Are we too spoiled as a society to recognize the importance of soccer?

I was watching a television promotion for the FIFA World Cup Tournament the other day, and the theme of the spot was that this simple thing — a little round leather ball — can bring so much national pride, so much joy and so much energy to entire nations around the world.

Except ours, that is. Why is that?

Is it because we have so many other choices? Is it because here in America we have well-manicured baseball fields and organized little leagues, fast pitch leagues, men's and women's softball leagues, etc., so that young and old alike can learn to play and enjoy the national pastime?

Is it because 100 yards of perfectly grown grass, lined with white paint marking yard lines, boundaries and bookended by bright yellow field goals affords the opportunity to play football as we know it, in our towns, schools, universities and ultimately the NFL?

Is it because arenas with highly buffed hardwood floors and fenced-in blacktop parks boasting regulation height rims and hoops promote the game of basketball so pervasively from inner cities to farm towns?

Could it be the fact that $100-an-hour indoor tennis courts on clay, grass or whatever surface you choose are just a phone reservation away? How about $100-a-month karate lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics, gym memberships and expensive paintball tournaments, skiing, boating, swimming ... you get the idea.

Or maybe it's the "too much TV syndrome."

Maybe it has something to do with the widespread availability of broadband Internet connections, where practically any information, videos, news, music, pictures, movie reviews — you name it — are available at the click of a mouse, to say nothing about all of those computers in so many places.

All of this freedom is a result of expendable income.

We work hard, but it is our free market economy that affords us the ability to enjoy all of these distractions on a widespread basis, but that's not necessarily the end all be all, is it?

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