This past Friday night was USA-Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. A few years ago, I would have circled this on my calendar and looked into tickets (thought the threat of actually going never did materialize). These days, I didn't even know it was happening until (last) Monday lunchtime. How did I - the proud owner of a 2004 #23 Eddie Pope USMNT jersey that's done service through 3 World Cups - fall away from a sport that I used to so passionately follow?
Because it's not just the MNT, it's soccer completely. I could not tell you who leads the Premiership right now, or who won the last MLS Cup. (In fact, since I started this post last week (actually before the USMNT-Mexico even), the US has lost to Costa Rica 0-4, and it didn't even hardly register on my radar. The fact this has been an unfinished draft so long speaks more than what I could actually probably manage to say).
These days, soccer is more readily available than ever. I remember installing all sorts of weird clients to watch pirated games Permiership games streamed via god-knows-where, and being happy for the blocky, choppy blob I'm pretty sure was Theirry Henry, but might not have been. Now with my tablet I have every EPL and Bundesliga game at my literal fingertips, and I don't take advantage of it.
Part of the reason probably has to do with Fulham having been relegated. After that, I had no dog in the fight. I could have picked a new team, or found a way to stream Championship matches, but the quality of play on the field just didn't move me to care (boy, does that sound familiar).
The scumminess of FIFA has lead me down that path as well (a path the NCAA and IOC have started down as well). I don't pretend sports are a bastion of morality on a golden hill to which we can look for guidance in this world. But at the same time, the product on the field is only sustainable because we have faith in the fairness of the proceedings, and I don't feel it's too much to ask something similar of leadership. To top it off, the blaise, haughty, blatant disregard for even the pretense of propriety just irks me so badly.
My world has gotten lots busier in the last two years, but I say this not to say "My wife sucked all the fun out of my life" or anything so banal. My life has gotten fuller, richer, more well-rounded. I no longer sit and watch sports for 48 straight hours on weekends, or even watch all that much sports at all. I'm too busy exploring life and what it has to offer. And now that I have a house to take care of, I get to tinker with things.
So, end of ramble - I guess I've grown out of soccer? It's still a lovely sport, and I watch it occasionally (especially my Boxing Day tradition), but it no longer holds me how it used to.