The match between the U.S. and Germany is fewer than 24 hours away, and like many of my countrymen, I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival so that I can scream at my television for two hours and engage in some socially acceptable day drinking. But while a shit-ton of people are really psyched for this game, there are a few proud Americans who refuse to join in on the fun, and finally embrace soccer. Not because they don’t like the game, but because they don’t want to be influenced by *gasp* hipsters!
The “soccer is for hipsters” meme has existed for some time now, and I won’t deny that there’s some truth to it – the biggest local soccer bar in my town is quite hipster-friendly – but the hipster-paranoia is starting to reach Joe McCarthy levels. If that seems like an exaggeration, check out this Washington Times column by Thom Loverro. Within the first paragraph, he outs himself as being woefully ignorant about how soccer works – he seems to think extra time is something the refs just tack on randomly – and contradicts himself as to whether or not he takes soccer seriously. At one point, he writes of soccer as “a sport for people who don’t like sports,” but in the next breath he claims that soccer is a respectable game that will catch on in the US, but that he just doesn’t want to be influenced by the hipster crowd. Which makes no fucking sense whatsoever.
Let’s be clear about something: when 25 million people in America watch one soccer game simultaneously, it has gone far beyond being a hipster thing. This would be like complaining about “indie bands” and then talking about Coldplay or Mumford & Sons. On a personal note, I watched the US-Portugal game with my 54-year-old mom, and my 57-year-old stepdad, neither of whom have given two shits about soccer in the past, and neither of whom could ever be called hipsters in a million years. They were screaming just as loud as I was for the last 15 minutes, and when it was over, we had a long family discussion about whether we all, collectively, liked soccer now. The time to write of soccer as a hipster thing has passed. Really though, what’s hilarious is that Loverro is dismissing something simply because he doesn’t like the other people who also like that thing. Isn’t that EXACTLY what a hipster what do? Methinks the hipster doth protest too much.
I never thought I’d say this about anyone: but Loverro would be wise to take a page from Dan Shaughnessy. Sure, his strong taeks about the shittiness of soccer (and the Awesome SuperAmericanness of football) can seem brutish and primitive (not to mention he writes the same column every four years), but at least he’s being completely honest. Rather than blame the popularity of soccer on some red hipster menace, he just comes right out and says that he thinks soccer is boring as fuck, and he’s not going to watch it. His articles can be embarrassing to read, but at least he sticks by his guns. If you don’t like soccer, and wish other people wold stop liking it, that’s fine. But don’t blame the influx of new soccer fans on some non-existant gang of marauding soccer hipster vampires, roaming the streets in Arsenal jerseys and biting new victims who wake up in the morning as newfound fans of The Beautiful Game.
Considering that Americans seem to care way more about how the USMNT does in the World Cup than they do about who wins the Stanley Cup or the NBA Finals (just going off of ratings), writing off soccer as merely a hipster thing is beyond foolish. The former soccer moms are becoming actual soccer fans, and we’re about to embark on a future of decidedly uncool people loving the crap out of soccer. The seats at Seattle Sounders games will be filled with Mom Jeans and Affliction shirts. Of course, this will inevitably turn off the hipsters who embraced soccer in the first place, and then, once their evil influence is gone, Thom Loverro will finally be able to embrace soccer. The cycle is complete.