Playing Soccer For the Joy of It

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NBC Sports

By Michael Shanks

Over the centuries, we keep coming back to the same basic grass soccer fields and indoor gyms to do our bidding with the soccer ball at our feet.

Why do we love this game, which to an outsider would appear so pointless and probably stupid (see just a game). Why do we pay horrendous amounts of money to see the best soccer players in the world play the game?

First and foremost, the game is fun. There is no doubting that, as it has been the resounding opinion of the masses for centuries.

Second, there exist theories that sports fulfill somewhat of a genetic void that we have in our modern lives. We genetically have built-in the desire for strong natural connections. Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated poses an intriguing question as to why we love sports:

“It’s easy to stereotype sports fans as troglodytes — Get a life, bozo! — but I have, contrariwise, often wondered if fans take more interest in government than people who are not fans, if sports fans care more and vote more — because they do feel a greater sense of belonging to the place whose team they root for”.

A case study that would produce results as he says would be fascinating.

There are not many mysteries left in the world. Maybe sports provide us with a sense of anticipation for something we can never fully predict: what will happen, and who will win the soccer game.

That’s why we loves to watch Cup finals and the Champions League and the World Cup, we just don’t know who’s going to win the game or the tournament. We think of course that Brazil should most likely win or maybe Spain, but there’s the chance that a small country could topple a giant so that’s why we tune in.

Ronaldinho’s joy for the game of soccer. He’s always played like a kid.

 

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