Dan Shaughnessy is that kid who doesn't like peas - only he never grew up

The other day, our local crank shook his fist at a cloud and wrote how he hates soccer. Yawn. What's interesting is the Deadspin report that chronicles how he's written pretty much the same exact column about soccer for 25 years now, right down to the part where he complains about how soccer players can't use their hands.


Free tagging: 


He could have at least wrote

He could have at least wrote about the assaults, tear gassing of protesters and other human rights violations prevalent at this year's world cup as a reason not to watch it.


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The whiny gasbag would rather rain on everyone's parade than actually do a little work.

He could just do what the rest of us do

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Ignore it. Hopefully soccer will go away like other annoying things.

"Soccer is a communist plot to undermine the youth of America"
Coach Bill Kane, Archbishop Stepinac HS Football

Hey coach - IT WORKED!


Got that backwards

How about we just wait for you to go away? Because that will happen sooner.

The most-viewed television program in history was the 2010 world cup final, with more than a billion viewers. This years will top it.

The World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. It is more popular worldwide than the Olympics. It is already more popular in the United States than the biggest matches of all other sports besides football.

Monday's US-Ghana match was watched by more Americans (19.4 million) than the NBA finals (17.9M), Stanley Cup (6M), and is on par with the World Series. Last night's US v Portugal probably beat those numbers.

That's right: the World Cup is already a bigger deal in the United States than the World Series. In your lifetime, you may see American World Cup viewership surpass that of the Superbowl.

Already more American children play soccer than either baseball or football.

Too Popular?

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In fact the number of people watching in Boston, even non-US mathches, is so high Comcast has been having signal strength and overload problems all over the city. Of course, that Comcast could not anticipate this demand in advance is so typical of that company.

Vices are not habits

The World Cup is an event. I will watch Iran vs. Costa Rica from beginning to end, but for the four years in between Cups, I am not going to waste a minute watching Manchester United vs. Newcastle. The World Cup makes the boring exciting just because it is rare.

I'm in the same boat

I will watch this and then be done with the sport until 2018. I blame it on growing up watching hockey, soccer has a similar dynamic but looks as though it is played in molasses in comparison.

It's the same as the olympics

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It's the same as the olympics bandwagon. Everyone is intensely a fan of something like bobsledding every four years, but they have no interest in the sport outside of the olympics.

I like soccer and I love the world cup, but I have no idea why the world cup would interest you if you aren't a fan of the sport.

International Chest Thumping

Exactly. It's kind of fun every four years, in part because it's so much less complicated to follow than the Olympics, yet still has that international spectacle thing going for it. As a regular sport to follow? Sorry, but it's not interesting enough for that. I like my sports complicated, and requiring a bit of mental work to appreciate. Soccer doesn't make that grade.

Like I said

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It worked.

I don't care if the world stops to watch the game - it's boring. I'd put it a hair above bowling and a hair below golf on the exciting scale. Maybe on par with NASCAR (and that's a popular spectator sport also).

The problem is that 80-90% of the time it's a virtual physical impossibility to score. Hockey, baseball, etc. are way more exciting even when low scoring because the game can turn quickly even if you are down a couple runs/goals. If you are down 2-0 in soccer - the game is mostly over and 3-0 is a blowout.

No thanks.

But we all tend to watch what we are familiar with - and when vast swaths of the world grow up with is a ball and a couple of sticks - that makes soccer popular viewing. Still doesn't make it interesting.

If I want to watch a good game with a ball and a net - I'll watch lacrosse any day.

I have never understood the

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I have never understood the argument that soccer is boring compared to other sports. I grew up watching baseball and football, and most of those games are the players just standing around not doing much with frequent cuts to commercials. Baseball can add extra innings, and football turns the 60 minutes on the clock into a four hour slog. I started watching soccer because you get two 45 minute halves without commercials every three minutes.

Also there are a lot fewer rules to keep track of. The NFL should send out a pre-season newsletter to fans with all the rule updates.

And last night's US-Portugal game is a good example of how the game can change in an instant. Everything was going great for the US until the last 30 seconds.

