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How to enjoy soccer

[ 2014-06-23 09:59] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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I was five years old when I first heard the word “soccer.” My best friend and I were changing into our fresh-out-of-the-box uniforms in his Mom’s station wagon, and I figured that the name of this sport we were about to try must have something to do with the long purple socks that we were trying to pull on over what we’d just learned were called shin guards.

A year later, once I’d learned to spell, I was baffled to see that the name of my favorite sport wasn’t “socker.” And so, the first soccer game I ever saw was the first game I played in. I probably scored a goal, too. I usually did. Not to brag, but as a five-year-old kid on the sun-scorched fields of North Texas, wearing a perforated purple jersey that hung down to my knees, I was an absolute menace in front of goal. This was in the mid-seventies, in the middle of the big US soccer boom. The original North American Soccer League had just formed. I was a Dallas Tornado fan. I saw them play the New York Cosmos with Pelé and Beckenbauer in the squad. I had a poster of Kyle Rote, Jr., on my wall. It seemed like every kid in America was playing soccer, even the girls. And the best of those little girls, who grew up playing right alongside the boys, went on to form the incredibly dominant first generation of the US women’s national soccer team. I enjoy thinking that I had something to do with that.

That’s how it started for me, and I haven’t stopped playing, watching, and loving soccer since. But that’s just me—oh, and about a gazillion other people around the world, and even one or two hundred in the United States. That’s a joke. Despite the running gag that “Amuricans hate soccer,” there are plenty of soccer fans in America, and most of us don’t care whether you want to join us or not. Just don’t tell us that soccer is boring because, believe it or not, that’s not a very interesting thing to say. For the rest of you, the interested and interesting folks out there who might not know much about the game but want to enjoy it a little more during this World Cup, here are a few tips.

Pick a team.

Life’s more fun when you have a dog in the race, so make a bracket. Place a friendly bet. Pick a team to go all the way, or just choose your side match to match. I like rooting for the underdog. Don’t know who the underdog is? America from here on out is an underdog.

Do the minimal research.

You are just five minutes on the Internet away from understanding the offside rule and how it affects the game. That’s the only tricky one. Another five minutes and you’ll know the next matchups, which teams are favorites, who has injuries, and even what their girlfriends look like if that’s your bag.

Don’t be a ball watcher.

If two players are a leg’s length from the ball, there are twenty others playing the game elsewhere on the field, and everything they do affects everything else. Soccer is a complex, ever-flowing chess game with running. Get into it. See how the movements of a player’s teammates give him passing opportunities or open up new space for him to dribble. What choices does he make? On defense, notice how the positioning of a single player a couple yards in any direction changes the team’s defensive “shape” and either closes down space or opens it up.

Enjoy the sociocultural anthropology of it all.

Pay attention to the rising and falling of individual and team confidence, the turning of momentum, the clashing of wills. Consider the delicate balance of a team’s commitment to offense or defense in terms of risk versus reward. Notice how countries and even continents play the game differently—I find that part endlessly fascinating.

Finally, and most important…

Appreciate what’s happening.

Don’t let the wide camera angles lull you into missing the physicality of it. It’s easy to start thinking that it’s perfectly reasonable for a kicked ball to go exactly where the player intended, or that a ball flying fifty yards through the air should by all logic settle down nice and easy on the toe of a person’s foot, but remember that a soccer ball is an inanimate object. Almost everything you’re seeing these players do with it has taken hours and hours, even years, to perfect. It’s like watching a constant stream of magic tricks. Enjoy that. Clap right there on the couch if you want to. That’s what I do.

Now, as many have said, it’s hard to truly appreciate this stuff if you’ve never played before, but if you haven’t, try this. Imagine you’re running as fast as you can. I mean a full-on panting sprint. Now imagine doing something else with your feet at the same time. Seriously, imagine it. It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea, isn’t it? Now imagine there’s another human trying his best to stop you. Imagine that other human is a brawny Brazilian nicknamed Hulk. When you start to see it that way, you realize that soccer isn’t all about the goals. It’s about all the amazing little things that happen along the way. That’s why Pelé called it the beautiful game. And because he called it that, I got picked on a lot as a kid.


当我第一次听到“足球”这个词时,我才五岁。我和最好的朋友在他妈妈的旅行汽车里换着新制服,我发现这上面有着足球这个名称。我觉得它和我们正要试穿的紫色长筒袜一定有关系。后来,我才知道他叫护膝(shin guard)。

一年后,有一次我学了拼写,我很困惑的看到我喜欢的运动不是“socker"。而我第一次看到的球赛正是我参加的那一场。我好像当时进了一个球。我通常都是这么做的。这一点也不吹牛,我就像一个五岁男孩在德克萨斯州北部太阳烤焦的球场下,穿着一直挂到我膝盖的紫色有孔球衣。在目标面前,我绝对是个巨大的威胁。当时正处于七十年代中期,美国的足球浪潮中期。那会,最初的北美足球联盟刚刚成立。我是达拉斯龙卷风队(Dallas Tornado)球迷,我看到他们与拥有和贝利和贝肯鲍尔的纽约宇宙队(New York Cosmos)踢球。我将一张小Kyle Rote的海报贴在墙上。似乎,每个美国小孩都在踢球,包括女孩子也是。而这些女孩里踢得最好的,长大后和男孩子一起踢球,并成为美国第一代国家足球队难以置信的主力。我很乐意地认为我与此有关联。







如果两名球员离球的距离是一只腿的长度,那么其他二十名球员正在球场的其他地方玩呢,他们做的所有事情都能影响其他所有事情。足球是复杂的,持续变化,奔跑的的象棋比赛。投入,了解一个球员的队友的移动如何给他提供一些机会或者为他运球提供新的空间。他做了什么决定?在防守阶段,注意到一名球员任何方向上几码的移动如何改变球队的防守阵型,是有空间了,还是没有了。 享受这一切的社会文化人类学。




不要让广镜头促使你失去全局观。很容易想到什么方向是球员想要踢的合理完美的方向,或者球在空气中通过所有逻辑合理设定完美落到五十码外,轻易地落到球员脚上。但是要记住的是,足球是很没人性的东西。几乎你看到的一切的幕后是球员花了一个又一个小时甚至几年练就的。这就像看无穷尽的魔术。享受它,如果你想的话就拍拍沙发。这就是我做的。 现在,就像许多人说的,如果你之前从未踢过球的话,你很难完全欣赏足球。不过,如果你真的没踢过的话,那就试试这个,想象你尽可能快的跑。我指的是喘着粗气的跑。现在想象,你正在同时用你的脚做其他的事情。很认真的,想象它。你很难在大脑充实这个想法,不是吗?现在想象,这里有另一个人正在尽全力阻止你。再想象这里有个外号是“绿巨人”的强壮巴西人。当你开始这样看待它时,你意识到足球不仅仅关于比分。他是关于所有发生的令人惊奇的小事。这就是为什么贝利说它时美好的运动,也是为什么他这么说它,我在小的时候领略很多。

(译者 郑雅琳 编辑 丹妮)


世界杯期间非球迷怎么享受足球 世界杯期间非球迷怎么享受足球