sticks before America invented the idea of toothless Canadians.

I look forward to you finding a bar in the Bronx made up of rappers burning footballs wrapped in French flags. After all, it’s not as if anyone in the U.S. soccer team is black, is it? Oh, wait …

 Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it’s European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren’t committing mass murder by guillotine… Liberals get angry and tell us that the metric system is more “rational” than the measurements everyone understands. This is ridiculous. An inch is the width of a man’s thumb, a foot the length of his foot, a yard the length of his belt. That’s easy to visualize. How do you visualize 147.2 centimeters?

Those fucking liberals, swanning around using fancy words like “centimetre”. I think you must be the only person in the world who thinks that guillotines, far from being rusty and time-consuming instruments to use, could actually kill thousands of people in just one go. You know who stops this information from going public? Pervert Frenchmen who love the concept of a centimetre more than they love wine and garlic.

I went into my local Walmart the other day and asked for three belts of potatoes and seven thumbs of steak. The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was mad. Where was he from? Foreign.

 If more “Americans” are watching soccer today, it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer.

Would you like to watch the baseball sometime? Me, Davy Crockett, George Bush and the entire crew of the Mayflower know this great place…

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.