There’s soccer, and then there’s Premier
Published 9:37 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2016
By Henry Luzzatto
The most entertaining sports league in the world starts up again on Saturday: English soccer’s Premier League.
Email newsletter signup
Now, I know that “soccer” and “entertaining” are not usually words that go together. They’re like “chocolate” and “gravy” or “Washington Redskins” and “winning.” But I implore you to give the game a chance.
Soccer is something that has been in my life for a long time. My dad played soccer for all of his childhood, and my siblings and I each spent years on the soccer fields at SYAA.
But when I started playing baseball when I was 8, I began a personal crusade against soccer. To me, there was a divide between baseball — a tough, American classic — and soccer, which was for girls and my little brother.
I had no interest in soccer for years, simply because I thought that liking it and baseball were mutually exclusive. Sure, I would watch the World Cup when it came about, and I would watch an occasional Major League Soccer game, but I was definitely not a fan, aside from half-heartedly rooting for local teams.
But after the World Cup in 2010, my mom and dad got our family access to the English Premier League. It was eye-opening.
Though I initially approached the sport with skepticism, my family and I began to look forward to the matches each week.
We got to watch the best players for the most famous teams in the world each week. Though the sport may seem boring to people who want constant scoring, as we watched more of it, we began to appreciate different aspects of the game.
I started to read articles about it and watch videos on it in my spare time. My brother, sister and I attempted to emulate what we saw those players do. Over time, we grew emotionally invested in the game.
By the end of our first season, sitting down to watch soccer on Saturday morning had become a ritual. We went from being pure spectators to emotionally invested fans, celebrating victories and mourning losses.
This game so permeates my life that I wake up at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning (an inhumane hour) to watch this sport. I watch and play it with my friends. I read about it in my spare time. Heck, I’m even procrastinating from finishing this column by reading about soccer.
Just like many other things, soccer is something people obsess over. It’s something people develop a passion for. And it’s something that I like more than is arguably healthy.
So even if you have a stigma against the sport, I would suggest giving it a chance. It may not be the sport for you, but I learned from my own experience that dislike sometimes gives way to respect, then to admiration and finally to love.
The Premier League begins this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. on CNBC, when reigning champions Leicester City face off against Hull City. I’ll be watching, and I hope you give it a chance, too.
Henry Luzzatto is a Suffolk native and an intern at the Suffolk News-Herald. He keeps a stuffed Pikachu on his pillow, right next to his stuffed Sonic the Hedgehog. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.