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Parasiliti: Giving soccer preferential treatment

September 04, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Labor Day is a good time to reflect on the guilty pleasures I can afford.

I like Chinese, but I prefer a steak and potato.

I like pina coladas and I don’t mind getting caught in the rain.

I like different types of music, but prefer classic rock.

I’m not partial to broccoli. I’d rather have an ear of corn.

Soccer isn’t my favorite sport. I just enjoy football.

I’ll stop there. This sounds like an online dating profile.

Everyone has a list of preferences. It makes us individuals. It makes us interesting.

Variety is the spice of life … and life can use a little seasoning these days.

It gives us the right to actually pick the Yankees over the Orioles or the Redskins over the Ravens or Steelers. There are battles between sausage and pepperoni. Is it paper of plastic at the grocery story?

Choices are our personal fork in the road. Yet, choices of others bother some.

That’s evident when reading the comment section at the end of most stories posted online. There is more name-calling on those postings than you’ll hear in an episode of Real Housewives of New York.

We live in a society where it’s acceptable to condemn someone who doesn’t embrace your preferences. Basically, you have two knees. Jerk one in reaction without any reasoning.

For awhile, I have been labeled as a soccer hater in some circles. In my opinion, high school soccer teams are ill-advised to open their seasons on the same night as football.

Automatically, my soccer label appears. First, let’s get some things straight.

I’m a 50-something guy who grew up in a “Mom, baseball and apple pie” culture. That’s when soccer was occasionally shown on Wide World of Sports.

Back then, soccer is what you did to a little girl you had a crush on during recess.

It was a game played in gym class when the teacher wanted a break. We’d chase a ball for 45 minutes while he either napped or sat laughing because we looked like a pack of bloodhounds chasing a fox.

Soccer soon became its own cult sport in the United States. In the 90s, many hit pitches — the field to kick a soccer ball, not a thrown ball with a bat.

I did watch the World Cup, even without totally understanding the sport. Maybe that’s why I’d take the NFL anytime.

So, my stance on soccer’s opening day is a simple matter of supply and demand.

These days, schools offer more events with fewer fans in the stands. Playing multiple sports on one day forces fans into choices, which thins out the crowds. It also diverts media attention because the pie can only be cut in so many pieces.

Then, automatically, that knee jerks again with claims of hatred and bias against soccer. Yet, everyone shows up when it is the only game in town.

Like it or not, Friday — especially on opening day — is the “traditional” day for high school football. Remember, there are points, not spots, on the ball in “Friday Night Lights.”

In reality, I don’t hate soccer. I’m realistically trying to give its players the same recognition as football players … Just on a different day.

Soccer and broccoli may not top my list of favorites, but soccer has one advantage.

I prefer something else, but at least I’ll give it a try.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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