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The Principal

April 22, 2008

I will upon occasion write about subjects other than the Crew. This post is one of them.

I did not grow up a soccer fan. I was a big football fan, watched a lot of baseball, and even tune in for basketball when I had the chance, but slowly moved over to soccer starting about 10 years ago. I have often thought about why I was drawn to soccer and away from the sports of my youth. James Surowiecki has seized on one of the reasons in a New Yorker column about financial regulations of all things:

It’s something like the difference between football and soccer. Football, like most American sports, is heavily rule-bound. There’s an elaborate rulebook that sharply limits what players can and can’t do (down to where they have to stand on the field), and its dictates are followed with great care. Soccer is a more principles-based game. There are fewer rules, and the referee is given far more authority than officials in most American sports to interpret them and to shape game play and outcomes. For instance, a soccer referee keeps the game time, and at game’s end has the discretion to add as many or as few minutes of extra time as he deems necessary. There’s also less obsession with precision—players making a free kick or throw-in don’t have to pinpoint exactly where it should be taken from. As long as it’s in the general vicinity of the right spot, it’s O.K.

Looking at the excerpted quote the reasons behind my love for soccer becomes apparent. There are very few hard and fast rules other than a group of people trying however they can to score. It is a free flowing game that allows the individual to work within the team. I don’t watch many other sports aside from soccer now. It is hard to watch something like football with it’s esoteric rule book and set roles.

I love the flow and freedom.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2008 10:10 pm

    I like that excerpt. It gets to what I like about the game as well. All sports (well, most) require split-second decision-making, but only in soccer is that aspect generally constant for the duration of the game. The only thing that changes is the urgency of the decision, but you’re always thinking, acting, and reacting.

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