I’ve been in London and Paris for the past week with my family, going through the regular tourist routine, seeing the sights. I spent every frequent flyer mile I’ve ever earned and if you have children, you know, as they get older the vacations better get exciting or they won’t want to go.
Anyway, the last time I was in Europe, I was surprised how little sports in the United States gets any play in the media. It’s still the same. The CNN Worldsport report is the best link to the sports world,and the occasionally available copy of USA Today or the International Herald Tribune (which devotes about a page and a half to sports) can keep you mildly updated about what’s going on at home.
If you think they’re wild about soccer in the rest of the world, you’re wrong. They’re absolutely bonkers about it. That’s what every newspaper (nine in London alone) trumpets in the headlines, that’s what every sportscast on television, regardless of the language, leads with.
A match between Bahrain and Bosnia? No problem, it’s the lead story, in Paris nonetheless. I like soccer; I like the rhythm of the game, and can see how they call it “The Beautiful Game”. But a steady diet of soccer is like rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner: eventually you’d like something else.
They do cover Formula One racing, cricket,(really) some tennis and golf, and even Cal Ripken’s retirement announcement got some play. But morning, noon and night, “football” is the “sport du jour”
The Europeans have an odd mix of thought regarding sports and sports celebrities. The tabloid papers will print anything and go to any extreme to get a suggestive picture, or some kind of dirt involving the sports stars. This seems to have numbed the sporting public into a “so what?” attitude. They’ll peruse the sports pages (usually beginning from the back page of the paper), chuckle at the foibles and move on.
There’s also a style of writing that has an assumption that you as the reader already know what’s going on and how it happened. You can’t find a recap of just about any game; they just jump into analysis, most screaming at the top of their lungs.
One of the problems is knowing what’s the truth and what people are making up. They’re not beyond that, so if you can’t cull out the truth, you’re behind the times.
I like to travel, to see how we fit in with the rest of the world, but give me some football.
Or bass fishing.
Soccer can wait.