There is an insidious agenda behind the water break in the Premier League restart. Please do not carry this water break forward. The beautiful game requires NO water breaks. This is not about hydrating players in summer because Britain is not California or the Iberian peninsula. As an American, I can tell you there is no question moneyed power is behind the water breaks. Please! You must stop this abomination.
I did not learn to play football or soccer until my sons started playing. Invariably, I started coaching. Well, I am a purist about certain things. One of those things, you cannot coach what you never played. This is not 100% true, but it is true enough so I stuck to it. I started playing soccer at 42.
I really played too. I went to pick up games and played on soccer teams. One thing difficult for Yanks to get encoded in their heads about playing soccer as a field player is the “no hands” stuff. We are ALWAYS using our hands in every sport over here.
As I learned to play, when a ball would fly at me I would be momentarily paralyzed because I would want to catch it. That split second before realizing I would need to head it or chest it, gave opponents an advantage. As a result, I stopped playing all other sports. I only played “footie”.
I also began to watch soccer on television with great interest. I have always used televised professional sports to hone my game in whatever sport I was practicing at the time. Learning to play soccer would be no different.
When watching a soccer game one is immersed in 100 minutes of action with just ONE break. Touch after touch on the ball. Guys making runs off the ball to clear space for the second runner into the box. Hard tackles after gut-busting runs by midfielders to retrieve a ball lost by a lazy striker. Amazing coordination between center backs as they clear dangerous crosses. There is just so much if you REALLY watch a game, there is just so much happening at all times. I would disappear for almost two hours off of the planet when a good Premier League game was on the television.
The half time break allowed for one trip to the bathroom. This was followed by the decision of whether or not to actually watch the second half. Due to the deep attention I learned is required to enjoy a good soccer game, I do little else. Watching a game means doing nothing else. Though I often watch the second half, I do not always due to the other pressures in my life. Water breaks now offer two more opportunities for real life to take me from the beautiful game.
However, this is not the nature of my objection to the water break. After about a decade of coaching and playing, my children became teenagers and then young men. Add to it the fact I was over half a century old and I stopped playing. Soccer began to fade into the background. I finally let myself watch other sports.
OMG! It was eye opening for me. These other sports, like an American football game take three times as long due to the commercials. The other sports, like the NBA or ML baseball, all were significantly broken up by commercial advertising as well. Watching the Premier League had ruined my ability to enjoy other sports on television.
American sports viewing events were a stark contrast to watching the BPL on American television. The non-stop action in soccer per half means commercials only work at half time. Of course, the players have become billboards in many different languages but this is still less intrusive than actual commercials. I used to watch plenty of basketball as it used be my favorite sport to play. I tried to watch it again but the commercials were so exhausting.
I recall back in the late seventies or early eighties when the NBA came up with an extra timeout which could be called by the league, if neither coach had called one. NBA coaches were not calling enough timeouts so the contracts for television commercials could be affected. By adding a league-called timeout first every half and then every quarter, this advertising revenue problem was solved. The NBA was praised for their choice which according to many pundits saved the league from bankruptcy.
This little “innovation”, the TV timeout, grew to take up more time in the NBA game. Other sports became more accommodating to the television medium as well. I have told many people about the joys of watching soccer because of this lack of commercials. I do not want to lose this last bastion of sports purity and non-stop action. VAR is already annoying, but the water break is too much for me.
I appeal to all British citizens to rise up against this abomination. This is about television commercials and not about player health. Please stop this creeping crime against the beautiful game. Our two countries have been cross-pollinating each other for centuries. That cross-pollination goes both ways. As a Yank, I can tell you there is no doubt in my mind this water break experiment is like the television timeout experiment of the NBA back in the seventies.
Please rise up. Stop this genuflection to money. Save the beautiful game. Lads, the purity of British footie is at stake.