Take the flamboyance out of futbol, and you have nothing. The game is all about artistry and passion and, dare we say it, unbridled eroticism. A culture that can't reconcile those qualities with masculinity will always have a hard time at the World Cup.
I'm not sure what that says about the U.S. and its early departure, but I do know that watching the World Cup feels intoxicatingly different from following traditional American sports. I particularly love the operatic deathbed scenes that accompany even minor injuries, with none of the shame that boys here are taught to feel if they flinch when a fastball clips them viciously on the elbow. In futbol, stoicism hurts; it won't elicit a yellow card of sympathy. Drama queens get all the breaks.
So says Gwen Knapp, sportswriter for the SF Chronicle, in what has got to be the most penetrating sports story of the year for the mainstream press. Read the whole thing here— what a great think piece!
I don't watch team sports, but yet— I know who all the most gorgeous soccer players are— because as Knapp suggests, their image, drama, and sex appeal travels far off the field into everyone's consciousness. I can't think of an NFL star with that kind of appeal since Broadway Joe!
Thanks to Greta Christina for the tip!