Different strokes, I guess

I'd rather watch bread rise than watch basketball, precisely because it's such a high-scoring game. In a low-scoring game like hockey or soccer, every goal has the potential to be make-or-break. In basketball, I don't know why anyone pays attention to anything but the last few minutes of the game because they've just been scoring the whole damn time.

I guess I like soccer for the same reason that I like baseball. There are long parts of the game where you can chat, go get a beer, etc., with one eye on the game and in between there are heart-pounding shots on goal that you KNOW might be the game-winning point. I fucking love it, is what I'm saying.

When I was in the Midwest last year, I got to see a game at the new Sporting Park, which is home of Kansas City's team. It was amazing to see an American team play in a park actually designed for soccer, not a half-assed, temporarily-converted football stadium like in Foxboro. I think their park seats less than 20,000 but they manage quite a few sell-outs and people are rabid fans. Part of that is because they win - as opposed to other KC teams we could mention - but part of it is that the owners have put in the time and money to make the team a successful franchise. It was a great thing to see and I hope other cities are making the connection that soccer is worth the investment.

I would love it if the MLS

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I would love it if the MLS would adopt a FA-style system of promotion and relegation within the league and allow smaller regional teams to form and move up and down.

It will never happen, but it would be fun to see a game between say a Somerville team and a Dorchester team. MLS would never, ever allow it though. Promotion and relegation is part of what makes the European leagues so interesting; even if the title was won months ago there are always teams fighting to not be relegated.

Also I wish they would get rid of the idiotic playoffs.

MLS isn't big enough for that yet.

I'm sure if a Dorchester/Somerville match could get the TV ratings or interest that a Alabama/Auburn football game gets, the league would most certainly adopt its setup to accommodate these interests.

The US Open Cup has teams of

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The US Open Cup has teams of all levels, including amateur teams. If theyre good enough, they take on MLS teams.

Agreed on hoops

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Not a huge NBA fan (but do like the college game) for the same reason. The first 80 points don't count. Personally, I'd rather see a "best out of 5 matches" to 21 for example. Not good for TV because a game could last 90 minutes or 150 minutes though.

All sports have their pros and cons - my knock on soccer is that the vast majority of the game happens where nothing can happen in the middle of the field. Most other sports, even inactive ones, can change their complexion in an instant at any time. Sure you get the rare soccer game - like last night - where that happens, but it was remarkable in that regard.

The two best baseball games I've ever seen were 1-0 affairs. But every single pitch mattered until the very end (especially the perfect game that was broken up with two outs and two strikes on the batter in the bottom of the 9th). Sox won last week with back to back homeruns - game turned completely in about 60 seconds.

Can happen in soccer, but I could also get hit by lightning or eaten by a shark too. Lots of teams have times with no action. Soccer's weakness is there is too little action even while they are playing.

Some sports are different live, or with your home team.....

I'd rather have front row seats to a Celtics basketball game last year after they were eliminated than I would to a Super Bowl game in between two teams besides the Patriots. If I'm in my living room I'd rather watch the Superbowl.

I've never been interested in watching soccer, but I do enjoy lively bars, so ill watch the World Cup down at Phoenix Landing or the Banshee. If I'm at home, I tend to find myself tuning out of any soccer game, including the US matches. I would do the same for any hockey game or NBA game not involving the celtics or bruins. I won't even watch a regular season Red Sox game on TV.

I always wondered what would happen if you changed up the youth/HS season scheduling system of sports here in the US. football and soccer are played in the fall, while baseball is played in the spring. What if you switched baseball and soccer? I think you would find many athletes play football and soccer at the HS level, and that might generate more interest nationally.

I played football at the HS and the college level, but I played and enjoyed soccer up until the point where pop Warner and HS football squeezed me out of it because of scheduling issues. In fact, most of the kids I grew up with that were the better soccer players gave it up to keep play paying football. I don't know if it would matter, but I think our setup of youth sports effect how we feel about soccer and football as adults. Doesn't every American kid basically play soccer at some point?

