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Editor's Note: This column was originally published on June 25. Bill Littlefield writes a new column every Wednesday. You hear it by subscribing to the Only A Game podcast on iTunes or read it on our cleverly named blog, Only A Blog.
Dear Sports Writers Who Don't Care About The World Cup:
Fine. But why do you persist in telling your readers this every four years? Do you think they are so inattentive that they've forgotten that you don't like soccer? Do you suppose they don't recognize recycled arguments?
I'm not going to defend soccer. Soccer doesn't need that.Bill Littlefield
You can be counted on to mention in each anti-soccer story that opposable thumbs and digits of significant flexibility and potential are the characteristics that separate human beings from lots of other animals. You're right, and we know you regard as worthless a sport in which the hands don't play a major part for anyone but the goal keeper. We understand that in your brain, that conviction has assumed the consistency of leftover meatloaf forgotten for years in the back of the freezer. Why not do what any sensible householder would do and leave it there? Why even consider recycling it?
Among the things I don't much like are the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and St. Paul Street in Boston when the UPS truck and the bicycle store delivery van are parked there simultaneously. Also, cauliflower.
[sidebar title="Garrincha: Soccer's Forgotten Superstar" width="330" align="right"]Garrincha contributed as much to Brazil's soccer legacy as his teammate Pele, but after a tragic downfall he faded from the public's memory.[/sidebar]"Who cares?" you ask.
"Exactly," say I.
Why do you feel it is necessary to tell your readers you are immune to the happy virus that grips many of the rest us every four years?
I'm not going to defend soccer. Soccer doesn't need that. I'm just suggesting that restating your antipathy for the game in general and the World Cup in particular is also unnecessary. We know you don't like it. We like some of you, anyway. We're appreciative of the clever and thoughtful columns you write about other matters.
It's too late for the ongoing World Cup in Brazil, but here's a suggestion for the summer of 2018. Start your vacation just before the World Cup begins. Assume your readers have functional memories, and that they will understand why you're not writing about anything while the world is watching soccer.
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