There are a lot of things about the European lifestyle that I am on board with: afternoon siestas, short work weeks, generous paid vacation, drinking all day. All these ideas I can stand behind.

One thing I never approved of, however, is the European love of soccer. I always believed that, as an American, I was supposed to hate soccer. So I professed to hate soccer, even without knowing anything about the game. My ignorance was a manifestation of the hate; just the thought of learning about it was too boring for me. I imagined it to be an extremely slow-moving game. The field is big, and it must take forever for someone to run from one end to the other. And come on, it’s nearly impossible to accurately kick a ball into a tiny net.

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