Kaback: The greatest country in the world could use some kicks

By Andrew Kaback

London is kind of dreary. I know that I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with that… London is kind of dreary. I know that I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with that realization, but it’s terribly disappointing. I’m still confused as to why I haven’t had Peter Pan fairy dust sprinkled on me. And where the hell is Mary Poppins? I can’t even go out to a restaurant — no, the food  doesn’t actually taste that bad; it’s just a Sweeney Todd thing. The sixth time that I sent soon-to-be Princess Kate Middleton my phone number and recieved no response was the moment that I started to reconsider this trip.

All right, living in London isn’t all that bad. It’s better than a romantic evening with David Carradine. Still it’s absolute rubbish to have to pay for all of this crap in pounds sterling. The dollar needs to step its game up because my wallet is weighing less than Keira Knightley right now. Again,I’m not just trying to complain about how bloody awful London is, I’m simply saying that David Beckham wouldn’t be the most metrosexual man in this city.

I can’t pretend for too long that I don’t love living in London. It’s amazing to be in Europe, and London has some of the greatest sights and experiences that the world can offer. Yes, I mean Tower Bridge and Westminster Abbey and all that jazz, but I really am talking about soccer. Wait — what did I just say?

I love the United States. People who love the U.S. don’t love soccer. Saying I love soccer would be like saying that my favorite kind of breakfast food is a crepe. Am I letting my country down? Do I like football? Did I just refer to soccer as football? I’m supposed to be all about baseball and real football. I’m supposed to be all about Peyton Manning and Albert Pujols — I’m supposed to think soccer is lame.

No matter how hard I try to keep my American reputation going, I don’t think I can make it through the semester. I’ve tried to be as loud as I can, and I’ve made a fool out of myself at every pub. Even more so, I’ve said more words on the London Underground than every English person combined. I am doing my darndest to make my country proud, but soccer is just destroying my patriotism.

Now I usually consider myself quite the American sports fan. I am all about cold weather, hot dogs and drunken public displays of affection. Some NASCAR fans might need to put their shirts back on, but still, Americans are some of the best fans in the world. Sure, Canadians can get excited about their hockey, but I’d take a tailgate over a mimic-Sidney Crosby beard any day of the week. Between “Field of Dreams” and “Angels in the Outfield,” I have shed more tears than viewers of James Cameron movies.

A soccer stadium in England is like a great church, only with less-comfortable seats and a higher attendance rate. The Brits care about soccer more than Ryan Seacrest does about his hair. It’s like everybody in the entire country put down their tea and picked up a soccer ball. The only difference between an English person and a hooligan is game day, and it is brilliant.

Why doesn’t the U.S. have a legitimate interest in soccer? The longer I’m here, the more convinced I am that soccer would be perfect for our great nation. Here’s the thing about soccer: It’s awesome! Well, it’s still kind of filled with crying and short-shorts, but then again I love Jersey Shore too. Soccer is excellent because it combines all of this country’s favorite sports into one beautiful game:

It has all of the drama of basketball, the crowds of football and the bore of baseball.

I understand that just because British people like something doesn’t make it awesome — you know I’m talking about cucumber sandwiches. But I promise that soccer is different. I don’t mean different like Michael Jackson’s choices late in life, but more like Lady Gaga different. We love cheers and spectacular showings of athleticism, and soccer would give that to us. London might be dreary, but don’t we Pittsburghers know that dreary days are the best for sports?

London hasn’t been everything that I wished it would be. There’s a serious lack of Shakespearean clothing and usage of the word “cheerio.” I figured that I would be in the CSI lab with Sherlock Holmes and pickpocketing with Oliver Twist, but the closest that London has come to fulfilling my expectations has been in the abundance of jokes about the French.

London has given me one thing that I never imagined — an appreciation for the game that the entire world loves. I realize that the United States is the best country in the world, but it’s time for us to make the realization that the rest of the universe already has: Soccer is awesome! Yes, it’s kind of lame, but at least it’s not cricket.

E-mail Andrew at [email protected]