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Making the Case – No More Trolling

This is a case of beer. We are making an argument or case about something. See the connection?

By Mike CardilloThat's On Point

“Crawl. Walk and then run.” — Clay Davis

“I'm just a troll who's intentions aren't good, oh lord please let me be misunderstood.”  — Anonymous

Where are we as soccer fans in America?

Certainly past infancy and the terrible twos. Perhaps we're now in the petulant teen mode.

(I must file a strongly-worded letter to the
maker of this graphic, post haste!)

We want everything — immediately. Right now! Every game, every second, every play should be a World Cup final multiplied by the Champions League wrapped in the 5-foot-7 frame of Lionel Messi with a cooing Ray Hudson shrieking in the background about champagne bubbles. 

Right or wrong behavior or mentality, that's sometimes how it seems. Yes, sure, it's progress from the “modern” era of U.S. soccer that began with the 1990 World Cup, but maybe it's a little unrealistic.

One place where we can all, as American soccer fans, agree is that we probably need to grow up — or at least grow a thicker skin — when the old, dying wave of media members with an ingrained hatred of the Beautiful Game open up their yaps or get behind their keyboards and spew garbage, as Joe Queenan, a “humorist” did in the Wall Street Journal, trying to frame the U.S. U-23 team's failure to qualify for the London Olympics as proof nobody in America cares about the sport.

At the same time last week, apparently, UFC president Dana White called soccer boring in advance of promoting a fight at a soccer stadium in Brazil, leading to some banter back and forth on Twitter.

My question: why give these trolls any credence?

The Queenan story in the WSJ was so fraught with factual errors it was actually hilarious and, come on, does anyone truly care if the UFC president does or doesn't like something? Does it cause you to lose sleep at night?

Same thing goes for the King of American “soccer haters,” Jim Rome. His schtick is about as fresh as rollerblades, stuck somewhere in 1993 where calling your listeners “clones” was considered edgy.

Truly, why engage people who are have nothing left to cling onto other than the fact, as has been proven for years, that America soccer fans have the softest skin in the world? (I, like all of us, is guilty of this, admittedly.)

Look, in a way, trolling especially via Twitter and other Internet means fascinates me. Gun to may head, the ultimate troll account, @Fansince09 might be the most hilariously brilliant use of the medium out there. If you don't get the joke, I feel bad for you.

As it is, when you go onto an online forum whining — yes whining — about the mean things a Queenan writes or a Rome says, you're playing into their hands when realistically these idiots are no better than a pranking troll like Fansince09, albeit much less offensive or hilarious. For decades there was no lazier sports' columnist trope than writing how soccer was for commies or would never be accepted in America, and watch the teary-eyed fans lash back and retort.

More than anything, as soccer and soccer fans mature in America, shouldn't we be past worrying about who does or doesn't like the sport? Sure, the anchors of “SportsCenter” still can't pronounce half the names correctly when they read a highlight — but soccer plays are a almost a daily fixture in their “Top 10” plays.

Over the weekend when New York Cosmos legend Giorgio Chinaglia died it garnered more attention than was expected, all with the proper amount of reverence — especially for a player who was most famous for playing in a league that became extinct nearly 30 years ago.

And let's face it too, when the NASL died in the early 1980s soccer did nearly fade away from the American sports landscape. Nowadays you almost can't go a day without a major soccer event on television. Just look at this week, starting with the weekend's European action, the Monday Manchester United/Blackburn game, the (UEFA) Champions League and CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday, MLS and Europa League on Thursday … there's never a dull moment.

That's not even to mention the new generation of kids on playgrounds kicking a ball around or sitting in their bedrooms trash-talking me when they beat me at FIFA, who've grown up not knowing a world where soccer wasn't part of the mainstream American sports culture.

So yeah, if you want to fall into the fading, desperate trap in the last wheezing breaths of the soccer-haters, be my guest. Yet when people leap to the defense of the sport they themselves end up coming off as preachy, evangelists. It's a free country. People can like or dislike sports as they please. Personally, I loathe professional golf and tennis. I understand why people are interested in it — maybe not rooting for an individual golfer who probably wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire — but it doesn't bother me one way or another. Yet no matter how much purple prose is waxed poetic about Roger Federer, I'm just not going to care. In one ear, out the other.

Granted, soccer fans have had thin skins for years of being told that their sport sucks, is for fancy European divers and will never be popular in America. At the same time, trying to convince someone why they MUST like something gets tiresome after a while (EDITOR'S NOTE… No… never.).

In the world we live in circa 2012, shouldn't we all better than that? There's enough high-level soccer easily accessed that a person can decide on their own whether or not they like it. (ANOTHER EDITOR'S NOTE: Free beer does help, though)

Shouldn't we all have grown up, if only a little?

And isn't one of the biggest leaps from teenager to adult learning to be comfortable in your own skin and not worrying about what everybody else thinks?

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