Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled The Midwest Doesnt Like Alcohol or Foreigners

Michael Bertin writes regularly about soccer for Deadspin Thanks to Jesus, I watched a total of about 35 minutes of soccer this weekend. Okay, it's partially my fault. I was traveling and just assumed Indiana had the modern amenities of the developed world. But the friend I was staying with didn't have Fox Soccer Channel in his cable package. That left me staring at a soccernet gamecast screen for minutes at a time Saturday morning. It's kind of like jacking it. Sure, it's a small relief to rescue the point, but for masturbation the vicarious stimulation comes from moving pictures of naked people having sex, which is infinitely more satisfying than waiting for a little pale blue dot to start blinking on your computer screen (which, mercifully, it did in the third minute of second-half stoppage time thanks to Cesc Fabregas). Maybe the shame you feel when you get caught doing it is all the two things really share.For Sunday, I found a local Irish pub that had a Setanta sticker in the window and a sign claiming that they showed "Soccer, Rugby, and Hurling." Hurling? No shit. The Irish really had made drinking into a sport. Anyway, in hindsight I'm pretty sure the word "live" was nowhere on that sign. You can't sell booze in Indiana on Sunday. This is largely for religious reasons, and it is absolutely fucking stupid. Actually to say it's generically religious and not specifically Christian is silly. The only other days you can't buy alcohol in Indiana are Christmas, Easter, and election day, which is surprising because A) if Jesus really had a problem with drinking, he would have turned wine into water and B) I didn't realize we let Hoosiers vote. But come Rosh Hashanah, you can buy all the Manischewitz wine you like. This might be the real reason rednecks hate Jews. The primary upshots of some ridiculous laws to appease a guy who has been dead 2000 years is that Indiana sends piles of tax dollars into neighboring states once every seven days and I can't watch live fútbol. Yes, places with an on-site license (bars, restaurants, etc.) can sell alcohol, they just can't do it before 10:30. Even then I couldn't find anyone actually opening until 11:00. So, when I got to the previously-referenced Irish pub, they had just one TV in the place, I had to ask them to turn it to FSC, and it was already after half of the Liverpool v. Manchester City match. The silver lining? It was about the most entertaining 35 minutes of soccer I've seen in a while. And that had less to do with Liverpool's improbable rally from an 0-2 halftime deficit at the (Middle) Eastlands than it did with the running commentary from the old guys siting at the end of the bar. They were able to decipher what the "Man" in Man City stood for, but after that, their grasp of the beautiful game was Buck Laughlin-esque. Examples: Old Guy 1: "How did that guy know to let the ball go through?" Old Guy 2: "They got voice commands they use." Old Guy 1: "What happened to that guy?" Old Guy 2: "If you accumulate so many red cards, you get kicked out of the game." (Technically not incorrect, it's just that you only have to accumulate all of one red card to get sent off.) Old Guy 1: "They make substitutions on the fly, don't they?" Old Guy 2: "Yeah, it's like hockey." This last one was my favorite as it occurred maybe 2 minutes after a dead ball in which Liverpool had made two changes and City one. Okay, it's unfair to bag solely on Indiana for their antiquated liquor laws. Most states lean toward the backwardly Puritanical when it comes to Sundays and booze. But in many of those places bars still open up early enough to accommodate soccer watchers. They serve them breakfast and bide time until the clocks say it's okay to open up the taps. The problem is, outside of the major metropolitan areas, there's just not a critical mass of demand to make it worthwhile financially. Similarly, I'm not making fun of two old people for being Midwest simpletons and not knowing much about the sport. It was that they didn't know much but spoke about the game as if they were experts that made them such entertaining jackasses. As much as I'd like to, I can't really blame Jesus for the fact that, even with all of the strides the sport has made in this country—and ratings for the last World Cup, Euro, and Champions League final all exceeded expectations—as population density decreases, people in the US still literally don't know and don't care much about soccer. Deadspin commenter tcw04 is taking us all to Vegas [] Arsenal Secure Late Point [] Goal of the weekend (skip to about the 3 minute mark) []


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