Your Grrrs: June 8, 2006

Considering many of you feel very strongly about The World Cup and what it represents, I tried to include Grrrs that illustrate many different views. Included as well are your reports of spotted Oblivions. — Katherine Sands, FOX News intern.

April in Rockford, Ill., writes: To Mike Straka, In your article on June 5 you wrote: "Are we too spoiled as a society to recognize the importance of soccer?" Soccer is only a game. No one is obligated to play it, appreciate it or even recognize it. The fact that I dislike soccer does not make me "spoiled" at all. If a person prefers tennis, basketball or football, then that's his choice, and it has nothing to do whatsoever with his character. I think your point is a little absurd.

Mike in Clinton, Miss., writes: I usually love to read the Grrrs. But give me a quality soccer match at any level or a good high school football or basketball game any day compared to the professional U.S. sports you named. Except for the massive gambling that takes place based on U.S. pro sports, the scantily clad cheerleaders, the fantasy leagues and the comical beer commercials, there is no appeal left to the NFL, MLB and NBA. A World Cup soccer team playing for its national pride is so much more real than watching some moron scream at reporters in a locker room about being a "warrior." Give me some obscure African soccer team from a poverty stricken nation squeaking into the World Cup semi-finals any day compared to watching multi-millionaire brats storm into the stands to punch some 150 pound fan who dissed them. Thanks.

Steve Lackie in Mckinney, Texas, writes: Mike, you're absolutely right that we Americans have a lot of choices when it comes to spectator viewing of our favorite sports, and soccer ain't one of them. I could watch 19 innings of baseball before I could watch 10 minutes of soccer. I've never been so bored in all my life trying to be entertained watching a bunch of guys running all over the place TRYING to do something exciting. Soccer is just plain boring to watch in my opinion. It's like watching the paint dry or trying to watch your plants grow. Maybe every half hour or so something resembling something exciting will happen. And that only lasts a few seconds and then you have to wait another half hour. Boring! Maybe we are spoiled after watching some of the greatest games in sports history on our televisions. Hockey is non-stop action, football is exciting every 15 seconds or so. Baseball is a little too slow for me, but it's the American pastime. Basketball, especially here in Texas right now, is very exciting, particularly this season as the Mavs are sooo hot! Soccer (or futbol) will never have the appeal here for one reason only: it is too boring compared to other much faster-paced sports. We do have lots of choices and I don't think soccer will ever be one of the most popular. Keep up the Grrring! I'm right here with ya!

Jerry in Las Vegas writes: I think you are overanalyzing the situation. I didn't play soccer as a kid or have kids that played soccer. To me watching 90 minutes of 1-0 soccer is worse than watching paint dry while having a root canal with a dentist who has to drag his fingernails on a chalkboard. Most people are not as down on soccer as I am but just don't enjoy it unless their kids or neighbors' kids or someone else they know is playing. It's not our game. I spent three years in Germany and found only one German who liked American football and in 5 1/2 years in Turkey I could only get Turkish people to watch the cheerleaders. Not their game.

Suzanne Gannon writes: I don't believe what you see on the soccer fields and stands of the world has anything to do with national pride or joy. If you've spent any time at all watching a soccer match, it looks more like assault and battery with some criminal mischief thrown in for good measure. What kind of joy is a person experiencing when the best way he can express this joy is by destroying the very thing that is supposed be bringing him the joy? How much pride can he have in his national pastime when the only thing he can think of doing is acting like a wild animal and fighting with his neighbors, the players and the police? Pride and joy cost nothing. Realizing them and experiencing them are a function of a person's humanity and not his income.

