This Sporting Life #10

October 10, 2014

I watch a lot of football (or soccer as it so quaintly known in North America) but I don’t usually watch MLS, no matter how well or badly the Whitecaps may be doing.  However, this evening, I watched the second half of the game against Seattle that the Whitecaps won by a single goal; and I tried to analyze why I don’t follow MLS more closely.

I worked it out:  the MLS is rather like a no-contact schoolboy league game and is therefore quite boring to anyone used to the best.

Modern football, as epitomised by the major European leagues (the English EPL, German Bundesligia, Serie A in Italy, or La Liga in Spain, for example), is a super-fast full-contact sport played by hard men (many with exquisite skills, but hard men nonetheless).  There is a certain level of brutality, I suppose, but that is the way the game has developed. It is hard to imagine any of the players I saw tonight coming off well in any clashes with a top European half-back.  I  can see them crawling off the pitch and crying into their yoga mats.

Perhaps more importantly is the lack of speed.  MLS forward advances seem ponderous at best and old-fashioned in their rigidity.  Top-class footballers follow their team’s prescribed shape at top speed but are always willing to tweak the tactic for an opportunity.

Finally, if tonight was any guide, the MLS officials are mediocre and proscriptive.  They also seem to miss a lot of the action and get little help from their assistants. They reminded me of European hockey refs who call a lot more contact penalties than an NHL official ever would.

And that, perhaps, is the best analogy:  MLS football is to European football as the British Hockey League is to the NHL. They all play the same game, but ….

Previous This Sporting Life epsiodes.

Free Speech?

October 10, 2014

free speech

An American cartoon, but apropos of the media blitz by Vision and its allies we are likely going to be subjected to here in Vancouver over the next four weeks.

Capsicum Chaos

October 10, 2014

Capsicum Chaos

Inspired by my walk past all the grocery stores on the Drive this morning.

Capturing The Prize

October 10, 2014

Well, both Philip Roth and Margaret Atwood missed out — again.  Congratulations to Patrick Modiano for winning this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature.

The citation for Modiano’s award says he received the award for “the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”  That sounds a lot like an Inflated Phrase to me, but good for him.

Yes, I am jealous.