With the start of the 2015 Premier League it got us to thinking, we need more local dads to meet up at the bar, and start drinking at 7:45am to celebrate opening day – and believe me, there are bars that do this all over the country including both where we at DaddyMindTricks live. Since this country is just now starting to give soccer a fair shake, we’re compiling an ‘American Dad Guide to the Premier League’ so that we can do our part at ushering in a new era of dad’s who watch a growing sport (in America) with their kids (when they’re not at the bar at 7:45am). To begin, you’re probably asking, “Why the hell should I get into something like English soccer?” so here are our 6 most important reasons:
1. Your Kids
The sport most played by youngsters age 2-5 is typically soccer because hand-eye coordination hasn’t quite developed for all the other sports and kicking is something that comes natural for a lot of kids (although the spectrum of “good” kickers is quite wide). When it comes to those older than 5 years, soccer is played more than football and volleyball, has a similar amount of participating youths as baseball and is only outdone by basketball being played the most in youth sports*. That said, if you’re going to watch kids who don’t know what the hell they’re doing then you might as well spend time watching professionals who do. This way both you and your kids can learn from people who actually have a talent for the sport. You have football on in your house probably, so put some soccer on as well.
2. Who Knows, You Might Like It
Once you see what soccer is actually all about you might find an appreciation you never knew you could have for it. Stop focusing on the jokes that jab at scoring. There’s actually plenty of games that rack up the points. Think about it this way, when a game goes 4-2 that means there was a goal, on average, every 15 minutes (and that’s real life minutes, not football minutes, since the clock never stops). Besides scoring, though, there’s tactics and set pieces that keep things interesting the whole time. As a country we need to stop making fun of a sport that is not only the largest sport in the world but arguably takes the most strategy and physicality to perform well – oh, and one that our kids enjoy playing.
3. Do You Actually Like Sports?
Most likely you do if you’re reading this, so if so, you’re in for a real treat. If you can find an appreciation for the sport then you are about to get a season that lasts from the beginning of August to the end of May (yes that’s only two months off). On top of that, there are tournaments played within the season as well so your team doesn’t just play on the weekends but if they’re good enough you’ll be watching them play on the weekdays as well. If all that wasn’t enough, every two summers there’s either the World Cup or the Euro Cup going on, where the world’s best players (some being from your team) will be on the world’s stage. And if you wanted even more soccer, the MLS runs during the summer and then there’s even the Women’s World Cup during the summer that there isn’t a major men’s tournament. Believe me, there will never be a shortage of games if you can find a love for the sport.
4. Losing Has Consequences
In this day and age where everyone’s a winner, English Premier League says differently. The bottom three teams at the end of the season get relegated to the next league below and the top three from that lower league get bumped up to the Premier League. So imagine one year the New York Mets are in the MLB and the next year they’re in the Minor League fighting their way back into the Majors (I’m not picking on the Mets, as I’m a fan of them, I’m just being honest). That’s some crazy shit right? And it’s not a horrible message to teach our kids that you can’t always win and losing does have consequences. Things happen in this life that is beyond our control yet they carry not so nice consequences and unfortunately it is what it is.
5. The Passion
I have been to so many live sporting events in my life that it’s impossible to count. I’ve even been to so many of my teams’ playoffs games and even watched my Florida State Seminoles win a National Championship live in person. But of all the sports in the world, soccer, by far, has the most passionate fans anywhere. Even here in America. You will never go to an NFL game where a section of fans have a microphone and a drum while leading chants for their team ALL game long. You will never go to a baseball game where the fans stand the ENTIRE time. You will never go to a basketball game where a section of fans have flags larger than your bed sheets. But go to even just an MLS game and you will see all of that, and more. You will not only become a die hard fan, after the first game you attend, but your kids will know what it feels like to be a part of some kind of exclusive club.
6. It Helps You Leave Stereotypes at the Door
This is a great opportunity at being a role model and showing your kids you at least try new things and don’t let what others think rule your decisions. How so?
You say you “don’t like diving” but have you ever looked at a real pair of soccer cleats? They’re made of a very thin material with sharp spikes on the bottom. When someone steps on your foot, with those spears called shoes, and it’s barely protected, or someone kicks you in the shin or groin at very fast speeds, or you collide heads in mid-air, you too are going to stop, drop, and roll. That said, yes, there are assholes who dive (like all sports) but there are also refs who are calling ‘Simulation’ on them and handing out yellow cards more than ever. Now you say you “don’t like games that end in a tie.” What you obviously haven’t experienced in other sports is that depending on who your team’s playing and where it’s being played, a tie is usually a win for one team and a loss for another. When you actually know the teams and the table (ranked standings) you actually know when a draw is more than just a draw and sometimes you’ll even be relieved just to pull level depending on how the game went. Don’t let other people’s uneducated opinions become your own. You wouldn’t want that for your children, would you?
Next week we’ll help you choose your team so keep an eye out for Part 2 to the ‘American Dad Guide to the Premier League’.
*Stats courtesy of ESPN http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/9469252/hidden-demographics-youth-sports-espn-magazine