When I was a kid if you didn't have above average athletic ability, your chances of playing sports past elementary or middle school was limited. Football was one of the more expensive sports because parents had to buy an assortment of expensive protective gear. Hockey is the US is even worse and many parent shelling out more than US $1000 dollars for skates, shoulder pads and other protective gear.
European football or what we call soccer in the US was uncommon even 20 years ago. The only continuous action sport that kids played back then was basketball. I never particularly liked baseball because a lot of the players would just sat around waiting for something to happen. It was a hurry and wait type of sport with the innings and field changes.
I always wondered about cricket, but this sport is rarely played at all in the US. What sort of sport could have a score like 257-0? The losing team must feel terrible after such a drubbing.
American football is also a hurry up and wait sport because each side gets a series of four downs to move the ball ten years. It is not continuous action like rugby. With all the time outs and field injuries, American football games creep along. With all of the strategizing on the field, a game with 5 minutes left on the clock can take 20 minutes to finish.
In professional football, once the instant replays stated to mollify fans and coaches, the entire game nearly came to a standstill. The National Football League finally made some reforms with time outs to speed up the game. But American football will never be a continuous action sport like European football.
A football play starts when the center hikes or snaps the football backwards between to his legs to the quarterback. The quarterback may stand directly behind the center, giving the sport a homo-erotic look to the uninitiated.
In the early days of the sport they experimented with different ways of starting plays, but none work as well as the homo-like-hike. Once the quarterback received the ball from the center, he could run, pass, hand off or lateral the ball to to other offensive backs or ends.
I always thought American professional sports were pretentious. We have the World Series in baseball, but no teams outside of the US and Canada play it. Another US sport, softball, was dropped from the Olympics.
When my children were very young we started them in soccer. It doesn't take much to put a soccer team together just soccer shoes, knee pads, some uniforms and soccer balls. The sport is continuous action and only stopped after a goal, a ball going out of bounds or an injury.
One of my children played recreational soccer until he was 18. My second child played club soccer until he was 14. He traveled all over the state playing other club teams in tournaments. Club soccer was an essential step for kids who wanted to play high school soccer. A one hour game usually took an hour and half unlike football that could take 2-1/2 hours.
America needs to move away from insular sports like baseball and American football and into international sports. I have watched the last two FIFA World Cups for both men and women and it is exciting to see a real international tournament with national teams competing against each other.
Of course, I have to watch the live games on Spanish TV because the US stations don't pick up the 'live' international games. Soccer is much bigger sport in Mexico than it is in the US.
We now how a more cosmopolitan president than our last leader. I hope he gives international sports a big push like intentional soccer. International sports is another means of diplomacy. The US needs to start being a better international player. The FIFA World Cup is good place to start.