There's something special about smashing a ball by foot at into a nylon net. Something that hasn't quite caught on in the US
Soccer is the most played sport in the US.
In grass roots and junior level, it is the highest participatory sport in US and Australia. Call me cynical or whatever, but there is a deliberate covering up of soccer in these countries to protect the invested commercial and traditional interests of the mainstream established sports. Yet both countries are actually doing very well internationally.The US Mens Soccer team narrowly missed out on winning the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, losing to Brazil who staged a second half comeback. And Australia has already qualified for the World Cup for the second time in a row.
We just don't enjoy watching it (for good reason).
It's a different game and mentality involved than what Americans (and Australians for that matter) are used to and expect from their sports -- which is essentially another form of "sit back and enjoy entertainment". For example, a draw (1 point to each side) in soccer is considered a fair and worthy result if boths teams evened each other out during the course of the match, but in Australia, a draw in their game of Australian Rules football is considered the end of the world and something to mourn over. Soccer is a supremely tactical game, sometimes almost cat and mouse like (Western Europeans), other times free flowing and beautiful to watch (South Americans). Perhaps the fact that sports like football (soccer), cricket and tennis originated from England and that America fought a War of Independence to "rid" of that influence explains the lack of enthusiasm in the mainstream for these sports in your country. Just a speculative "theory". Or perhaps because Americans like to see a bit of blood and guts in their sports and entertainment which most of the time these sports don't offer. Pardon another speculative "theory".
Indeed, fun to play is usually inversely proportional to fun to watch.
To me, soccer is the most simplest, natural and enjoyable sport there is. It is democratic in that you don't need to be built like a monster or be as tall as Goliath to play it. You hardly need any equipment at all, just a ball. If you don't have a proper one, make it out of anything or use something similar. Pele (Brazilian legend) learnt to play with a grapefruit and Maradona (Argentine legend) practiced with an orange. Well, I was a bit spoilt and used a regular ball. It has the potential to (and often does) bring people of all colours, cultures and backgrounds together in one team; something that few other sports can boast of. There is an ugly side to it however, as there is in all sports, but I try not to focus on that. In international competitions, I like seeing how all the different national mentalities fare against each other.
Track car racing is the sport the boggles my mind, as it is neither fun to do nor watch (yes it is fun to go fast in a car, but not for 3 continuous hours with no air-conditioning).
You mean American NASCAR and Aussie V8 "Supercars"? I can't stand that kind of racing. But I don't mind Formula 1 -- at least the beginning and ending -- the other 50 or so laps gets kind of tiresome. It must get boring though when you race the same 19 other drivers week in week out, year in year out...
Maybe all F1 racing cars should have carputers installed in them so their drivers can have something to do other than pour champagne all over themselves and say "That was a tough race... amazing feeling!"
Then again, they would probably use the carputer to watch back their lap times and manouevres and them pouring champagne all over themselves and saying "That was a tough race... amazing feeling!"