Different Strokes For Different Folks – Soccer/Board games Mash-up

Good to be back!

I went on a little vacation last week, and now I am back in the swing of the “real world.”

While on this trip I had the pleasure of enjoying some of the best, non-stop, soccer (fútball) action in the World Cup.  If you followed previous world cups, you may be aware that this particular Cup has been absolutely BONKERS!

For the third year in a row, the defending champs are out in the group stage, but the upsets are only a part of the craziness.  I could go into the details, and spend 1000+ words on my World Cup thoughts, but that isn’t what I am trying to establish here.

What I noticed this year was the complete lack of interest many Americans have for the world’s most popular sport.  It only happens once every 4 years, and yet I’ve seen more interest talking about Curling earlier this year…

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration.  I don’t expect everyone to get as excited about the World Cup as myself.  I play, I coach, I wake up at 7AM on weekends to watch games live.  It is a huge part of my life.

We would absolutely crush it if talent like LeBron James, Aaron Judge, or LaDainian Tomlinson grew up with “The Beautiful Game” in their sites.

Not saying that these guys at the age of 5 decided they wanted to be basketball, baseball, or football stars for the dough, but it is just a simple fact that more money is in those industries here in America.  The stadiums, the broadcasting, the advertisement and merchandise are monumental!  That all translates to exposure.

I feel like board games are faced with a similar conundrum when faced with industries like Video Games and Television.  There is only so much time in a day, and there comes a point you have to portion out what you will spend your time on.

While I know many people who enjoy playing video games for hours every day, or watching so many of the same shows I enjoy, many of them would act like I was pulling their teeth to get them to play a round of Catan, or Coup.

Smart, creative, funny people that I just KNOW would love this game!  Sometimes, you catch one and they convert.  I hear things like “once I realized there was more than monopoly and scrabble I was hooked.”

It makes me so happy when people I introduced to a game suggest we play!  All it took was a little of the right kind of exposure

I feel both Soccer and boardgames are very low barrier to entry.  All you need is one friend to have a ball, and another to have a table.  Yet, they don’t seem nearly as popular in the United States as I would expect.

What I think I am trying to wrap this all up in is the fact I am a big fan of having an eclectic taste, and our tribal instincts really get in the way of that.

Jocks only like beer, balls, and Call of Duty.  Nerds only like Portal, Starwars, and energy drinks.

Both groups have individuals who love nothing more than to (for lack of a better term) shit on things they don’t like.

Usually, I contend they simply don’t understand, and that is ok!  If you don’t care to have me explain it to you, just say so.  No need to spout things dripping in sarcasm like “oh look, he kicked a ball and scored a touchdown!” or “isn’t Pokemon for kids?”

No.  No No NO

There is usually no reason you can’t respect what other people like.  I bet if you really thought about why you don’t like something like sports, or boardgames, or Nicholas Cage.  You would find there isn’t much of a good reason at all.  Maybe if somebody you met playing Dungeons and Dragons at the FLGS took you to a hockey game, or if your Tennis partner pulled out Ultimate Werewolf on the teams trip to an away match, you could find something you hadn’t enjoyed before.

That said, I don’t want to say negative opinions are always wrong.  The Last Airbender (live, film version) was appalling and should always be regarded as such.  The difference is, I can explain to you why, and not just say it was dumb.

In fact, if you have made it this far and still think you have a good reason to dislike sports, board games, or anything else most rational human beings find entertaining.  Let me know why in the comments!

The world is full of enjoyable things.  I have a personality bent on experiencing as many as I can, but even if I ultimately don’t enjoy something I can find a way to understand how others can.

Except for claustrophilia…

-James Schoenster
Co-founder of Cerebral Cellar





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