Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Opening Trivia Question: What do you call the girl throwing the ball in the picture? 
A) The Quarterback  B) The Pitcher  C) The Seeker  D) The Umpire  E) Jenny

Good evening, and welcome to Word Wednesday! Today we're going to talk about sports. To be honest, I'm not a very sporty guy. I like to do exercise and walk around and do stuff, but I just don't like watching sports on TV. It's really boring for me, although that's obviously a personal preference.

Every play in a football game is 4 "exciting" seconds of chaos followed by 5 minutes of commercials. (Photo by Ed Yourdon)

Nevertheless, a few of my students are going to do a presentation on "American Football" tomorrow, and I found myself in a position where I had to explain some of the concepts of the game to them. I was a little embarrassed that I actually know so much about the game, so please don't tell anyone!

First of all, in much of the world "football" is the sport where players kick the ball with their feet and try to get it into the goal. It has 90 minutes of excruciatingly boring play, frequently punctuated by players falling down and faking injuries like drama queens. For a few countries, though, that same sport is called "soccer." It's called "soccer" in the USA, of course, but the name "soccer" is also very common in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, since all of those countries have different sports that are referred to as "football."

In another half-second, all three of these players will be on the ground, holding different body parts, pretending to be in pain. This is the "thrill" of soccer. (Photo by Ingythewingy)

In the US, "football" is completely different. In Costa Rica and Latin America, at least, it's called "American Football," although they also say "we're all Americans," so something doesn't quite compute. But that's OK. A football game in the US has 60 minutes of excruciatingly boring play, but a game somehow takes about 4 hours to finish since the play is constantly interrupted by commercial breaks. It's really quite intolerable. The players also wear a lot more padding and equipment than in soccer. To play football without getting killed you should wear a helmet, shoulder pads, wrist tape, a mouth guard, knee braces, thigh pads, a jock strap and shoes with cleats

Some people say that football is better than soccer because football has beautiful cheerleaders. I'll admit it: these women are more attractive than me and better dancers, too. However, if you need to look at beautiful women to distract you from the sport you're supposed to be watching, then I'm sorry, but your sport is boring. (Photo by Keith Allison)
Here's some "cheerleader math" for you: The average cost of a ticket to a professional football game is almost $77, and some are even over $100--and that's the average cost. Parking can cost around $20, hot dogs can cost $6 or $7 a piece, a pop or beer is about $8, and in the end, you may not even see a cheerleader if it's snowing. However, the price of a copyright-free picture of a beautiful cheerleader is exactly $0.00 on the internet. So which is a better deal? (Photo by Keith Allison)

On the other hand, if you want to play soccer you just need some shoes, but even that is probably optional if they get stolen or you forget them on the bus. In soccer, players try to kick a ball into a goal. There are more rules, but that's the main idea of the game. It's pretty simple.

The main idea of football is... well, it's a lot more complicated than almost any sport except cricket, chess, or assembling furniture. I think it's (much) better if I let Burt Reynolds explain it to you:

So, did you get that? Hopefully so. It's cheesy but kind of funny. I really liked this video, mainly because it had Burt Reynolds, but also because of the amazing music and breathtaking fashion trends.

Ugghhh, here we go again: a soccer player fakes an injury to interrupt Sitzman ABC. The clock is still running, but don't get your hopes up: The worst part about soccer injuries (besides the pain the players suffer) is that the referees add extra time on the clock at the end of the game to make up for the lost time treating the injury. (Photo by ecmorgan)

So which is "better": soccer or football? It's very hard to decide. In both sports grown adults run around in the grass for a few hours and get paid more money in an hour than I'll earn in my life. Both sports are really boring unless you are drunk or have a very loose definition of the word "entertainment." Football's advantage is that it has cheerleaders and Burt Reynolds supporting it, but soccer's advantage is that the games end more quickly, giving you more time to do something more interesting and productive than reading a sport. In the end the score is zero to zero, so I'll have to call it a tie!

And that's it for today. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, either in the comment form below, or by calling Burt Reynolds directly.

Thanks for reading, and have a great night!

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