And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: several hundred words about Qatar getting the ’22 Cup

Alright, now that I’ve had a day to decompress from the USA blowing my last chance to watch a World Cup stateside until I’m 56 – and god knows I’ll not be living that long – it’s time to think about how the USA failed.

No, it isn’t the fault of any American politician, no matter how much I’d like to blame one.

First, our presentation was terrible. Bill Clinton and Landon Donovan? What in the holy hell do their arcane public narratives about how futbol influenced them have to do with anything? This isn’t a political thing for me – if I thought Pres. Clinton could’ve brought it home, I’d be all for it. But this isn’t now nor has it ever been the way the Cup works. As Charlie and Giorgio were talking about on “The Football Show” this morning (Sirius 125 0600-0800 EST M-F), the American contigent should have had dossiers on every FIFA governor and done everything legally within our power to persuade them.

Instead, we got three lousy votes out of a possible twenty-two.

I want you to consider something, though: America lost the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a nation about the size of a county in Texas with a population of 250,000 people. The daytime temperature during the Cup – assuming Algore’s predictions are wrong, which they always are – will be around 130-degrees. Sound like fun? Unless something wildly, earth-shifting happens in the next twleve years, the sixty-four sides will be playing in front of stadia that are half-full at best.

Qatar will be spending approximately $50 billion (or $11 billion, which sounds low) to build five new stadia, and if they’re anything like the Albert Speer mock-ups , they’ll be incredible, but incredibly empty as well. Furthermore, if this is about spreading the game to the Muslim world, then why is Qatar promising to dismantle the stadia (yes, dismantle them) and resconstruct them in Third World nations?

Furthermore, who the hell is going to go to Qatar to watch? Who the hell can afford to go to Qatar? Granted, this is twelve years away, but that’s not a cheap trip, which is why very few people go to places like Dubai and Qatar who aren’t either a) on a corporate or government expense account or b) already wealthy. I know a half-dozen people who have been to Qatar or Dubai, and all have been under said circumstances. It was a horrid decision by FIFA, but we gave them nothing to work with other than ‘the America WC will run smoothly and be profitable.’ These are good things, but this is futbol, not the stock exchange – there has to be more.

Wose still, American confused the FIFA board for the IOC, and nothing could be farther from reality. How we misjudged this I have no idea. The Olympics are, more and more, a political event – FIFA and The World Cup are, respectively the most apolitical body and event sports have to offer – no one would even consider not allowing North Korea, Iran or Cuba to participate even though, for human rights reasons alone, there are ample reasons. Qatar, fwiw, has promised to allow Israel – a nation they don’t recognize as existing – to participate should they make the Cup.

Which they won’t.

Rush Limbaugh has been on a tear about the ‘chickification’ of America, and it could be seen in America’s presentation at the Cup. While Qatar and Russia sold FIFA’s 24- (well, 22) person board on why futbol should be brought to their nations, America was more interested in telling a heart-warming story – it failed, miserably. Nobody gives a damn if Bill Clinton watched his daughter play as a tweener, and no one cares that America’s best player was inspired by the ’94 Cup. Who gives a rat’s ass? If anyone has a beef, it’s England, which was flat embarrassed by not only not getting the Cup in 2018, but by only garnering two votes.

The frustration in this is palapble, not least because of the fact that in the past eight years, watching the Cup has meant staying up very late or getting up fairly early. I watched all 63 matches in this year’s Cup, and the timing was moderately decent – I would’ve taken the month’s worth of vacation had it been held here, but still…

Many people who don’t follow The Beautiful Game assume it is boring and won’t sell in America. Over at the comments at HotAir yesterday, 95 percent of them were something of the ‘it’s boring/sissified/Communist etc. I have no interest in selling this game to these people – don’t like it, don’t watch it, pretty simple. Feel free to guess which comment was mine.

Yet in 1994, when the only thing I knew about soccer was the name Pele, America hosted by all accounts the most financially successful and well-attended World Cup in the tournament’s history – we sold out every bloody match! Just because two thirds of the country find the game boring doesn’t mean that the other third – a hundred million strong – are going to pay it any mind. Friends of mine I didn’t know even knew the Cup was going on were calling me to find out where to watch the England-USA match on the Cup’s second day.

The game is powerful, but our attempt at getting a second chance to host was miserable.

And then there is China, who may as well already begin building whatever infrasturcture necessary to host the 2026 Cup, because that’s where it’s going to be. It will be a well-run Cup, no doubt, but again – this leaves America out until at least 2030, and there is no guarantee we’ll get it then, especially if we continue down this road of political narrative over substance.

I don’t mind that the Cup will be held in Qatar – my only beef is I wanted to see a Cup here in America while I’m still relatively young, and that’s a pretty petty beef. The resentment many Americans hold toward the game would be breathtaking were it not so blatantly ignorant – if that sounds like me being an elitist moaning on and on about ‘why can’t America be more like X socialist country’ it’s not. Yet, even after a decent showing by the American side in an excruciatingly exciting ’10 Cup, there remain the haters. What they get out of hating this event is beyond me – I don’t like the Olympics, but I still watch and I don’t hate.

Yet each American futbol semiotic setback is met with some kind of weird Yankee self-hatred, as though America falling short when it counts in the most popular game on Earth is something to be proud of. It’s not – far from it. Which is why I’m not going to address some of the hate.

First, the game is not boring. It’s not made for American television in the same way that football – specifically the NFL – is, in that it doesn’t have constant commercial stoppages (hardcore NFL fan here). The game has two 45-minute halves that are played without interruption, safety equipment using the same rules that have been in place for more than a century. There is little else more tense, more stressful than watching a futbol match that one has a rooting interest in – it’s akin to the Kentucky Derby, only it lasts for two solid hours with a brief break halfway through.

Second, the game is not for sissies. Yes, they wear shorts, a jerskey and boots (or cleats, if that’s your thing) and they kick a ball. I’m not sure how not wearing safety equipment sissifies a game, but that seems to be a common perception among haters. When someone is hurt, they bring out a gurney and trot the players off to the side of the pitch.

Third, yes, there are dives, and yes, afficianados hate them too. In basketball, there are dives, to say nothing of the endless timeouts at the end of a half. In football, there is the sorry spectacle of a coach calling a timeout just as the ball is about to be snapped for a field goal. In baseball, there are nearly four hours of elapsed time for maybe five minutes of action – in the NFL, it’s 12 minutes of action. As for college football, I have three letters for you: BCS. If there is a more ignorant manner of deciding a title, I don’t know what it is – the BCS is the main reason I don’t care who wins the title anymore.

Fourth, just because the game is not the biggest event in America does not mean that it is not popular here – the World Cup ratings stateside prove as much. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that it’s for Communists – if you think that, say hi to the other kooks at the next John Birch Society meeting.

America not getting ’22 was a setback, but the game will continue to grow in this country – unlike any other pastime, it continues to encounter a perplexing hostility, but the game is bigger than the hate, a good thing in my book. I love it, and not just every four years. If haters only knew what they were missing…

[Cross-posted at the GOC]

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About godsowncrunk
I'm King B, the originator of the Jellywhite lyrical style and god's own crunk.

One Response to And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: several hundred words about Qatar getting the ’22 Cup

  1. Pingback: And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: Several hundred words about Qatar getting the ’22 World Cup « God's Own Crunk

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