A Sport By Another Name…

Photo Courtesy of The Johannesburg Soccer Stadium
Photo Courtesy of The Johannesburg Soccer Stadium

In America, the great debate of our generation has been playing out for half a century between two equally stubborn sides. It’s a battle over a name, one that has been applied to sport worldwide. And today, as it has been for as long as can be remembered, the debate over the name “football” is completely asinine and bone-headed.

The situation seems pretty simple to me. The game where the goal is to put the white ball into the net is “football.” It’s also known as “soccer” in many parts of the world. The game where the goal is to get the brown oblong ball into the end zone is called “American football,” which in conversation is just referred to as “football.” Both can be called football.

The fight between what to call these two sports has never been one between rational, well-rounded people. It is the kind of argument started ONLY by bigoted pricks that have some sort of air of superiority with something to prove. Every time, the instigators (and oftentimes the people who bite and join the argument) are doing so for no more reason than to show how “elite” they are.

It just ends up being a pissing contest – every time. And so for the people who care so much, I have a question: Does having “your” sport be referred to as “football” add anything to the experience?

I am an ardent supporter of both the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC. Were someone to ask me to choose one, I would be unable to do it. I can’t with confidence say that I am correct in my assessment of the names of each sport, but I can say for sure that the argument is ridiculous.

I routinely switch between referring to the Sounders as a soccer or football team depending on whom I am speaking with. It’s not a big deal, and it couldn’t be any simpler.

In truth, it doesn’t matter. As long as the person you are talking to knows what you’re talking about, does it matter whether you refer to the World Cup as “Soccer” or the Super Bowl as “Handball”? The words are interchangeable, and rational people just take the words for what they are.

If you’re that guy, the one who insists on making a big deal over the name someone uses when referring to your favorite sport, just stop: today is as good a day as any. Nobody cares how in-tune with your English roots you are, how many premier league games you watch each week, or how often American football actually involves using the feet.

It’s as pointless as an argument over taste: everyone’s is different, and no one is right.