July 25, 2004

A very American tour of duty: A little more on Lance.

posted by Pete to culture at 01:47 PM - 6 comments

I know I'm a bit dim but what is the writer trying to say here? That Americans love team sports and Europeans don't? Then why pray tell is football by far the most popular sport in Europe? IMHO, he'd be closer to the mark if he looked towards the European tendency to show disdain towards overbearing success and to support the plucky underdog.

posted by squealy at 02:36 PM on July 25, 2004

I think it was more along the lines of the differences in the culture of competition and fairness in sport. We talked about this not too long ago (can't remember the subject that brought it up - Euro Cup?) discussing the socialist nature of American sports (inclusive, no regulating, draft system, salary caps) versus the capitalist nature of European sports (regulating, rich get richer, etc.). Seems on the mark and interesting to me.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:10 PM on July 25, 2004

Sorry - I meant to say RELEGATING.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:10 PM on July 25, 2004

But the rich still win out in the end yeah Weedy? I mean I was under the impression that the reason the Yankees were so successful was because they were the richest team. Am I missing something here? And come on, salary caps? Top baseball players outearn top European footballers by a mile don't they?

posted by squealy at 05:32 PM on July 25, 2004

Baseball doesn't have a salary cap and the highest paid player makes $25 million (basketball and football have caps, but the highest paid NBA player makes more than the highest baseball player). So, yes - you're right on all accounts, but an arguement can be made that the system is designed towards inclusion and parity, ergo if the team finishes last there are safety nets in place to help you reverse the trend - you draft in the highest position, you are not excluded from the league the next year as is the case in football (soccer). In American sports the team is seen as being the most important entity, a collective - it's a distinctly socialist model - personal sacrifice is encouraged to help the team. It's interesting because the culture of sports differs greatly from the culture at large, which is focused on individual accomplishment. The money is incidental to the basic concept.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:04 PM on July 25, 2004

Weedy, I think the article you're talking about is this one, which came up in a linkdump a few weeks ago. I don't understand at all why we (Americans) favor the system that we have in all of the major sports.. setting up a relegation system would make things much more interesting. I'd probably even be able to follow baseball a little bit if teams were in danger of getting relegated.

posted by blarp at 12:00 AM on July 26, 2004

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