For last night, ESPN only

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For last night, ESPN only (Univision results come later)

USA-Portugal posts a 9.1 overnight; DC -13.3, Columbus-12.6, NYC- 12.5, Boston- 11.5, Hartford/New Haven-11.3, Providence-11.2, ATL 11.1


Someone tell that cabbage patch kid to shutup!

On the upside

Clint Dempsey has not been accused of murdering three people; one in Attleboro and two in the South End. Geoff Cameron has not yet been accused of hiring people to kill his pregnant girlfriend, despite the corrupting influence of living near lots of Patriots players in Attleboro. John Brooks has not yet been accused of getting into a fight outside a club in Atlanta with two people being stabbed to death and then returning to be celebrated in the league by throwing up real grass clippings n the air on a turf field.

Tim Howard however did live up to his Evertonian form in the 95th minute though last night.

CHB's column is straight out of the Joe Fitzgerald lets see how many more miles I can drift on this one I did years ago. It's old, stale, and has no traction.

Shank is not getting the message in the past few days of the coverage. The USMNT is way over the fold versus the Sox this morning. Also, his fellow John Henry & Co. employee, the absolutely phenomenal Luis Suarez, deservingly got above the fold in bright colors on Friday's edition.

The Post Office must be doing it better, cause Dan is mailing it in again.

Let's See How That Plays Out

Hope Solo married an accused, but never convicted but nevertheless paid hush money, rapist. Who, wait for it, played a sport on the nearly same sized field as a soccer pitch, but he wore lots of pads and helmets, where he stopped in between plays for minutes at a time or he could get subbed in an out so he could rest.

Some of it's much older than 25 years

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He must have dredged this one up from the 19th Century:
"Hands and opposable thumbs separate us from creatures of the wild. "
You know, from before anyone actually looked at apes.

You see these old trolls

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You see these old trolls writing the same article every 4 years around the country.

I wonder how they feel about weekday afternoon games getting better TV ratings than every Stanley Cup game? Or how the last US game (we dont have ratings for yesterday yet) was the best viewed game on ESPN this year after the BCS championship?

Your opinion can be wrong, but when youre running up to a wall of facts about how "nobody will watch this" is incredibly wrong, it just hurts your entire brand.

I mean, if hes so wrong about this, what does it mean about all the other stuff hes getting paid to write?

One primary reason

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You just need a bit of flat space and a ball. As most of America gets relatively poorer, buying a bunch of football or hockey gear or trying to keep an outfield grassy and an infield weeded becomes less appealing.

Maybe true for hockey

There are a lot of football programs that supply the gear for the kids to play. Hockey is usually dependent on the family obtaining everything and ice time is expensive.

He never says he hates soccer

Did you read the article or just the Deadspin piece?

At the risk of sounding like a Shank apologist, I've got to say this.

When I read Shank's article yesterday, I just knew - KNEW - that in some way, UHub was going to jump all over him for not being a soccer, er football, fan. Knew it.

He never says he hates soccer anywhere in the article. The whole gist of the article is that people will hate on him because he doesn't care to watch the World Cup.

If you don’t like soccer the Futbol Moonies will insist that you are an aging, unhip, xenophobic, uncultured dolt. Soccer is the world’s most popular game. It’s the game of the future. Anyone who doesn’t embrace soccer is simply ignorant, close-minded, or unable to grasp the concept that there is a whole wide world outside of Route 128.

He understands all the soccer craziness:

We understand the beauty and simplicity of soccer. We agree that it is the world’s most popular sport. It’s a sport that represents democracy and meritocracy. It’s the perfect game for children. The big kids don’t dominate. Everybody is in motion. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t require much equipment or organization. There’s a great purity about the game. World Cup competition is a global event/celebration. I love it when the Greek natives at my local auto body close shop when Greece plays a World Cup match. Nothing else matters. It is a great source of national pride and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the passion and good feelings.

Just don’t make me watch the matches.

