Slowly but surely some of my repressed memories of being a soccer fan in the States are coming back to me.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about the common “soccer is for fags” insults I remembered hearing in the 1980s. Then, all of a sudden last week, I remembered another insult that American jocks used to hurl my way, one that had long been stuck in the back of my brain.
We’ve seen the scene countless times. A footballer scores an amazing goal and runs to the side of the pitch in celebration, diving head first across the pitch and being jumped on by his teammates. The elation that players and fans feel is immense especially in a sport where it’s so difficult to score and goals are few and far between.
It’s not uncommon to see a footballer kiss a teammate in celebration.
To macho American men, though, this is a massive no-no. Most American men have accepted a woman kissing another woman, either as a greeting or sexually speaking, but for two guys to kiss each other as a way of celebrating a goal is severely looked down upon.
To be fair, it’s not part of American or British culture, although it is more commonly accepted in the UK especially during the highs of sporting events. In South America and continental Europe, it’s quite common for men to greet each other this way.
So when I was going through high school in the 80s and I had to defend soccer and explain why it was a real sport, the common response was that I was a fag for liking the game.
The hypocrisy about American sports though is that it’s okay for a man to smack a teammates butt but a kiss is out of the question.
It’s no longer the 1980s but some of the stereotypes about soccer still unfortunately exist.