Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
One of the many hats I wear involves timing varsity boys and girls high school soccer games. The boys play in the fall and the girls play in the spring. The girl’s season is coming to an end with the playoffs scheduled to begin this week.
I’ve been a soccer timer for over 30 years meaning I have sat through and endured over 700 games. Soccer is NOT my favorite pastime. I have never understood and nothing will ever make me understand the appeal of this slow, methodical, oh let’s just call it what it is, painfully boring sport. This is not to be critical of the players, their parents or coaches. It’s the game that’s goofy.
Soccer is one of the few sports where the clock runs up, not down.
There are two halves, each 40 minutes long. That’s 80 minutes of play. If there’s a tie, the game goes into an overtime period of 10 minutes. The first team to score wins. If neither team scores, a second overtime of ten minutes is played. If neither team scores, the game ends in a tie after 100 minutes. In the playoffs a shootout is held to determine the winner.
Is that stupid or what? I’ve seen it happen: 100 minutes played, no goals, no score, no winner.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
High school football game: 4 quarters, 12 minutes each, a total of 48 minutes.
High school basketball game: 4 quarters, 8 minutes each, a total of 32 minutes.
High school soccer game: 2 halves, 40 minutes each, a total of 80 minutes.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
The prolonged agony of a soccer game also means there’s more opportunity for injury. And if you’ve been to a soccer game, you know that the players go down like flies.
They’ll lay there, motionless on the field after a kick to the shin, a la the early days of Michael Jordan, as if they are about to expire. No movement. No movement at all. The head official comes over, does a perfunctory look at the player, then blows his whistle and motions to the sideline for help.
Still no movement. None.
The coach bends down and says a few words and it seems almost routine that the moment help from the bench arrives, the player who just seconds ago appeared to be ambulance-ready now springs up like a toaster pastry and walks/runs off the field looking as spry as ever.
Heart-pounding, thrilling comebacks in soccer? Forget it. The team that falls behind by two or more goals, even if it’s early in the contest isn’t coming back to win, no matter if there’s still 60 or 70 minutes left to play.
The WIAA soccer playoffs begin Thursday. In many areas, regular season high soccer games have been free to spectators with no charged admission. That changes with the playoffs when the WIAA sells tickets.
I’ve witnessed the whininess for 30 years, and sorry, suburbanites, you’re the biggest whiners. They agonize when informed at the gate they must purchase a ticket to see the game.
Geez, how come? I’ve been getting’ in free all year!
This is different.
Because it’s the playoffs.
So, the WIAA requires paid admission.
The proceeds help to fund high school sports.
I pay enough taxes for that!
(That may be true, but…)
If soccer wants to be considered a legitimate sport like the rest, there should be a charge. If you pay a few bucks for a 32-minute basketball game, shouldn’t you be willing to plunk down a few bucks for 80 minutes of what is supposedly a great game?
And lastly, but most importantly, isn’t your son, your daughter, the team, the school worth it?
I could elaborate even further, about the rules, the officials, the ugly fans. It’s the 80-minutes of play that tops the list of what’s wrong with soccer.
Again, what a goofy game.