In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 9, 2007 / 25 Menachem-Av, 5767

Let's get in the game

By Malcolm Fleschner

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After months of media hype, superstar British footballer David Beckham has finally made his American debut. Now everyone's asking the same question: will US fans remain as excited about the arrival of the much-ballyhooed Beckham when they discover that this alleged "football" player actually plays soccer?

The main problem Beckham faces in his attempt to conquer an American audience is that, despite its worldwide popularity, soccer here remains a marginal sport, frequently lumped in with such other late night sports cable staples as Ice Fishing, Ultimate Slapfighting and Extreme Tech Support. Also working against Beckham is the fact that, unlike today's great American sports stars, he apparently has never used performance-enhancing drugs or run a large-scale criminal enterprise from his home. But hey, he's a top athlete - perhaps with practice he will adjust to the American style of play.

Sportswriters have floated countless ideas on how to make soccer more palatable to an American audience, such as to incorporate "beer breaks" into each half of play, showing the game from the perspective of an embedded "ball-cam," having the players ride motorcycles while dressed as characters from the movie Road Warrior, etc.

The biggest obstacle to getting Americans on board with soccer is that the game's most fundamental rule sounds like something out of a fraternity initiation. "OK, pledges, I'm going to kick this firm, leather ball as hard as I can right at you at point blank range. All you have to do is stop it. Oh, and by the way - no touching the ball with your hands. Now line up!"

I just think the game would be much more exciting if field players were allowed to use their hands for something other than evacuating their sinuses as they run onto the field. In this opinion I am joined, by the way, by almost all of the players currently participating in my five-year-old daughter's afternoon soccer class (they have already mastered the nose-picking aspect of the game). Each class the coach dedicates a significant portion of time to reminding the kids that they can't touch the ball, punch the ball, bounce the ball with their hands, or pick up the ball and throw it into the road at passing vehicles.

At least my daughter's coaches know the basic rules of soccer, something that couldn't be said of the adults who coached my youth soccer league. Wait, that's not entirely accurate. True, my childhood teams were often "coached" by dads who could no more explain the fundamental rules of soccer than, say, recite the entire works of Emily Dickinson in Bantu. But we did have a few coaches who understood soccer intimately, having played the game since childhood. We might have benefited from these coaches' knowledge a little more if they had spoken any English, but hey, you can't have everything...

As a result, whenever one of the players would commit some flagrant violation of the rules such as stuffing the ball under his shirt and running in circles, the chorus of oblivious dads cheering "Go, go, go!" would often drown out the heavily accented shouts of "No, no, no!" from our Romanian, Dutch and Kenyan coaches. The '70s were a complicated time to grow up.

But today, with help from knowledgeable, English-speaking coaches, my daughter's generation is learning the proper way to comport themselves on the soccer field. I only wish the same could be said for those of us on the sidelines. After all, what common factor unites all the parents of little league baseball, football, basketball and hockey players in this country? Besides the odor of Ben-Gay wafting from their minivans' upholstery, that is? That's right, it's the unwavering belief that one's child is being treated unfairly, whether by the coach who isn't giving Junior enough playing time, the other team's players with their flagrant fouls bordering on aggravated assault, the corrupt referees who fail to whistle these infractions and, worst of all, the opposing teams' parents who are clearly injecting some sort of banned growth hormones into their kids' juice boxes.

Yet during my daughter's soccer practices, the other parents seem almost oblivious to the action on the field as they blithely read magazines, chat with one another and talk on their cell phones. I want to yell out, "Hey, pay attention! The kids aren't the only ones who are supposed to be practicing here! Speaking of which, did that out-of-control son of yours just elbow my daughter?"

By applying ourselves, I feel that American soccer parents can one day become every bit as petty, obnoxious and quick-to-violence as the parents trading insults, punches and gunfire on the sidelines of all the other major American youth sports.

After all, even an international superstar like David Beckham can't single-handedly turn soccer into an American sensation. Certainly not without using his hands, anyway.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning

© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner