What Ohio State Football Fans Can Learn From The World Cup

By Johnny Ginter on June 17, 2014 at 11:15a
48 Comments

The World Cup is the greatest singular sporting event on the planet. No other tournament or championship comes even close in terms of sheer drama and excitement, except maybe the World Air Guitar Championships held in Finland every year.

Last night was a pretty good example of that. Especially if you're at all invested in freedom, sweet shades, fast cars, and burgers the size of your head, because the US men's national team played some really awful soccer for the better part of 90 minutes and still emerged victorious over a Ghanan team that had been the bane of their existence for the last two World Cups.

The US struck first with one of the fastest goals in World Cup history, with Clint "Deuce" Dempsey, one of six soccer players in the world who legitimately look like they might stab a dude, beautifully weaving his way through Ghana's defense for a score.

Then, after some key injuries (including Dempsey probably getting his nose broken after a kick to the face), the US side played like a drunk bald eagle flopping around and trying to protect a broken wing. For the next 80 minutes, Ghana rifled shot after shot at the goal, and thank zombie Abraham Lincoln that we've got one of the world's best goalies in Tim Howard or else the game might've gotten completely out of hand.

Ghana eventually scored the equalizing goal, because a good comeback story is only good if there's an actual comeback involved, and then little regarded US substitute John Brooks snatched a 2-1 victory from the jaws of a tie with a terrific header off a corner kick in the 86th minute. Cue yelling, hugging, crying, people pretending to blow imaginary vuvuzelas, etc.

WHAT A WUSS

So far this has been an incredible World Cup in terms of games played, with some nail-biting drama, stunning upsets, and incredible shows of dominance. No matter what your overall familiarity with soccer might be, even for the casual fan there has been a ton to offer. And guess what? As a presumed Ohio State football fan, you (yes YOU) are better prepared for World Cup than maybe anyone on the planet.

Okay, that's a blatant exaggeration, but you are most assuredly better prepared than the average SEC fan. Here's why.

You Survived Tresselball

I loved Jim Tressel, you loved Jim Tressel, we all loved Jim Tressel. But let's not pretend that his style of football was anything but a coldly calculated slog of anxiety-riddled math, with the intended outcome being the square root of no turnovers plus the coefficient of clock control. It was often incredibly hard to watch, and the Ohio State fans that didn't die from the stress of watching a team gingerly protect a four point lead for three quarters only became stronger for having lived through it.

Well, welcome to the World Cup! If there is one college football fanbase that has been mentally prepared for low scoring games where both teams spend the better part of an hour and a half playing not to lose, it is Buckeye fans.

Hang On Sloppy

I think at some point Ohio State fans are going to have to acknowledge that we genuinely hate efficiency and perfect play. Think about it: who have been the most popular offensive players in OSU football history? Chic Harley through Archie through Ted Ginn through Braxton Miller, all of these dudes have been staccato improvisers, pulling insanity out of their back pocket at will. Brady-esque robotic precision doesn't really fly with us, and I love that.

Well, welcome to US men's soccer! The western European (and Brazillian, I guess) obsession with the "beautiful game" basically means that you not only try to win, you try to win as sexily as possible. Ohio State fans know that's a load of crap. I once bought a ticket for and sat and watched in sheer awe at a game that Ohio State won 22-14 on the strength of five evenly spaced out field goals and a whole lot of nothing else. IT WAS AWESOME.

That's how the US plays soccer. Grace, beauty? Feh. A USMNT cares not for such things. I think a Buckeye fan can get behind that.

LOUD NOISES

I've given up hope of Ohio State football fans ever developing any kind of cool, Euro League-esque chants or songs or anything more organized than the first six notes of Seven Nation Army repeated over and over. But that's okay too, because the World Cup changes the metric on which sporting enthusiasm is based! Organization is for wimps on the world stage, and the fact that Ohio State fans are pretty much only capable of white noise for hours on end is actually perfect for what you want to accomplish in the world's most important sporting tournament.

Remember when we tried to tell fans to show up in scarlet and gray to strip Ohio Stadium? Of course you don't, because it was a miserable failure. But we were loud anyway, because that's all we know. I mean, yeah, I'd love to a capella Build Me Up Buttercup sometime, but truthfully no one does loud gibberish better than OSU fans.

Which is perfect for the World Cup.


Here's the thing: soccer often gets a bad rap in America, particularly from football fans. As a massive fan of both, I obviously think that's absurd. Both sports are capable of moments of excitement and inspiration and insanity on a level that you typically don't see in real life without the police getting involved. That's special, and true sports fans of any stripe can look at an event and appreciate it on the level of a John Brooks pulling a victory rabbit out of his hat at the last second.