Sarah Hood in Irmo, S.C., writes: Hey, thanks for teaching me a lesson, Mike. I love reading your Grrrs! And this one was a good one. I never really thought much or cared about the World Cup; all those crazy soccer fans seemed like a bunch of hooligans to me. “Don’t they have anything better to do?” I’d think as I would shut off my cable TV and head out the door to the gym or Tae Kwon Do in my car that has satellite radio. My husband practiced law for 15 years to bring home the almighty dollar, but recently he has put that down to follow his first love -- sports. He is now (much more) happily employed as a sports writer covering our local university’s teams. He has been more than happy to trade filing briefs for posting scores in order to convey his love of sports to his readers and knows better than most the powerful psychological impact sports can have on society. (Hmm, I think I just learned something from the two of you.) Do "I" have anything better to do than to get crazy about World Cup soccer? Well, if the answer to that question is yes, it’s only because of this incredible country we live in and the rich opportunities I am able to enjoy.

Maribel Rodriguez-Sen writes: Dear Mike, I don’t think it has anything to do with being spoiled. Even wealthy folks around the globe play/enjoy soccer, such as the princes in the UK. There are many countries that play soccer that are pretty mainstream as we are … you make us sound like snobs and as if countries that enjoy soccer live in the dark ages, where all they have is a ball to entertain themselves. Your comments almost come across as arrogant and snobbish. Don’t forget … some countries playing soccer have those things too! Me -- I’m just happy it’s not in Asia again, with odd hours for the live games. Try living with a Turkish soccer fan as a spouse who wakes up at 3 a.m. to watch his country play! Thanks for your work.

David K. in N.J. writes: Did you actually just make the point that Americans don’t recognize the importance, or enjoy the World Cup because we are a wealthy nation and therefore cable and Internet give us too much distraction? You’ve made a lot of dumb points in the past, but this could be the dumbest. Wouldn’t the “distractions” apply to every sport? I’ll give you some reasons why the World Cup isn’t as popular. (1) It's being held in Germany. Therefore we aren’t as close to it and we don’t see all the ramp-up towards the event. When the World Cup was held in the U.S., there was a lot of energy, marketing, commercialization and murmur about the event. Likewise when the women won the World Cup it ignited a soccer revolution for women’s soccer. (2) We don’t have a prominent professional soccer league. The reason is that the most talented players are traditionally foreign [and so we lack] ability to commercialize these players. Along those lines, Americans recognize and follow unique talent … Tiger Woods, Michael Jordon, Andre Agassi, Peyton Manning, Barry Bonds, etc. It's difficult to recognize the talent in soccer. It's very subtle, and usually the camera angle (for TV) is far enough away that you can’t really see the genius of some players. It gets lost. Which is why lacrosse will also never grow as a professional sport. (3) Its just not our pastime sport. This is why the hockey world tournament (or whatever it was called) meant nothing to us either but meant everything to Canada and Northern European countries. Because these sports are not our pastimes (maybe for reasons 1 & 2 above) it's not well-marketed here, which creates less connection. It's not about distractions: it's about marketability and recognition of stars. I’m a huge soccer fan, but I could probably only name one or two players from the U.S. team. The name Pele is still so synonymous to the game of soccer, even though he hasn’t played in 25 years. Why don’t we know the talents and skills of Rinaldo? Because he doesn’t live or play in America.

Jared in Kansas writes: I, like many Americans, suffer from obesity. I won't blame McDonalds or the government ... it's more of a self-imposed thing. But I'm well aware of this fact, and I dress accordingly. Here in Kansas we are plagued with a contagious disease worse than even liberalism: fashion obliviots. Now I can live with "Hammer Pants," clashing colors and shoulder-pads, but I can't take the 300-pound woman wearing spandex shorts and a hole-ridden, stained and dirty Dale Earnhardt tank top with her bra hanging out of the arm holes (she is usually the one that is failing to corral the eight children who have devised a complex assault on the sugar aisle.) I don't want to see that ... really. I would be tolerant if it were just a financial issue -- but as a recent college graduate who worked his way through school, I know that you can create a relatively suave wardrobe for $10 at a discount clothing store. I'm not making fun of fat people -- I happen to be one, but please people, for the love of all that is true, show some dignity -- be modest!

