I’ve been trying to warm up to soccer.
Really, I have been.
But stoppage time aside (which will be the subject of a later blog rant, I’m sure), draws really hurt my interest in the beautiful game. Yes, I understand there are subtle nuances to a well-played, 0-0 game. And yes, I know that a hard-earned point in the World Cup (in group play) can go a long way.
Still, I can’t stand draws. They go against the nature of sport. The NBA resolves its ties. The NFL usually does. The NHL does, at least in the playoffs. Professional tennis does as well, even if it takes three days. And America’s pastime never has ties, either…well, except for the occasional All-Star Game.
The reason these leagues don’t have ties (or try not to) is because they go against the natural, human drama of sport. Modern sport, of course, largely stems from the ancient Greek and Roman athletic traditions. Do you think the original Olympic Games would have crowned a tie-er? Do you think a Roman gladiator could have nicked a lion on the ear and called it a day?
The beauty of sport is the dichotomy between winning and losing. The pure euphoria of victory and the utter heartbreak of defeat (Minnesota sports fans should be very familiar with that).
And perhaps the most rewarding thing, as an athlete or fan, is recovering from defeat and climbing to the top. Victory is that much sweeter when you know how much anguish went into getting there.
So, I simply ask that one of the biggest sporting events in the world, one that comes but once every four years, goes away from ties. I understand friendly matches, or league matches, ending in a draw. But on the world’s stage, after working so hard for the moment, players and fans alike deserve more than a tie.
Hey, it would at least make a Roman gladiator proud.