I have long wondered about the “why” regarding the differences between American Football and what the rest of the world calls football (i.e. soccer). American football: so completely regimented and precise; fútbol: very free-flowing and quite uncontrolled.
This in contrast to what appears on the surface the opposite regarding the political and bureaucratic regimes. The United States: relatively free-market; Europe and Latin America (where fútbol is most popular): bureaucratic and stifling.
I have never felt satisfied with any answer I have come up with to explain this seeming contradiction; I have never found anything on point upon which I could develop a reasonable hypothesis. Well, maybe that day has arrived.
Total State/Total Sports, by Dr. Gregory C. Dilsaver.
In this essay, Dilsaver examines the role that organized youth sports indoctrinates people toward being an obedient citizen to a controlling state. It is a worthwhile read, but I want to focus on one gem that turned a light bulb on for me regarding my quest:
So too, sports inculcate the belief that life is a level playing field, where rules are made up by decree. This is legal positivism, which is the life blood of the Total State, as opposed to God-given natural law, which is the nemesis of the Total State. (Emphasis added; the light bulb.)
Football vs Fútbol
Before I dive into the history and political theory, I offer a brief examination regarding the differences in the two sports – one very regimented and controlled, the other very free-flowing. For a mental picture: take someone unfamiliar with either game and plant them in a stadium, one game at a time. In less than five minutes, he will understand fútbol; in five…