Argentina's Passion for Fútbol

The Argentines are a passionate people, and their devotion to fútbol or soccer is legendary. Their fanaticism for the game andSoccer Ball by jbelluch on Flickr its heroes reaches a level virtually unrivaled among American sports fans. Argentina's golden boy, Diego Maradona, is unfailingly worshipped by Argentine soccer fans in spite of numerous scandals over the years. In fact, he was just selected as the coach of the Argentine national soccer team. Read about it here.

While there are many aspects of Argentine culture which I readily accept, the great passion for soccer does not count among them. I just don't feel that jolt of excitement when watching a soccer game; frankly, fútbol just leaves me feeling bored and indifferent. Apparently I am not alone in that mindset, as soccer is one of the least popular spectator sports in the United States. Soccer is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a sport, and I suppose it just doesn't translate well. This article explores various theories as to why soccer fails to draw admiration from American fans.

Pat Burrell on Deck by Scott Ableman on Flickr

While I find it difficult to get behind soccer, I joyfully celebrated a tremendous victory last night in the quintessential American sport: baseball. My hometown team – the Philadelphia Phillies – garnered the team's first World Series title since 1980 and the city's first professional sports championship since 1983. Click here to watch the strikeout that ended it all and clinched the 2008 World Series for the Phils! The curse has been lifted.

Argentine soccer fans continue to endure a similar title drought, with their last World Cup win coming in 1986 from a team led by none other than Maradona. I guess we HAD something in common after all. ;)

I'll wrap up this post with a parting confession. There is one thing I love about soccer: I can't help but break into a grin when the announcers scream "¡Gooooooooool!" Have a look at Maradona's "Goal of the Century" from the 1986 World Cup:

[Photo credits: jbelluch & Scott Ableman]

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