Swing and a Miss

Just like football, I achieve very few of my goals

Thomas DeLapp

More stories from Thomas DeLapp

Swing and a Miss
May 10, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

What’s the most popular sport of all time? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t ping pong, I know. It’s actually soccer. 

If I was, just hypothetically, an American who wished they were from somewhere cooler than America, I’d call the sport by its proper name: football. So I will. It’s football. There’s a ball, and you use your foot on it. Not exactly rocket science.

Football not being rocket science is precisely the reason why it’s so popular. It’s the easiest, most accessible game to play — all you need is a ball. Heck, you don’t even need a ball, use a rock. Keep this in mind the next time you tell someone to go kick rocks; you’re really just wishing them a fun and fulfilling day of football.

Because it’s the most accessible sport, it’s also allegedly the oldest sport in the world. How about that! Multiple societies and cultures all independently developed some form of football. Humans were just built to ball.

Of course, modern football and its rules were created by the English, because imperialism. While doing the intensive and painstaking research required for a column of this scholarly caliber, I learned that FIFA — the international football association — operates from a code of rules called “Laws of the Game,” first written in 1863.

It takes a certain bravado and confidence to just name your sport “the game.” Cool, Britain. But they are kinda right. Football really is the game that everyone plays (by the way, millennials, you just lost the Game).

I recently learned about a slang phrase: “he’s him,” referring to someone who’s like, that guy. Allegedly. I think LeBron said it. To me, that phrase is just helpfully listing your pronouns. Anyways. Football is the “him” of sports. 

Personally, with the exceptions of my brief-yet-glorious stint as a goalie in pre-school and watching Ted Lasso, I don’t really get into much football. I want to watch football — being a football fan, I feel, places you in a much larger global community. Again, everyone loves football.

Except for me, as much as I want to love it. I love the scarves, I love the singing at matches, I love the idea of football. But why does it have to take so long to score a goal? If I wanted to watch people run up and down a field I could just go to the park.

I’ve recently been bringing my Minnesota teams and perspectives into these articles — and Minnesota United FC is pretty cool. Loons are dope, and I really like the sky blue and gray color scheme  (if you didn’t know by now, my sports preferences are entirely based on uniform colors). 

I haven’t been to a game, but I hear great things. I don’t know if United is good, but their fans are wholesome, fun and supportive. This is in contrast to most Midwest sports fans, who are usually bitter and angry that their little team lost their little pretend game. Sports are silly — let’s just have fun. Football folks seem to get that. 

So if you ever see me out and about, let’s play some football. I’ll bring the rock.

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected].