SCHMIDT: Soccer is the sporting world’s NyQuil

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In America, the existence of soccer-spewing Irish pubs is insipid and grotesque in the same way Brett Favre wearing purple is a crime against humanity.

The beers are unappetizingly dark and bitter, the bathrooms are dank and suspiciously sticky and the men are overly boisterous with their inane chatter and chants. Which of course brings us to the absolute worst thing about soccer-spewing Irish pubs: they spew soccer. They spew it from every television and every radio with reckless abandon.

Yet as fellow Marquette Tribune columnist Tim Seemen blindly tries to find a soccer team to call his own, I’m desperately trying to run away from them.

Before Landon Donovan and Bob Bradley show up at my door with silencers, let me explain that I understand that soccer is the world’s most popular sport. I know that soccer can rally countries, unite continents, cure cancer and find the body of Jimmy Hoffa. People adore it and that’s never going to change.

But there’s one thing people seem to forget in the hoopla of the World Cup and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dreaminess. Soccer, in any format or iteration, is unwatchable. The level of excitement during a match is coma-inducing at best, and upon further inspection, it’s easy to tell that the annoying buzzing sound that loomed over this year’s World Cup was not a grand collection of vuvuzelas, but a stadium full of snoring fans.

Soccer: the sporting world’s Nyquil.

Despite the lack of action, soccer still manages to draw an incomprehensible number of fans — fans who are willing to paint their entire bodies ridiculous colors, light trash cans on fire, and commit minor felonies all in the name of their favorite teams.

An estimated 715.1 million people tuned in for the 2006 final between Italy and France. In terms of viewers, the World Cup makes the Olympics look like a Kenosha variety show.

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe most of America just doesn’t get it. Maybe with the right team, with the right opportunity, at the right time, there can be a soccer revolution in this country.

But I doubt it. Look at the facts. America is a place all about instant gratification. We need bone-crushing tackles, high-flying dunks, towering homeruns that scrape the underside of Jupiter. Waiting an hour before a team even a shot on goal is practically a death sentence. Strap me up to an electric chair because there’s no way I’m watching the Chicago Fire play footsy for 90 minutes.

Here’s how sad the soccer situation is in America. Team USA scored a total of four goals in group play at the World Cup, the team won one match against Algeria (who didn’t score any goals in the tournament), tied matches against England and Slovenia, and barely squeaked into the knockout stage when Slovenia was beaten 1-0 by England. It was considered the best performance by an American team in 70 years.

Team USA promptly lost to Ghana three days after its match with Algeria in a real nail-biter, 2-1. Donovan, Bradley and company returned home as heroes, doing the media tour with Letterman and Leno praising their efforts.

One win. That’s it. Apparently the bar is so low that even Mini Me can’t limbo under it.

Even though I won’t tolerate or watch soccer, the educated fan in me knows I have to respect a sport so historic and grand in scale.

I respect that because of the current rules and regulations in place, it’s basically impossible to score. I respect that Marquette’s men team has made great strides to becoming a decent player in the Big East, and that the women’s team is truly one of the elite programs in the country. I respect Team USA and the media for desperately trying to spark some interest in the sport.

That doesn’t change the fact that watching soccer is like listening to Ben Stein narrate “A Tale of Two Cities”.  And you wonder why the Irish have drinking problems.

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