If you haven't already, Buckeye fans, I beg that you check out the World Cup. Not just out of a sense of national pride, but because you have all the tools to enjoy it already, even if you don't know it yet.

48 Comments

Comments

Stinson's picture

The Tresselball part was absolutely perfect. 

And those Air Guitar Championships in Finland... my God... -___-

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

They have nothing on the MEN CARRYING WOMEN COMPETITION !!

 

+5 HS
buckIalum's picture

Right before Ghana scored the equalizer I texted one of my fellow Buckeye alums "F@#$%& Tresselball!".

And just like Tresselball, in the end we did just enough to win. It was awesome!

+6 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

Depending on what happens with Jozy and the tactics for the lineup against Portugal - you may see some EXTREME TRESSELBALL for our boys against Portugal...like pooch punt from the 35 on 4th and inches type TresselBall. 

+1 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

No segment about the tattoo on his arm. Jk cool post. 

Wilkins78's picture

I've given up hope of Ohio State football fans ever developing any kind of cool, Euro League-esque chants or songs or anything more organized than the first six notes of Seven Nation Army repeated over and over.

This drives me so crazy at games.  At least learn (and sing) the fight songs people!

Aside from Beckerman and Jones, (and Deuce prior to getting swan kicked in the face) that was one of the worst winning games I've seen the US play, so hopefully they show up much improved against Portugal and for the rest of the tourney.  So far a pretty great Cup in my opinion.  There is a lot to enjoy.

+4 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

The US won with one of their best players out after 20 minutes, another with a busted nose, and a third (bradley) playing the worst game I've ever seen from him. Losing Altidore hurts, but Dempsey will be fine against Portugal and Bradley will play much better.

+2 HS
Dougger's picture

To reiterate your comment about Bradley, everytime he touched the ball he seemed to turn it over. So frustrating to watch

I like football

t-hane's picture

I kept muttering to no one in particular.  "We cant win this game 1-0." meaning we have to attack because playing defensive will get us beat.  I was right and I owe it all to tressel ball 

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

First soccer match I've watched in about four years.

It was worth the wait.

Some serious shredding at the Air Guitar Championships - wow.

 

+3 HS
xrox's picture

Plug for former OSU soccer alum Roger Espinoza playing for Honduras. He took us to the finals a couple years ago and plays for English club Wigan. The Crew had a friendly against Wigan last year, so it was cool to see him back in Columbus!

+5 HS
Denny's picture

a quick search of your document did not return the word 'socialism' so you failed, johnny

Taquitos.

AndyVance's picture

I'm definitely one of those folks who has been to a couple Crew matches (they were awesome) but more or less only watches the Cup (or any other soccer) to root for 'Merica and the defeat of Communism. I think the reason that futbol gets a "bad rap" from football fans is twofold: one, there are so many soccer fans who use the sport as an excuse to look down their noses at our decidedly U.S. game (football), and at our country in general - that very European sort of elitism, in other words.

And secondly, because for many of us, the "strategy" of soccer is not readily apparent... with our football, it's very straightforward: our 11 guys are going to try and push your 11 guys down the field so we can score. With soccer, the end goal might the same, but the path toward actually achieving a goal is much more... circuitous. Plus, there are so many rules that aren't apparently obvious to the layman (I also struggle with hockey for this reason).

Plea from a soccer neophyte: can anyone tell me the origin of the phrase "the beautiful game" used to describe futbol? I've always wondered.

+1 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Andy, not really sure of the origin of the term "beautiful game", but it refers to the artistic manner in which these elite 'ballers play. It may be Brazilian - certainly they perfected the ideal of playing with finesse, artistry, flair and a little "hot doggery" (if I can make up a term). If you watch some old highlights of Diego Maradona or Pele (or even, to a degree, Lionel Messi's goal the other day), you'll see them almost dancing with the ball at their feet, making ridiculous moves that most of us would struggle executing without trying to dribble a soccer ball.

It actually became a sore spot with many commentators and Brazilian fans - the old canard was that Brazil would rather look good (by playing "the beautiful game") and lose, than play boring, machine-like (think Germany!) soccer and win!

+3 HS
gutterwaste's picture

Good post, and bonus points for nearly quoting that basketball savant and degenerate gambler Billy Hoyle

+1 HS
GoBucks713's picture
ROBIN VAN PERSIE!!!!!!

Chipping the keeper with a header on the edge of the 18 yard box is why it's called the beautiful game.

-The Aristocrats!

+7 HS
Zimmy07's picture

That's freaking awesome.

+2 HS
GoBucks713's picture

Then they went on to win 5-1. That's awesome! I hate Spain almost as much as I hate France. I hope someone dumps France, and I hope it's Germany or the USMNT (Maybe even Muntant Ninja Turtles too)

TMNT

 

-The Aristocrats!

