The dozens of hard-core soccer fans in the U.S. are continually mystified by the sport’s lack of acceptance here. So confounded are they by our steadfast refusal to give a damn about The Beautiful Game that they see our indifference as evidence of a deep-seated American moral failing. Five billion people can’t be wrong, right? The problems with soccer for Yanks, though, are fairly obvious. There are too many players running around on too big a field resulting in too little scoring. Then there are the cultural issues: the acceptance of nil-nil outcomes; the clock that counts up; the end of the game that isn’t necessarily the end of the game; the transparently phony injuries. And in the rare instances where someone actually does manage to put ball in net, the histrionic shirt-removing celebrations are embarrassingly over the top. But at long last, someone may have found a way to make soccer more popular here – add more guns . . .

Stun guns, that is. A few guys looking for that next big rush have invented something they call Ultimate Tak Ball that combines a beachball-sized soccer ball and stun guns. Played on an indoor soccer field (read: hockey rink), it looks more like a combination of rugby and Australian rules football. With electric shocks.

As chicagotribune.com reports, the extreme dudes who are into UTB were in Bangkok recentlhy playing an exhibition match and looking to expand the sport’s following.

Each game consists of three periods that last 7 minutes each, with two teams of four players each. Any player in possession of the 61-centimetre (24-inch) ball is open to unlimited shocking by the players on the opposite team.

The game was thought up by friends Leif Kellenberger, Eric Prum and Erik Wunsch, who were trying to come up with the extreme of extreme sports when the idea of stun guns popped up.

There’s even a new UTB league with four teams in LA, Philly, Toronto and San Diego. From their web site, it seems they’re looking to add as many as eight more teams so anyone interested with a spare two or three thousand dollars in their checking account can probably fulfill a lifetime dream of owning a pro sports franchise.

Next up: making curling the next hot thing in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We’re thinking rubber bullets.

31 Responses to Making Soccer Popular in the US. Really.

  1. I didn’t think it was possible, but someone has finally invented a sport that’s even more stoopider than soccer.

      • Calling Ralph’s behavior ‘trolling’ is more emotionally abusive and worse than Rush Limbaugh labeling some feminist a slut. An insult to one gun owner is an insult to all gun owners. The NWO demands that such language be banned for the sake of all the world’s children.

        • I once called a slut a feminist, but I apologized afterwards so she gave me back my wallet.

        • Wow, that was a low blow calling a slut a feminist. I once rhetorically asked a new girlfriend (when I lived in San Francisco) if she was a feminist since she treated me too much like a human ATM machine. It pissed her off — not calling her a feminist — simply to criticize her post-sex ‘spend money on me’ entitlement behavior. I guess she wanted to play being a prostitute with me without legally being one. Go figure.

      • A good trolling line is to a comment section as a red cape is to a bull. Without a charging bull, there is no bull fight. Without a trolling comment now and then there is also no bull fight.

  2. I really enjoy watching soccer riots. They’re the most exciting post-game shows in the history of sport. How can Tak Ball compete with that? Ya can’t have a really good riot when everybody has a stun gun. You end up with 50,000 people writhing on the ground pleading “don’t taze me, bro” in multiple languages. That’s really dull.

  3. Soccer is not popular here for those reasons, plus ESPN (and all of the other networks) hate it.

    The ads are on the jerseys and on stadium fixtures meaning they can’t control or profit from them. You can’t switch to commercial when there is no ‘between innings,’ or ‘change of possession,’ or ’30 second timeout.’

    You also left out the invisible sniper bit – aka the untouched, unassisted flop.

    • Penalized? I’m no soccer fan, but watching Diego Marodona writhe on the ground as if he’d been shot twice in the kneecap was to see utter mastery of the sport. Sure, he was one of the two all-time greats when he actually had the ball, but he was more, the complete player. His flops without any player on his half of the pitch were so inspired the Ref would hand a red card to the nearest opposing player simply out of respect for the Pharaoh of Fake. His grimaces, cries, and clutching of his knee answered for good any doubters. His occasional knee to the opponent’s nuts just as the ref sneezed makes half-an-amp from a stun gun look like nothing more than a feather tickle.

  4. Football was fun for a while. Then came the steroids, astronomically high salaries, and pageantry. What working man in his right mind would voluntarily watch increasingly gangsta’ millionaires play tag? Especially in this economy.

    • Your antipathy about the salaries is misdirected. As Chris Rock said about basketball and wealth inequality, “Shaq is rich, the guy who signs Shaq’s paychecks is wealthy.”

      • I despise the whole system and any moral framework that elevates object-catchers above real men. My antipathy certainly isn’t limited to players.

        Football fans deserve our pity. Gangstathletes and suits steal time and money from well-meaning working people.

  5. I’ve read that the main reason the U.S. public refued to embrace soccer is that, at least back in the day, it was a game played by the British. So given that whole revolution thing, people didn’t want to participate. But that was then, and this is now. I used to watch soccer on a semi regular basis, and although it is fun to play, it’s not a very exciting spectacle to look at. But then again, if baseball was any slower, it’d be farming.

  6. Homer Simpson on soccer, “Boring.” Of course, he said the same thing about baseball when he couldn’t drink beer at the stadium.

  7. I also never understood the rest of the world’s fascination with soccer. I realize it’s very popular, but I assumed that was because of the minimal cost of the game. All that is essentially required is a ball, a large flat piece of ground and something that can be used as a goal. No pads, gloves, or other special equipment, and uniforms can be as simple as “shirts and skins”. Adding electric shock does nothing but make it insane. Only sadists are gonna watch this version.

    • Only sadists are gonna watch this version.

      There has to be something for the sadists to do, what with all the masochists watching the original.

  8. I think you made a typo in your article, You said “dozens” of hard-core soccer fans–shouldn’t that be “dozen”?

  9. To find out how crazy the rest of the world is about soccer, look up the 1969 Soccer War (yes, I said Soccer War).

    (OK, so it wasn’t really about the outcome of a game, but it was triggered by the outcome.)

  10. Soccer doesn’t need any artificial help here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m actually posting this from a soccer game (Sounders are up 1-0 at halftime over Santos Laguna). There are probably about 20,000 people here, and this is a very lightly attended game for us. It’s much more normal to have around 36,000 to 38,000 at a game, but this game isn’t part of the normal season ticket package and promotion was a little light.

    • So, not the best possible result, but not bad: Sounders won 2-1. Giving up an away goal is never ideal, but hopefully we can manage to score a goal or two down in Mexico to cancel that out.

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