It is worth taking a look at the nature of sport, in particular team sports, in the USA to really understand where I am coming from on this. You see around the world there are a few sports which really catch the imagination not just of nations, but of continents. Football is the premier example of this infectious love for a game that can change lives.
Take Brazil as an example of what football means around the world. How many people can tell you anything at all about one of the largest countries on the globe - Amazon rain forest and. . . oh yeah, football.
Pele is the undisputed king of football and sums up everything about Brazil to the outside world. An ordinary boy with extraordinary skill, went on to become the best known footballer ever. The name ‘Pele’ is familiar to every young boy in Europe, Asia and Africa - he's the player they want to become, in the game he wanted to play. But in America the children grow up wanting to play a sport that will probably never see them known outside of their own backyard!
American Football : Almost solely played in the US and yet one of the biggest sports in America. It's impossible to imagine that this game could have been devised from anything other than Rugby, with a huge helping of protective padding to enable even the wimpy boys to join in! All that protection and a separate team for offence, defence and kicking - and yet it's stilled played at such a pace that it takes nearly four hours to get through.
Baseball : Could hardly have been more like Rounders if it tried - the only difference is that rounders is for girls! I can understand that some might even suggest that it's actually Cricket that may be the non-American version of Baseball, but there would be ten times as many who would faint at the very idea. Cricket has become one of the most important parts of life in some of the poorest areas of the world, like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Baseball on the other hand is limited to the US, with a Japanese team thrown in to make a World Series!
Basketball : Just like baseball, the favourite of many Americans is derived from a European girls game, called Netball. Not being able to keep to the rules, the US boys started running with the ball and bouncing it around, they gave it a new name and now we have Basketball.
So am I being anti-American here? certainly not. The US sports fans have a love for their chosen game just like the rest of us around the world. We have our superstar footballers and they have Michael Jordan. The problem is the perception of those of us that share a global fascination with the same sports, while the US seems to avoid international competition by making up its own sports and not letting the rest of us join in. In my opinion there would be nothing better for football than for the Americans to get behind it 100%, throw an obscene amount of money at it and turn it into the one and only truly global game. The chances are slim, but we can only hope.
Duncan Rice is the webmaster of the live football scores website latestfootballscores.co.uk and the website design and hosting service pagesurfer .
An amateur webmaster but expert footie fan, you can expect to see articles relating to football (hate the word soccer) and the world which revoloves around it. A great man once said ‘football is not about life and death - it's more important than that’. I agree.