It's just the people that think you're an uneducated cretin if you don't care to watch the matches:

Soccer lovers tend to be an elitist, intolerant lot. They look down on those who will truly never “get” their game. They scoff at the mere mention of “soccer’’ when the whole rest of the world knows it as “football.’’....... Enjoy your game. Celebrate your game. But please do not insist that we must love your game.

But, nowhere does he say or imply that he hates soccer.

What Deadspin points out is absolutely true in that he has recycled this story numerous times. I know I've seen a few of them. Think of it as his version of UHub's obsession with space savers.

Myself? I feel the same way Shank does. I love the athleticism of the sport and the international flavor of it. I love how small countries (when do you ever hear about Ivory Coast?) can be a powerhouse in the sport and love the national pride it brings out. I love the excitement it brings out in people. Just don't expect me to watch it.

A few weeks ago, kaz had a great comment when one of the UHub entries had a title with the words "Whole Foods" in it. kaz said:

Dogs don't respond to dog whistles as well as some of you jump when you read 2 words within the headlines here.

You could say the same thing about Shank. Kind of like dvdoff and Howie Carr. Let it go, it's getting old.

Myself? I feel the same way

Myself? I feel the same way Shank does.

Fine. Don't watch it. But why should we care that you (or Shank) don't watch it? He sounds like the guy who keeps telling everyone he knows that he doesn't even own a TV.

You just proved his point.

That soccer lovers tend to be an elitist, intolerant lot.

I never said anything negative about soccer or the people that watch it. I don't care what sport anybody watches. Everybody is different, they like different things. Yet, you have to fire back some dickhead response as if you've been insulted. Again, you just proved his point.

So you go out of your way to

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So you go out of your way to say that you're not interested in X, then whine when actual fans of X come back with the predictable reaction?

Do you whack hornets' nests in your spare time then complain about why it's so damn buggy outside, too?

I'm not insulted that you don

I'm not insulted that you don't watch soccer. I don't actually watch soccer myself, your ASSumption not withstanding. But I do find it mildly annoying when people find it necessary to announce to the world that they don't partake of a certain activity.

I don't watch American football either. Yet, strangely, I don't feel the obligation to point that out to all my friends every year, or discuss at length the reasons why I think it's an uninteresting sport with a bunch of arbitrary, illogical rules.

Similarly, if someone I know is going to see The Eagles or Billy Joel, I don't find it necessary to express my opinion that they're a bunch of low-talent, boring hacks. Part of being a mature adult is recognizing that taste is subjective and everyone is entitled to like what they like, a lesson that you and Dan Shaugnessy haven't quite figured out, apparently.

Easy to do

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If you stake yourself to a cross in the public square, you don't need Nate Silver to predict that SOMEONE will throw a stone.

Oh no, he doesn't hate it...

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He just rants about it for 25 years and counting. I've never seen examples of the behavior he describes in the quotes you've chosen, though I have witnessed a few from NFL fans. Reacting to his published ranting doesn't make anyone intolerant or elitist. And you are an apologist for trying to put such a spin on the whole affair.

Here's the difference

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Scenario #1-

Waquiot- you watching the World Cup?
Merlinmurph- no, it's boring. I just can't get into it.

Now, were I to castigate you about not caring about soccer or the World Cup, sure, I'd be somewhere between a snob and an asshole, if not both. Hopefully, that would not happen. You didn't bring up the World Cup, as you could not care less about it.

Scenario #2-

CHB- I'm going to dedicate an entire column, starting on page 1 of the Globe's sports page, to how much I dislike watching the World Cup.

In this situation, CHB comes across as a whiny 5 year old, except he has been writing the same column since at least 1990, which could be the year that said 5 year old's parents were born.

To be fair to CHB, he may have been ordered to write a World Cup column, which would justify recycling previous columns, minus the Frank Dell'Apa references. Now, if this was an independent act, he is just whining.

I really liked playing soccer

I really liked playing soccer and did so for about 15 years competitively. I never could get into watching it, but I think it's been long enough since I played its fun to watch now.

It could also be that hockey, basketball, and football are all in the offseason and I'll literally root for anything branded with those gorgeous stars and stripes