Touchstones, Part 1a - Sports

Before I start blogging about food/not food, let's talk about sports. In the sports news yesterday, there was breathless coverage of how soccer player David Beckham has signed a multi-million dollar contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy starting in June. "He's a cultural icon!" gushed the ESPN talking heads. "He'll make interest in soccer in America grow, just like Pele did."


David Beckham may be a cultural icon in Europe and other places where soccer is called "football" and is the most popular sport in the land. America is NOT one of those places. We have our own "football," which is the most popular spectator sport in the country. We also have baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR, golf and tennis, all of which are more popular spectator sports than professional soccer. He may be a well-known sports star with a glamorous pop-star wife to most of the world, but most Americans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. To expect him to suddenly kick-start soccer into a wildly popular spectator sport in America is just this side of ridiculous.

And just as there is food/not-food (explication to follow), there is also sports/not-sports. For most Americans, soccer is not one of "our" sports.