Soccer's On The Move
Watching soccer, Liverpool verses Chelsea. I'm utterly amazed at the body dexterity, especially the feet, of professional soccer players. My dad, a Scotsman, continued playing this game when he arrived in America in the 1920's settling in Yonkers, New York, playing there with friends of The Partick Thistle. He gave up the game in the mid 30's when we moved to Pottstown since there was little interest shown in soccer by local natives. Even so, dad seemed quite athletic during most of his life. On occasion, he would kick balled up paper in the air keeping them going for many minutes at a time. Often he'd bop the balled up paper with his head during his antics just as we observe being done during soccer matches seen today on TV.
One aspect of soccer is finally sinking into my mind after years and years of playing and watching football. It is understanding that every one of the eleven soccer players on the field will kick the ball during the game. Most would also head the ball during the contest. Every one of the players must be proficient with their feet and head, they must be able to run, to run with gusto, and must have body dexterity similar to a ballet dancer. All eleven will engage the ball many times during an average game. Quite different from football.
A game of specialists, football, has evolved into a game according to the girth of your body, your brute strength. The game of football is under stress lately due to long range damage occurring to ex-players from, doctors agree, head trauma. School administrators are starting to pay attention, parents of young children are are also becoming alarmed. A movement away from football is evident so where do children go to continue in sports but not with football ? Soccer. Soccer is a world wide phenomenon played in most countries, in most corners of the world, why not here ?
Transition won't happen right away because of the enormous investments in football and, from these huge investments, pour in profits beyond any rational estimates. But, eventually, the health of players, especially youthful players, when damage from head traumas which seem to accumulate over time create many in firmed until their early deaths. These facts far out weigh the publics' need for organized carnage so football too will slowly peter out.
Ronald C. Downie