Time to Convert to Soccer?

A lifelong baseball fan, I abandoned the game this year after MLB sided with the Democratic Party in its campaign against ballot integrity in Georgia. It wasn’t just that: my home town team has put a “Black Lives Matter” sign and a memorial to George Floyd in right field. If I can’t escape politics at a baseball game, I’d rather go somewhere else. For the first time in decades, I haven’t seen a major league baseball game this year. Not only that, I haven’t watched or listened to a single pitch on radio or television.

Then there is football. Commissioner Roger Goodell is driving the sport in a “woke” direction.

Capacity crowds are about to see, hear and feel for the first time the NFL’s increased support for social justice and anti-racism campaigns.
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Social justice promotion will include on-field signage, player helmet decals and in-stadium public service announcements. For Week 1 of the preseason, end zones will be painted to include the messages “End Racism” and “Inspire Change.”

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” (unofficially known as “the black national anthem”) will be played in addition to “The Star-Spangled Banner” before kickoff of the first regular-season game (Cowboys at Buccaneers, Sept. 9) as well as at marquee events like the Pro Bowl, Super Bowl and the NFL Draft.
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Victims of racial injustice will be given a platform as part of a “Say Their Stories” project, and “Inspire Change” will be a league-wide theme expressed on signage during Weeks 17 and 18, under the season-long “It Takes All of Us” campaign, according to the report.

All of this will only contribute to our country’s growing racial strife, which I guess is its purpose. But I have no desire to participate, or to be lectured at.

Hockey is the sport that has been least contaminated by politics. I was a big fan of both professional and college hockey years ago, and I may need to get back into the sport.

And then there is soccer. True, quite a bit of kneeling goes on, but otherwise the sport seems relatively little affected by left-wing activism, at least outside of the U.S. Until recently I had never watched a soccer game, both because I didn’t feel a need to add another sport and because it seems perverse to have a game where you can’t use your hands.

But I watched the semi-final and final games of the Euro 2020 tournament and enjoyed them considerably. Maybe soccer isn’t so boring after all, although another goal or two per game would help. Coincidentally, my wife has prevailed on me to watch the first season of Ted Lasso, a comedy/drama about an American football coach who gets hired, improbably, to coach an English Premier League team. The plot borrows from Major League. The series is really good; Hugh Hewitt is a big fan, too.

So perhaps it is time to give soccer a chance. Maybe other sports, too. Curling is said to be entertaining by those who watch it. Possibly even golf, although I can’t see myself sliding that far down the excitement scale. But if golf becomes the last un-woke sport, I may have to give it a try.

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