Friday, July 20, 2007

Projected Napoleon complexes

Several commenters on his article already make this point, but Michael Wilbon's assertion in his not-really-coherent comparison of MLS with NFL Europe that "[p]rofessional soccer isn't satisfied with being the most popular sport in the world; its international powers that be won't be satisfied until soccer has conquered the United States...." is telling. Conquest? What precisely is he talking about? FIFA and MLS want to continue the slow growth that the sport has experienced in the US over the last 20 years.

What nobody is planning is the displacement of other sports from the US sporting scene. That Wilbon and other commentators always see changes in terms of "conquering" is more indicative of personal insecurity than anything that is going on in reality. These frequent accusations of plans of conquest--followed by confident assertions that this will never ever happen--is just an extended plea for them not to have to cover or think about a sport with which they are not familiar.

Personally, I'd like soccer to grow a bit more so that I can see more frequent highlights, and to get the respect of the mainstream media so that I don't have to read columns like Wilbon's. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with the way things are.

4 comments:

Haveyouseenlucky said...

I used to actually enjoy him and Kornheiser for some reason. Now I realize I could get the same level of expertise and entertainment by asking random people at a bus station their opinions, and not just on soccer.

Tedski said...

Actually...it looks like Wilbon is saying relatively positive things about the state of soccer in this country. He seems to recognize where US sports actually are in the world hierarchy, unlike many of his colleagues. As far as the "conquest" metaphors, I think you are reading way too much into it.

HaveYouSeenLucky said...

This blog is neglected.

PATCH said...

Wait, you mean the Beckham Invasion isn't go to help soccer conquer America?