BIASES IN NEW WORLD SOCCER

A little old lady toddles into her doctor’s office and takes a seat.
“What seems to be troubling you madam?” her doctor asks.
“It’s a little embarrassing,” the little old lady admits, “I’m suffering with chronic flatulence.”
“I see,” says her doctor. “And when did this begin?”
“It’s been a little over a week. Fortunately, so far, they’ve been silent and odorless.”
The doctor looks down and begins to scribble on his prescription pad as he asks, “And it’s chronic?”
“That’s right,” the little old lady confirms.
“In fact, I’ve released some pressure, shall we say, several times since I entered your office and at least twice more whilst in the waiting room, unbeknownst to anyone.”
The doctor finishes his scribble on his prescription pad, tears off the top sheet and hands it across the desk to the little old lady.
“This ought to do the trick,” he says. “Be sure to schedule another appointment with my receptionist before you leave to come back in a week’s time so we can check on your progress. And make sure you take the prescription in its entirety.”
The little old lady folds the prescription in half and slides it into her handbag before she rises out of the chair.
“Yes doctor. Thank you doctor,” she replies.
The doctor smiles in response and the little old lady leaves his office.

A week later the little old lady returns for her scheduled follow-up appointment. She settles into the chair opposite the desk to her doctor and clutches her handbag in her lap.
“How did you respond to the medication I prescribed?” the doctor asks.
“Terrible!” the little old lady  says.
“Terrible? How so?” her doctor asks.
“It’s gotten worse!” the little old lady says. “The flatulence is as bad as ever, and to make matters worse, since I began taking the medication you prescribed, they’ve developed a ghastly odor!”
“Excellent,” the doctor says as he begins to scribble on a fresh sheet of his prescription pad. The little old lady almost topples out of her chair.
“Excellent? How can you say such a thing?” she asks.
“Well, we’ve taken care of whatever was the matter with your sinuses.” the doctor says as he hands the little old lady her latest prescription. “Now, let’s see what we can do about your hearing.”

Just like the flatulent little old lady, we believe what we believe because we think we are right. Even when the outcomes of ourbeliefs deliver results contradictory to our expectations. These beliefs are known as biases; and soccer, along with the vast majority of every aspect of our existence, is riddled with them. Two people watching the same game of soccer will have two vastly different interpretations of the match depending on the team they want to win. Player ability, adjudication decisions, even the quality of the league to which the teams belong can be judged anywhere from judicious to outrageous depending on an individual’s point of view–depending on their biases.

There’s nothing wrong with biases, provided they serve. Most do and they do so in order to make our lives easier. What happens though when our biases would have us behave in a way that undermines our desired intentions? At what point does the insanity of expecting a different outcome to the same behavior register and force us to question the legitimacy of the courage of our convictions? Whatever foibles might exist within New World soccer environments, in places like Australia and the US, the continued presence of these unwanted eccentricities is not a result of a lack of effort. Legions of committed souls charge into the fray on New World soccer’s behalf day in and day out. With every new dawn, our preconceived notions of the ‘right’ type of soccer rise up like a brick wall to impede the efforts of those charged with soccer’s advancement in New World nations. Our biases pile up before them to create a convoluted impasse.

This is New World soccer’s Achilles heel. Many of the aspects we believe to be intrinsic to a successful soccer environment, when applied to New World soccer, work in direct opposition to our aspirations. The answers we need to New World soccer’s challenges won’t be found in someone else’s example; they’re not looking for solutions to our problems. The Old World doesn’t care about the challenges soccer faces in countries like the US or Australia. Our multi sport environments and massive junior abandonment dilemmas aren’t problems the Old World has to deal with. The Old World doesn’t have the answers we need to address our problems because it is not their responsibility to do so. Ours are specific to our particular environment and circumstances. Rather than continue to persevere with an ill-fitting approach, the time has come for us to stop and take a moment to think the situation through anew.

What New World soccer blames for its relative shortcomings and where the actual fault lies within our version of the sport aren’t necessarily one in the same. A decades-long merry-go-round of misdiagnoses has resulted from symptoms mistaken as the underlying causes of New World soccer’s ailments. The New World Soccer spin doctors would have us believe that our soccer has never been healthier. What if that just isn’t the case? When presented with Old World soccer’s accomplishments, from a comparative standpoint, New World soccer is pretty much in the same shape it’s been in all along. After almost 30 years of sustained and determined effort, neither Australia nor the US are any closer to becoming men’s World Cup champions.

Almost every New World soccer fan has at one time found themselves in the unfortunate position in defense of soccer in a heated argument with a drunken buffoon with anti-soccer sentiments. We’ve all been there and can relate to the futility of trying to convince them otherwise. While virtually every aspect of New World Soccer remains borrowed from the Old World way of doing things, the drunken buffoon has point. In order to alter these soccer naysayers’ biases we must first be willing to address our own.

It’s time to take matters into our own hands and go 21st century on soccer’s ass. Remove the soccer goggles that limit our line of sight to the ‘right’ way to produce soccer and approach experts from other industries, of which we have plenty, who will in all likelihood have an abundance of insights that might offer an advantage to the performance of our soccer machine. The New World has the necessary experience and intellectual resources to devise our own version of the beautiful game. Millions upon millions of adults who at one time or another dabbled in soccer to some extent. Let’s draw from the reservoir of brilliant minds out there who may or may not have considered how their professional experience might have something to contribute to a New World-inspired soccer experience.

Our soccer is not fundamentally inferior, it’s just a little confused on a few important matters. If we challenge those long held biases that have been cloaked in unsubstantiated beliefs and packaged as irrefutable truths and find alternative solutions to New World-specific conditions of existence, our soccer can’t help but alter its appearance in kind.

To arrive at this juncture, like the little old lady, we first have to admit there’s a problem. We have to be open to the possibility that a funk lingers around New World soccer that lovers of the beautiful game may not be aware of, but whose presence has been blatant to those around us who don’t share our sentiments. From this fresh perspective, we can ask new questions and be open to adhere to the solutions prescribed, and for the love of the soccer gods, set about cracking a few windows.