+2 HS
Bolt's picture

Italy is the god awful absolute worst for me. Watching Pirlo is brilliant, but I still keep wishing a sinkhole opens up on the field.

+2 HS
Bolt's picture

I lost my mind when this RvP goal happened in real time. And it still gives me chills to watch the replay. Man, I love the Neds.

+1 HS
NCBuckeye1's picture

It is Brazilian in origin...

O Jogo Bonito (The Beautiful Game): It describes the fluidity and artistry that the Brazilian national team plays with.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -- Woody

+1 HS
0therion0's picture

I agree on your two points, but think a third should be added. A later post references it: flopping. We [Americans] don't like seeing it in basketball and it is essentially non-existent in our other top sports. Soccer, on the other hand, boasts some of the worst-acted flops known to man. The epitome, in my opinion, being the combo of a delayed reaction with changing your mind about what's hurt. "Ow my leg.. I mean my face and/or arm"

I stopped being cool before it was cool to not be cool. #TrendSetter

+3 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

 

I think the lack of understanding of strategy is a very good point.  I also think Americans like scoring and hate ties.  Soccer delivers a lot of defense and a lot of ties. Because of the quality of the defense, the rarity of shots, and the even greater rarity of goals, there is incredible excitement with the shots, and certainly, the goals, but there is a lot of apparent nothingness in between - unless you know how the strategy is being worked.

 

How popular would basketball be if it was played like soccer? Runouts and dunks would be illegal (offsides), one team would dribble and pass the ball until the defense took it away, a couple of times a half each team would shoot to score, but probably wouldn't actually score, and a common final would be a 2-2 tie. I'm not sure too many people would come out to watch a low-scoring tie in an exhibition of defense, dribbling, and passing.  I think this is the core problem soccer has in grabbing many Americans.

Any changes made to help correct these things would change the core of the sport.  You could make the goals wider and taller, change rules to favor the offense, allow more "fast breaks" by altering the offsides rule, etc. - but then it wouldn't be soccer - at least how the rest of the world knows it.

 I have to ask myself what I would watch if the USA was playing for the WC championship on the same day and the same time that the football Buckeyes play Virginia Tech or Michigan State?  And the answer illustrates another problem soccer has.

+3 HS
AndyVance's picture

Great analogy, and I think you've hit on something there. While most of us can easily see the athleticism required to play soccer, and respect that, running around in circles for 90 minutes seems a bit... well, not productive. This also explains why baseball has not really caught fire with the younger demographics in the U.S. as it had in prior generations - it can be a rather bloody slow affair, with not a lot happening for the better part of four or five hours.

+2 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

Baseball is a good sport to bring up. Football was my favorite sport in HS, but baseball was what I was best at.  I played catcher, and the coach put me in charge of setting the defense and calling the pitches.  I was able to understand what we were doing, and why we were doing it.  I had action every pitch.  Much different than, say, an outfielder.  It was great fun.

That said, I can't remember the last time I watched all 9 innings of a baseball game.  I just can't take it - even tho I understand the strategy.  I can appreciate how a pitcher is working hitters, and how fielders are shading a guy, but I can't appreciate it for 9 innings.  All the fidgeting batters do and how some pitchers shake off pitches and go through a series of coniptions before they throw the ball makes me want to scream: "You - get in the box and hit.  You - get on the mound and pitch!"  I will pick up a game in the 5th or 6th, and if it's close, I can finish it off.  Maybe my attention span isn't what it used to be, but I sense that baseball is a great game when you are catcher, and not so much when you are watching other people play it.  Maybe soccer has some of those qualities.

CFB is so different.  I can get up and watch 3 pre-game shows, the noon games, the 3:30's, back and forth with the evening games, and fall to sleep with the late west coast game.  When I get up on Sunday, I watch a couple more CFB shows and after church I will re-watch the Ohio State game.  Whatever football has that causes that, some of these other sports need to try to adopt.

+2 HS
cplunk's picture

I am a huge soccer fan and have played in countless leagues, I watch club and national team games around the world year round. That said, if the Bucks were playing Virginia Tech or MSU at the same time as US was in the World Cup Final, I'd be recording the World Cup final and watching the Bucks live.

I think that fact illustrates soccer's role in the US pretty well.

+3 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Thank God for picture-in-picture! Though I would have the Buckeyes in the big screen...!

 

robobuck's picture

No, the answer is 2 TVs ;)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

Earle's picture

Paging the soccer Ross Fulton...

 

Italics are for emphasis.

+1 HS
Ugly Hour Chazz Bear's picture

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the USA in the World Cup.  I watched every minute of that game and rooted for them.  But it's soccer.  Edge of my seat excitement?  Ehhh...for 70 of the 90 minutes I was bored out of my mind watching that game.  The only exciting parts of the game was when Ghana would actually get close to scoring, actual goals themselves, and when it was tied.

