George Hale Talks More about the World Cup

Updated 3 months ago

THE WORLD CUP CONTINUES…AND THE U.S. IS STILL ALIVE.

GEORGE HALE TALKS SOCCER:

I USUALLY DON’T DO FOLLOW UPS ON SUBJECTS WE HAVE DISCUSSED BUT TONIGHT I’LL MAKE AN EXCEPTION WITH THE WORLD CUP.

WITH THE SUCCESS OF TEAM USA IN MAKING THE KNOCKOUT ROUND OF 16 AMID MASSIVE MEDIA ATTENTION AND RATINGS WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SOCCER IN IN AMERICA?

WILL IT BE A WATERSHED MOMENT OR THE TURNING POINT FOR THE SPORT IN THIS COUNTRY.

WE KNOW THAT THOUSANDS OF KIDS PLAY THE GAME BUT IN MOST SCHOOLS FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL AND BASEBALL DOMINATE.

LAST WEEK WE TALKED ABOUT A POLL THAT REVEALED TWO OUT OF THREE AMERICANS DIDN’T PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORLD CUP AT ALL EXCEPT WHEN TEAM USA WAS ON THE PITCH.

SO IN THE AFTERMATH LET’S REVISIT THE ISSUES AGAIN AS WE RALLY AROUND THE FLAG AND CHEER THE TEAM ON.

THIS IS PRETTY GOOD NEWS FOR DEVOTEES OF THE SPORT BECAUSE THE LARGE SUCCESS ON TELEVISION IS IN YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHICS.

SOCCER HAS GAINED BIG NUMBERS IN THE 12-17 CATEGORY.

OLDER VIEWERS, WHO ARE LESS APT TO MAKE CHANGES IN LIFESTYLE, ARE MORE RESISTANT TO THINGS THAT ARE NEW.

TO BE SURE THE WORLD CUP, AND SOCCER FOR THAT MATTER, ISN’T FOR THE CONVENTIONAL SPORTS FAN WHO GREW UP WITH THE MAJOR GAMES AND NATIONAL
TITLES.

MANY NON-BELIEVERS SIMPLY THINK THAT SOCCER IS BORING AND JUST CAN’T GET USED TO LOW OR NON SCORING MATCHES.

SURE ICE HOCKEY CAN BE THAT WAY TOO BUT IT’S CONSTANT ACTION AND BODY CONTACT MAKE IT MORE EXCITING.

HOWEVER, YOUNG PEOPLE CHANGE QUICKLY AND THE PARTY ATMOSPHERE SHOWN ON THEIR TV SCREENS BECOMES VERY ATTRACTIVE.

BUT WILL THE UNITED STATES BECOME A BONA-FIDE SOCCER NATION STILL REMAINS A VERY LARGE QUESTION.

WE CAN ALL REMEMBER BRANDI CHASTAIN RIPPING OFF HER JERSEY BACK IN 1999 AND RUNNING AROUND THE FIELD IN CELEBRATION.

THE MEDIA SAID IT WAS A WATERSHED EVENT FOR SOCCER…IT WASN’T.

WATCHING TEAM USA PLAY IN THE WORLD CUP HAS BECOME THE “IN” THING TO DO THESE DAYS.

THERE ARE WATCH PARTIES AND PUBLIC SHOWINGS IN PARKS AND OTHER VENUES.

WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THIS HAS GENERATED A TON OF PUBLICITY AND INTEREST IN SOCCER.

BUT LET’S HOLD ON FOR JUST A MINUTE–WHEN YOU COMPARE IT TO THE NFL, NBA, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL THERE IS A HUGE GAP OF INTEREST.

THE WORLD CUP ONLY OCCURS EVERY FOUR YEARS TO BEGIN WITH AND IS HAPPENING WHEN SUMMER IS UNDERWAY AND VIEWSHIP DROPS DOWN.

ESPN DESERVES A LOT OF CREDIT FOR THEIR COVERAGE AND WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT HIGH CABLE RATINGS.

THE REALITY IS THAT THE USA VS PORTUGAL GAME DID NOT COME CLOSE TO A MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME.

YESTERDAY THE GAME WAS PLAYED AT NOON WHEN MOST PEOPLE WERE AT WORK UNLESS THEY FIBBED AND CALLED IN SICK.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT SOCCER IS A BAD GAME OR THAT PEOPLE DON’T CARE.

IT’S A TERRIFIC GAME AND SHOWCASES SOME OUTSTANDING ATHLETES.

BUT TO SAY THAT MAKING IT TO THE KNOCKOUT ROUND OF THE WORLD CUP HAS TURNED THE TIDE IN LONG TERM PUBLIC INTEREST IS A STRETCH.

THE PUBLIC ATTENTION IS VERY QUICKLY GOING TO TURN TO THE PENNANT RACES AND THE BEGINNING OF COLLEGE AND PRO FOOTBALL AS SOON AS THE BRAZIL
EVENT ENDS.

THOSE HOUSE PARTIES AND VIEWING SITES ARE GREAT PLACES TO DRINK, EAT AND MAKE MERRY.

IT’S SUMMER AND WE ALL LIKE TO HAVE FUN.

MY REAL POINT HERE IS TO PUT THINGS IN CONTEXT AND REMIND FOLKS THAT WE WATCH WINTER SPORTS LIKE LUGE AND BOB SLED BUT DON’T THINK ABOUT THEM
UNTIL THE NEXT OPLYMPICS.

SOCCER FANS AND PLAYERS DESERVE THEIR MOMENT IN THE SUN.

TO ME IT’S A BETTER GAME IN PERSON THAN ON TV BECAUSE THE CAMERAS TEND TO SLOW THE PACE DOWN.

ON TUESDAY TEAM USA WILL FACE BELGIUM AND IT WON’T BE EASY.

UNDERDOGS AGAIN BUT AMERICANS LIKE THAT.

BUT I’M NOT READY TO SAY THIS SURGE OF PATRIOTISM AND FLAG WAVING INDICATES A MASSIVE CHANGE IN THE HABITS OF MILLIONS OF SPORTS FANS.

FOR THE MOMENT IT’S GO USA!

THIS IS GEORGE HALE AND THAT’S MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS!


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