By: Ty Olson
Johannasburg, South Africa – At 4:45 p.m. ET on June 26, 2010 soccer died in America. It was a long and agonizing death; one seen by a national audience hoping, praying for a chance to get swept up in an international phenomenon.
But the Ghanan national team had different plans; they seemed determined to show these new and arrogant newcomers the true nature of soccer. Up 2-1 in stoppage time, opposing defenders put on a display that would make Tanya Harding smile. Americans watched with abject horror demanding to know why Ghanan defenders were withering on the ground in unprompted pain. The answer was simple, they were running time off the clock and Americans were watching a stupid sport not compatible with our culture. This lesson was learned by everyone but our hipster friends and they must be stopped.
This sick charade has gone on far too long. Americans thought we had put soccer behind us. Rooney, Beckham, 0-0 ties, Maradona’s bad hair, it appeared that we had packed them in neat little boxes and stored them in the darkest corners of our basements; safe, away with our Christmas lights to open again in the distant future. Normal Americans treat soccer like our Democratic Presidents. We call on them out of boredom and morbid curiosity only to exile them after the product is realized – it’s a vicious cycle but one we are accustomed to.
One can sympathize with our dismay, then, when a splattering of Premier League updates began surfacing on Facebook, Twitter, and ESPN. This phenomenon was brought about by the American hipster population and it is unacceptable. Not only is soccer an eyebleedingly awful sport, it is incompatible with the hipster code of conduct. We would be wise to share with our flannel-clad friends now, before things get out of control, that it is baseball, not soccer, that should be embraced by their kind.
Hipsters thrive on minimalist self-awareness. It is their maxim. They have tried to harness the power of soccer to accompany their lifestyle but they are attempting to square a circle. For starters, soccer garners them no subtle attention. Unlike, say, a Big League Chew t-shirt or a Mario Brothers hat, Americans have no sense of nostalgia towards a Liverpool jersey; they cannot pick up on any deep sense of irony because they don’t care. Hipsters have tried to convince themselves that this is what they want but we all know deep down inside they thrive on attention. Quiet laughs and nods of appreciation for knowledge of the forgotten are fuel that feeds this subset.
Baseball, not soccer provides Hipsters with an outlet to impress through reminiscence. Take an old Orioles shirt or a retro Pirates hat – now those are our icons culture can get behind. The proper amount of time has passed for a hipster to wear them, they are cool looking, and, most importantly, America has a long and forgotten history with baseball that we still care about.
Ask a hipster a question about Manchester United and he will jump at the chance to shove an endless stream of statistics down your throat. But the hipster soon realizes that, while he thrives on retelling trivial information, nobody in America cares about a skinny, prancing, euro with a trash mohawk. Ask an American about Babe Ruth, however, and his eyes light up.
Americans have always had a close association with baseball — it is woven into our history. Which sport sent its stars to fight in World War Two? Baseball. Which sport plays a song during its break that every American, young and old knows by heart? Baseball. Which sport integrated African Americans at the height of racial civil unrest? Baseball. Which sport produced the one movie that causes men to tear up*? Baseball.
Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Pete Rose, Roberto Clemente, on and on the greats go. Americans may have forgotten the rich history of baseball but they appreciate it. This is a hipster’s dream — a forgotten and popular sport with a never-ending list of statistics dying to be called upon and argued about.
Like soccer, baseball is a non-contact sport. This pleases the hipsters. Our black rimmed friends want a spectators sport; one that allows them to follow the game, not actually play it. Baseball was once described as an opera; a methodical and beautiful presentation interrupted by arias and fits of excitement. Soccer, concurrently, is a loud, slow, and obnoxious sport and one that requires attention at all times. Hipsters should not kid themselves, baseball, not soccer, provides them with the structure they crave.
A ballgame provides enough entertainment and the proper amount of downtime to sit and discuss important issues of the day. Issues like why the Dirty Projectors are a good band, which local bar that carries Connect Four is the best, and where one can find customized tote bags. This is the true nature of the hipster: discussion, statistics, and engagement.
And what, may we ask, is the purpose of discussion if there is no one to discuss with? We have all seen the Facebook updates, “Waking up at 3:00 am for the big Newcastle/Sunderland match!!!” Have fun with that, the rest of us are going to bed you freaking weirdo. America is willing to tolerate the hipster web of knowledge and sense of irony but we will come to the table on our own terms. So please, let the Ghanans and the Euros stew in their own mediocre activities; be an American and take us to a baseball game. Maybe then we’ll start listening to your lecture about our carbon footprint.
*Field of Dreams – Judge all you want but that catch scene got you too.