Soccer fans do chants throughout the game because when else would they?  Football is completely different.  Football isn't a constant sport. 

 

edit: please get rid of the flopping, it's honestly a joke. thank you

I like the bux.

+6 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

The World Cup is the only time I watch soccer and only then when the US plays. The quick score was the equivalent of a Teddy Ginn return-6 on the opening kickoff or XBrax bomb on the first play from scrimmage. Demoralization at its best.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Americans are notoriously bad at geography and many don't pay attention to soccer. I wonder how many Ohioans think that the US just put a beating on Gahanna.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+3 HS
AndyVance's picture

I made the Gahanna joke all day yesterday and thought I was quite clever :)

+3 HS
toad1204's picture

I found myself drawing parallels between the OSUFB and the USMNT.

Mexico reflecting Michigan, used to be really good but have fallen/ we own them.

Ghana kind of like MSU, that new thorn in the side. 

I guess this would make Brazil/ Argentina members of the top half of the SEC. 

Arkansas = Algeria both have a problem putting points up. 

Oklahoma = England They're good but need to show up.  Probably will when it matters.

Also, I'd love for The Shoe to throw out an "I believe " chant.  Raucous students being a little cocky...  Why not.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+4 HS
UFest57's picture

I am not a huge soccer fan but i have been painfully trying to get more into it over the past few years. I had always lived by "i'll only watch during the World Cup and maybe the Olympics" and it worked for a while. After all, those seem to be the only exciting things to view for the casual fan. I bought FIFA for the xbox, learned some players and teams -- this was a big help. I adopted Arsenal as my 'club team' and after spending a summer with a bunch of Brazilians, I have USMNT and Brazil at the top of my "anything soccer related" list. Soccer is growing on me but i still do not believe i will ever have the passion for this game as i do for FOOTBALL and Baseball. The WC is a fun spectacle that everyone should take in, especially after a game like last night. Find a local pub or soccer strong hold and watch the next game. It's not 100,000 stong as it is on a Saturday in the Shoe but the fans are passionate and you can feel the agony and joy throughout the game with every goal scored. "I BELIEVE..."

+2 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

It's good they finally beat Ghana. I'd say it's 50-50 on Portugal, but no way do they beat the Germans.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

GoBucks713's picture
the ol 96er

The Ol' 96er has a better chance of beating Brady Hoke than the USMNT has at beating Germany.

-The Aristocrats!

+2 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

Is that from the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo? Or maybe i'm thinking of a 72 ouncer.

713? area code of the Houston area? If so, must be familiar with excessively large steak eating challenges down there.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

GoBucks713's picture

It's from the John Hughes film classic, The Great Outdoors.

-The Aristocrats!

toad1204's picture

That bear scene stills gets me rolling.  Funny shit.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+1 HS
Zimmy07's picture

Germany won't be playing their starters unless Ghana pulls a miracle out and beats or ties them, so I'd guess it's 50/50 we actually do beat the Germans.  We might actually knock Portugal out of the WC on Sunday.  Germany trounced them.

+1 HS
NCBuckeye1's picture

Beat Portugal on Sunday and both the US and the Germans can rest their stars. Best case scenario IMO. I do not see us catching the Germans in goal differential, and so we would be playing the winner of Group H (probably Belgium)

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -- Woody

+1 HS
216ToThe614's picture

I don't really follow soccer, but I do find the world cup exciting to follow because of the national pride at stake. I really can't stand the endless passing without ever making a play on goal (I'd rather see frequent turnovers than passing and waiting for something to open up, which it never does) or especially the flopping that goes on and the milking of insignificant injuries that I see every time I tune in. At least our players don't really fake injuries or flop, I mean Dempsey had his nose shattered and got up, walked himself off the field without that stupid stretcher they use (most players hop off of it as soon as they are off the field, proving its great worth) and re-entered the game after having some gauze stuffed in there. If soccer was played more like THAT, I would follow it more. Go Team USA!!

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!
WB

+3 HS
808buckeye's picture

I'm kinda over the seven nation army song... It seems like every school does it now..  Lets try a different song. Who's with me?

seize the carpe

+1 HS
Ugly Hour Chazz Bear's picture

We would like soccer a lot more in the USA if we were actually good. 

I like the bux.

+1 HS
robobuck's picture

I dont think thats actually true. It may be true that more casual observers would tune in if we were favored to win but there would still just be bars filled with people asking their soccer friend ignorant questions. Anyway the USMNT is ranked 13th in the world, which puts them
Solidly in the top half of all nations to qualify for the cup. And they reached the quarterfinals 3 cups ago. I just think there are too many well established sports already and they all score more than soccer.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24