Going to a soccer game is like watching hockey without the violence. For the record, this is a lot like listening to music without sound or dating a Chicago girl without bending her over a dumpster behind a bar. To top this off the game is plagued with European metrosexuals, who are a rung below French Canadians on the Eurotrash ladder. Before you accuse me of being racist let me remind you that they put themselves at nose-level with a bunch of French Canadian dick. Why? They were homesick and wanted to be near something that smelled like English cooking.

Soccer is also a "world sport," which pretty much guarantees every commercial for it will feature some shirtless black kids running down a field in slow-motion. Also, the logo will be two hands coming together to form a globe or some gay shit like that. Basically this means the soccer people pay millions of dollars to make you watch PBS 30 seconds at a time. They claim to do this in the name of "universal understanding," but let me make something clear: PBS programming doesn't make you any more intelligent or enlightened. It just turns you into a liberal. Watch "Nova" long enough and your wrists will go so limp you won't even be able to slap common sense away anymore.

Because of its "world sport" status soccer also serves as a "cultural bridge." Please note that a cultural bridge is not an actual bridge, so it is sadly incapable of collapsing on and killing the people who use the term. For soccer's purposes, it simply means "our halftime shows will be really, incredibly gay." No slam-dunking mascots or T-shirt cannons here, folks. You get one thing and one thing only: flags. Lots and lots of flags. Watching a soccer halftime show is like taking a trip through a San Francisco scarf closet. You'll also get hammered with "world music," which can be roughly translated to "our country hasn't discovered rock yet." If I can offer some life advice, I'd strongly suggest running away from anything that makes listening to Nickelback sound like a good idea.

As far as the actual game goes, fans often say soccer is a warlike game of strategy. This helps explain why most of Europe was destroyed in World War II. There is as much strategy in soccer as there is self-control in a Cherokee liquor store. In reality it's a lot more like a David Lynch movie: It's confusing and if you didn't see any tits you wasted four hours watching it. Even with that I think soccer could stand to improve by having Naomi Watts flash the elephant trunks under her shirt ala "Mulholland Drive" prior to each game, if anything to teach the fans in the crowd what the letter "J" looks like.

Speaking of illiterate people and malformed tits I think it's only fair we end this segment talking about the Detroit residents of soccer, hooligans. If you have never seen a soccer hooligan think about the biggest NFL nut you know, then imagine what would happen if someone hit him in the face with a shovel until he lost half his teeth and started talking in a cockney accent. The best thing you can say about them is that they tend to die a lot defending their favorite teams. While you might think it's pretty silly to die over something like soccer, let me make it clear that no death involving a soccer hooligan is frivolous. Suicide bombers may be a bit confused, but at least they're dying for their beliefs. Anyone willing to bite the dust over a glorified game of hacky sack should probably just get "insert broken bottle here" tattooed over his kidneys and get it over with.


Before I start this, I want to make something very clear. If you have ever argued that NASCAR is a sport or that its drivers are athletes, you are an idiot. There is a difference between a competition and a sport. Racing your cousin to your sister's trailer to see who can get her pregnant first is a competition. Seeing if you can land a beer bottle in the baby's cleft lip from across the room is a sport. The latter requires practice and a degree of physical skill; the former just needs a fast car and maybe a pig insemination video, if you're the romantic type.

If you're a NASCAR fan you've probably spent a lot of money attending a live race, which is kind of shady since your family probably still owes Oglethorpe a good bit of money. In doing so you probably fed your wife some grain, kissed your cow goodbye, and drove to the raceway. After getting to the race and explaining to the usher the he smelled your armpits, not an onion-and-vomit sandwich you were trying to smuggle in, you probably spent a little more cash on food and beer. Between tickets, gas, and grub, you were probably about $150 in by then. Since most of you racing types think "economy" is just a word on the cases of Mountain Dew you buy, I'll simply say you could live the NASCAR experience every day if you got a job and drove in traffic to get there. Then, not only would you have the breathtaking experience of watching cars lurch forward at two miles an hour, you could start paying your satellite company in real money instead of WIC vouchers.

I will admit that NASCAR does serve an important purpose in pissing off college students. Between the large corporations, fast cars, and advertising, racing does enough to send even the biggest pothead jerkoff into a frothing rage. I am not sure if there is a Wal-Mart car, but if there is I fucking guarantee you some dreadlocked white boy in a Bob Marley shirt saw it and cracked wise about the Wal-Mart bulldozer running over locally owned businesses. Then he proceeded to talk about selling his television to finance his backpacking trip through Europe. While we are only talking hypothetically here, I can only hope the trip stalled when the French detained him for taking himself too seriously and smelling too bad.

That said, there's absolutely no reason NASCAR couldn't expand into the mainstream market. All they'd have to do is put a little extra oil on the track before a big race or fill a few drivers' spritzers with codeine and vodka. The only time I ever watched racing for more than five minutes was a recap of Dale Earnhardt's big wreck, and that was only because they showed the dashboard cam on the news. Imagine if NASCAR could guarantee five or six deaths a race. The funeral business has strong connections to the American economy, and new jobs would open once a month to any southerner with a fast car and no reason to live. So, essentially, any southerner with a fast car.

They could even use the scrap metal from the wrecks to make more guns, which they could then give to minorities. This would give NASCAR fans even more of a reason to defend the piles of chicken wire and animal waste in their backyards. The collector's plate industry would boom. People would use their newfound riches to eat filet mignon and Doritos off Jeff Gordon's face, then flip on their new HDTVs to watch made-for-TV movies about his death. It's up to you, NASCAR. Will your motor oil taint the hallowed ground of the south, or will the blood of your drivers cultivate a beautiful garden of pleasure? Answer the call, NASCAR. God's on the line and talking on answering machines makes him nervous.

If you would like your question answered on Ball Bag, email Pantsfish. Having your question emailed by a certified Internet celebrity is as close as you'll ever get to stardom, Nancy.

Reds Forecast

I've noticed in a lot of columns you talk about the Reds. I think I even remember saying you were a fan of theirs. Anyway, what do you see them doing this season with all the changes they've made? Any chance of them getting to the playoffs?

While the Reds
have made quite a few changes, I think we both know they're far from done. The club is far from their expected number of mediocre relief pitchers, and I think the higher-ups realize that. Expect the trade deadline team to consist of 39 relief pitchers and Ken Griffey Jr. The team will break records for consecutive wins and be a dead-lock for a championship until Griffey tears both hamstrings opening a bottle of Crystal Light. Discouraged, the team will rebuild, but end up with a losing record the following season after God urinates on the Great American Ballpark for three days straight. Griffey will be quoted as saying "well, at least we know what's up now" before rupturing a kidney in a freak sneezing accident.

– Evan "Pantsfish" Wade

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