Soccer Fever

Another gem from our own Occam’s Razor. Take it away, Occam!

I am, like the rest of the country, caught up in soccer fever, where the fever in my case manifests itself in a soothing warmth that puts me directly to sleep.  No, this will not be another commentary about how inferior a sport soccer is – for one thing, that puts me on the wrong side of the intelligentsia (not that that’s always a bad thing), and for another, three billion people probably can’t be wrong.  And certainly any sport that inspires fans to stomp and thrash each other (investigated by scientists here) must be thrilling, though has anyone ever suffered a heart attack over a missed header?

I was in the gym a couple of weeks ago and just happened to glance up from my reading to see a game on the TV winding down and locked in a scintillating 0-0 tie.  This score seemed to cause a lot of excitement among soccer fans in the room, one of whom even remarked, enthralled, that the game featured two of the World Cups best scorers. This would be like getting excited about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady play to a scoreless game and I just don’t get it. After all, Americans are generally fans of the double-o football, where our highlight packages are sliced together into videos that contain cuts approximately every .8 seconds. (Seriously…I counted and in this 180-second highlight package there were over 200 seperate shots.)  Can a Twitter society be expected to sit there and watch 0-0 ties without being bored??

Science is split on the issue of boredom, depending on who you talk to. Being bored is certainly not bad for you, as it’s during these moments, scientists say, that we have introspection and bursts of creativity.  As you sit there bored in some dark bar watching a soccer game, drinking Belgian beer with your sophisticated soccer friends – babbling endlessly about ball handling and offensive strategies (score one goal and win!) – you might actually be creating new stuff in your head.   Einstein reportedly came with E=mc2 while staring off into space during a Switzerland-Germany match.  Over the long term, however, as Occam noted in a previous post, a recent study showed that you can literally be bored to death.

So I do have some ideas for spicing this game up.  As a recognized consultant on improving sports (among other ideas of mine adopted was ending the pracitce of euthanizing minor league baseball players with broken legs) my expertise is respected. First, reduce the field to about a fifth its current size – all those players seem to always just be running somewhere and the ball is never near where it should be, namely the goal.  Second, cheerleaders wouldn’t hurt, and Science Cheerleaders would make it even better!