Comparing Apples and Oranges: A brief note on consuming sportsby Nick Schonberger
A little while ago my brother alerted me to the MLS commissioned anthems proposing to rock stadia from
For the first time in its short history, the MLS has been somewhat inescapable. Pundits fumble over the intricacies of football, all in hopes of offering dazzling sound bites about the sports most recognizable face — David Beckham. The man who football fans have watched change haircuts as much as he bends balls hasnâ€™t failed to capture a little attention in American media, and again has people wondering if soccer will properly root itself as a major professional sport. In the truest literary sense of the word his relocation has sparked sensation.
Even our favorite trend setting blog spots (here is my obligatory nod to streetwear), were bitten by the bug, debuting the Galaxyâ€™s new Adidas kit on their pages. The jersey isnâ€™t notable at all besides being worn by Beckham. In my memory only one jersey has ever graced these sites before, the
I am almost ashamed to say that Beckhamâ€™s arrival in LA has made me interested in the league for the first time. I was among the many that bad mouthed the play in the MLS without ever even watching a full match. Having now viewed several matches, I can safely comment that it is indeed pretty crap. But, nonetheless I have been entertained. The 5-4 victory of the New York Red Bull (a really bothersome name for so many reasons) over Beckhamâ€™s Galaxy was extraordinarily amusing. Matches without Beckham featuring DC United or the Red Bullâ€™s young striker Jozy Altidore have secured some interest. While neither will supplant Arsenal from my affection, they have filled the void on the occasional Saturday night.
The branding of professional football in
In contrast to the Beckham hype, Chicago Bulls standout Luol Deng quietly debuted for
British Basketball doesnâ€™t really have much going for it. The most notable event revolving around an Englishman and the sport has been John Amechiâ€™s decision to come out. Despite a clear lack of glamor, the people that love basketball in
I have just compared apples and oranges. Yet, a lesson remains in the distinction between forced and natural growth. Soccer (universally misunderstood as an Americanism, when it is actually derived from English school boy slang) has grown rapidly at the grass roots level. While a viable professional league will certainly bolster the sports profile, contrived tournaments like the SuperLiga and red carpet entrances for celebrities at Home Depot field are disingenuous. Where it is a delight to watch a player like Deng take a risk to give back, the only striking things about Beckhamâ€™s arrival have been his graceful free kicksâ€¦ sadly, the very Sports Center type highlight clip that fails to adequately capture the tenor of the beautiful game.
One final note for today in memory of the passing of Pavarotti and his indelible mark on my football watching life:
I will always remember Pavarotti not for his performances, but for a story once told by Ron Williams. Nessun Dorma had served as the BBCâ€™s official world cup song for Italia 90, and Ron claims this had profound impact on local youth. One afternoon, Ron claims he was confronted by the brilliant sounds of a child choir outside. Peering through the window Ron found a rogue assortment of young men belting out Nessun Dorma. The song completed, they prepared for kick off. Whether true, or not, this story always comes to mind when I see Pavarotti and hear the song. Today is a sad day and my tears will only be matched by those of Gazza as he was forced to leave the pitch during the tournament that brought the great singer to my attention.