Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Friday, June 09, 2006

Quidditch and the World Cup

Luke had his first tumbling class today, so I took advantage of the time w/o the little guy to meet up with a friend who was in the city for the day. We met up at Puffy's Tavern and I got to watch him drink a pint while I sipped a glass of water (picking up a toddler from tumbling class with alcohol on your breath is a no-no). They were playing the first match of the World Cup, and many of the people who were there had clearly come for the sole purpose of watching the match. Which got me to thinking . . .

I think when the generation of children that Sam & Jill belong to are young adults soccer might be bigger here in America than most of the sports that dominate ESPN's lineup at present. It's ubiquitous. Most every child I know (and that's a lot of kids) plays soccer. It's much more in keeping with the middle class dominating values of teamwork, sportsmanship and the "everyone is a winner" spirit than baseball, basketball or football. It's a global sport, and the pre-9/11-George W. Bush mindset that believed one could get away with not considering the world outside the US is a thing of the past.

But the two most important reasons why soccer is soon going to be a major US sport have very little to do with sports themselves. Those reasons are Harry Potter and Tivo.

Fundamentally, if Harry Potter is down with something, it's bound to become cool to American kids. But, although we have everything else, Uncle Sam, sadly, can not provide an experience even closely resembling the Quidditch World Cup in the level of excitement, anticipation, international involvement or excuse to make judgmental and often inflammatory generalizations about other countries. So what option does the US youth have but to turn to the World Cup? Gosh, Harry even made being the outsider who's come to the party way late and ignorant of the whole experience an OK thing to be (as long as you catch on quick, of course).

And finally, Tivo & DVR systems are becoming so widespread in middle class American households that during the Winter Olympics this year I had to spend close to 45 minutes explaining to an alternately irate and tearful Jill why it was simply IMPOSSIBLE to fastforward through the boring parts of LIVE television. A televised baseball game is absolute torture to the child who's used to clicking through every commercial she's ever come up against. Soccer is the perfect answer to this problem. There are two halfs with one break in the middle, no endless time outs. It's the obvious choice in terms of live sporting events for the media expectations of the kids we're currently raising.

Plus, there is the added benefit of casual sex, at least according to John Hodgman. Explanatory YouTube video to come (hopefully).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're crazy, soccer will never be bigger than baseball. You forgot that individual achievement is a much huger deal in American than teamwork.

And you call yourself an Ayn Rand fan!

7:22 AM  

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