Sports

Colin Dunlap: Give Soccer A Try, You Just Might Like It

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

dunlap-head-shot Colin Dunlap
Weeknights, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Colin grew up in Sharpsburg and...
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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – I like soccer.

Check that.

I like soccer a lot. And I’m not apologizing one bit.

On Monday night I found myself in the middle of doing a radio show while simultaneously contorting my body, punching a desk, swearing (while off air) and celebrating.

Being a soccer fan does that to you.

Being a soccer fan makes you crazy, exuberant, tense, apprehensive, furious and terrified — all at the same time.

Such was the case on Monday as, in the middle of my radio show, the United States Men’s National Team was in the midst of pulling off a 2-1 victory against nemesis Ghana in the World Cup.

The really intriguing thing about being a fan of the sport, however, is the venom with which you are met by some who — for some unknown reason — can’t understand why you would join the 11.1 million in this country who watched the Ghana match on ESPN or the other 4.8 million who watched on Univision.

Never have I been part of a dynamic like the anti-soccer fan, wherein they feel the need to go on such an offensive attack — even in unsolicited form — about just how much the game sucks.

The common refrains get monotonous…

They think the game is for sissies.

They think the game lacks action.

They think the game is too low scoring.

They think no one in this country likes it.

They think everything about it is too dramatic.

OK, your opinion. I don’t agree with any of it, but you are entitled to your opinion.

The deepest part of my confusion, however, is the way the anti-soccer fans feels the need to scream and shout to the soccer fan — at every chance they get — how much they don’t like the sport.

I liken it to this: I hate radishes. I mean, I despise radishes; can’t stand them. But you will never find me in the produce aisle of Giant Eagle bending the ear of someone who elects to purchases radishes.

I just roll past the radishes and move onto the stuff I enjoy. For the life of me, I will never be able to understand why the anti-soccer fan cannot do the same thing.

Here’s another crazy truth: I have never played one game of soccer in my life.

Not one.

But I have grown to find myself waking up at ungodly hours to watch the English Premier League and various international competitions.

I played, seemingly, everything growing up but for some reason soccer eluded me. It wasn’t until my younger brother — a very good soccer player — began to show heightened abilities at the game that I became interested. By that time, I was in college. But it was there the sport took a foothold for me and became something that pulled me in from a viewership standpoint.

It is tough to fully describe, but it just does it for me and, perhaps, the appeal is equally with the passion of the fans as it is with the magnificence of the game.

As this United States team continues on what could be a run that bonds us together and forces an attachment as Americans, you choose to do what you like, but I know that I will be behind them in full voice — both as an American and a soccer fan.

So at 6 p.m. on Sunday when the United States Men’s National Team plays Portugal in their next match, perhaps do yourself a favor and sit down and watch some of it.

Who knows? The worst that could happen is you might grow to like it.

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