Stephi J. in Pa., writes: OK, am I all alone here, or are most of your readers anti-children???? All you people do is complain about other people's kids. Come over to my place and I will show you some kids who are loved and also taught proper etiquette. I will continue to take my children to restaurants because it is a PUBLIC place. My children know how to behave. If they start to throw a tantrum, vary rarely does this happen, they are promptly taken out. If parents don't take their children to public places they never will learn how to behave. I guess then you can complain about them when they are grown and wonder "Why didn't their parents take them out more often?" I am proud of my kids. I have four under the age of 8. My husband and I work very diligently to be sure they are taught properly and have manners. Alex R. you must not have children. A high chair is very helpful. Changing tables are helpful. I suppose we could take our little darlings and change their pants on your table or on the sink in the bathroom. Granted there are parents out there who do not teach their children. I see them every day, too. I just wanted to say something for those parents who are doing a great job in raising their kids. There are great families out there who are a joy to sit next to in a restaurant. I wonder how half of you behaved when you were children. I suppose you never threw a fit or acted out. Good for you. You were born perfect.

Molly M. in Seattle, Wash., writes: To the office “I smell really great!” Obliviot: Sorry to burst your bubble, but that stuff you soaked yourself in does not make you sexy, it doesn’t make you better looking, it doesn’t make you more desirable or acceptable, and it sure as heck doesn’t make up for your physical and character flaws. When I have the misfortune of running into someone soaked in perfume or cologne, I think, “Gee, it’s too bad they have such a poor self-image that they think clouding themselves in toxic chemicals can help.”

Eric Mustard writes: Mike, like your column. Here's another type of oblivion: the Back-inion. You know, the person who always has to back their humongous SUV into a parking space, oblivious (or indifferent) to how many other parking-space seekers they're holding up while they make multiple attempts trying to maneuver into the space. I'd like to hear one of these people explain themselves and why they don't care how their behavior impacts others.

Ben Rowley writes: Mike, just a quick mention on a point in your recent article "Where a young girl can defy the odds and give men a run for their money in the game of golf." Even though she missed the cut, HEAR HEAR! And I'd also like to point out Danica Patrick in the racing world. I also have a young daughter, and hope that she can do whatever she dreams of in the future as well. Great job, keep up the good work...

Kelli Brown writes: What in the heck are the obliviots (frightening how many there are) of the world thinking? You have to use your debit or credit card at the drive-through window? Thank you for making a five minute stop for breakfast or lunch a 15 minute head-scratcher. I wondered with amazement how you could even drive that truck you were in with the very small thought capacity in your head. Plan ahead a little and step outside of your own little world once in a while. Being considerate to others -- oh wait, there ARE no others in your "YOU-niverse."

Jessica in Fla. writes: Mike this is in response to the left lane vigilantes out there. For those of us who use the highway, often you see it everywhere. It is really bad in Florida where you will have an elderly obliviot drive from Miami to Jacksonville in the left lane with their left blinker on and no matter what or who is behind or beside them, basically making you pass them on the right hand side, which by the way is illegal, as is driving in the left lane while not passing. As for those who want to regulate my speed by ensuring that I don't go over the posted speed, this is more dangerous if you are the only one on the road doing the posted speed. Ever try driving through downtown Atlanta and going the speed limit? You are going to be the one causing the accident, not the speeders. Just some food for thought. Thank you for letting me vent.

Brad in Austin, Texas, writes: Hey Mike, I always read about the "Left Lane Vigilante." While I am in agreement that this type of oblivion is another form of Self-Righteon, are you not also overlooking the Speed Freak? This particular Oblivion races along the highway, his own personal raceway, with the delusion that by going over the speed limit, he is able to somehow alter the time/space continuum and shave 2-3 minutes off his drive time ("Back to the Future," anyone?). I've had a touch of Left Lane Vigilantism from time to time myself (despite being a Speed Freak for the most part), but let's be fair and show both sides of the coin. Keep up the great work!

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