Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wrestling Is My Soccer

The World Cup is alive and kicking (see what I did there?). Everybody is excited, and as a non-soccer fan, it gets kind of annoying. I have nothing against soccer; it is simply a sport that doesn't capture my attention. But I did have to do some self-searching and find out why I was so annoyed by the World Cup. Honestly, it's jealousy. Nearly everyone is talking about soccer, and I wish it were the same way for wrestling. When a big wrestling event happens, it's rarely on live television, and even on those occasions, very few people are talking about it. I'm jealous of soccer's success, because wrestling is my soccer, and it has yet to make those steps towards mainstream popularity.

We're outcasts, as neither sport is one of the big three sports. None of my good friends care about wrestling, so when I find someone who does, I instantly have the highest opinion of that person. At that point, you could tell me anything about that person, and I can justify it. "Oh, he eats the souls of children? Well, those kids were just going to turn into bastard teenagers anyway. Besides, he made a really good point about what Metcalf is going to have to do to get past the guy from Azerbaijan (I actually don't know if Azerbaijan is strong at this weight; I just wanted to show off that I can spell Azerbaijan)."

Most importantly, soccer fans and wrestling fans are amazed when people don't get excited about the sport. It's so incredibly exciting to us that it is hard for us to listen to people who cannot appreciate what they are watching. Anybody can get excited as they watch Messi control a soccer ball with his foot as well as Peyton Manning controls a football with an arm, or seeing Jordan Burroughs take a shot and then reshoot with his double leg in the blink of an eye. But for fans of the sport, it's that average play in soccer that amazes them like a normal clinch is one of the most fascinating things to watch in wrestling as there are so many subtleties from two guys working hard as they jockey for position.

I hope that wrestling will one day have what soccer has. I doubt it is going to happen, but I would have said the same thing about soccer 20 years ago. The key is going to be a television deal. Fox Sports makes so much sense that it's ridiculous. Every great wrestler is asked about whether they will try to make it in the UFC, so the tie-in is already there, and if they can steal the NCAA Championships, put on a premium duel each week, along with major events like The Southern Scuffle and National Duels to build up the audience. With that, add the big freestyle events, like the team trials and world championships. But that's big picture. On a smaller scale, go to FloWrestling, watch the freestyle matches from the World Team Trials; they're all pretty incredible. And you may find that you still don't like wrestling, which is totally fine, as I still don't care about soccer, but getting exposed to something new and awesome is one of the best things we can do with our time, so all I'm asking is give wrestling a chance.

I want what soccer has. I'm totally jealous (and slightly bitter) that wrestling is not nearly as popular. I want what you have, so all I can really say is, enjoy it soccer fans. And prepare to be annoyed when I tweet the shit out of the world championships in September.

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