I had the pleasant opportunity to watch my older brother's soccer game the other night when I was in Toronto. It was a good game. It was the division final. It was well played; there were few fouls (one of the best things about soccer, is its standards of conduct). Soccer is a metaphor for life. How original. But it is, or at least, it can be. My presence at the game was one of my increasingly rare opportunities to see your average-joe-secular in action.
Soccer is better than hockey for a number of reasons. Both are great events of athleticism, but soccer is a much classier sport. Perhaps in time it will devolve to hockey's level, with the pressure of commercialism weighing ever more heavily upon it. Hopefully not. Or, maybe this will come about as the great soccer nations become more deChristianized - like the South American powerhouses. Still, enough of the 'old' remains (judging by Saturday night's game, anyway) to keep it a clear cut above hockey. Even the fans are superior - at least in Canada they are. It all resides with the officials. Soccer refs have absolute power over everything that happens in relation to the game, whether on or off the field. I have seen refs cancel games due to poor sportsmanship among the players and the spectators. Ever hear of that in hockey?
All of this is the case even in the face of soccer's far more multicultural profile. Hockey is a white's game. Soccer is not any one race's game. That is a good thing for a soccer match in Toronto, because in Toronto, you get all kinds. I counted Russians, Greeks, East Indians, Filipino, Africans, African-Americans, those of British descent - and all that from a distance of a few dozen metres. What over-arching ethical foundation might one hope for in that kind of mixed racial bag? And yet, these people conducted themselves with greater moral bearing than your typical bunch of white hockey players, of presumably common background. (Sorry for the reverse-racism here.)
I have no time for violence. Nothing strikes me as more barbaric and self-condemning than being pro-hockey fight. What makes your life so drab and unfulfilling such that you are able to find enjoyment in watching people hurt each other? Boxing, hockey, 'extreme'-whatever, it's all the same.