From Soccer To Baseball, Danny Kotula:

Dear Around the Horn readers,

If you’re reading this, you probably love baseball. And if you love baseball, you might hate me. Because I’m the guy who doesn’t really get all that excited by the World Series. I was the kid that dragged every t-ball team down in my childhood because I had no clue what was going on at any time whatsoever.

Put simply, I don’t really understand baseball.

Honestly, that’s a shame. Because even if I don’t understand the game, I very much understand why it means something beyond the game.

Let me back up a bit. I run a soccer blog called SmallWorld Soccer. Soccer is, to a large degree, what I love most in this world. I watch, referee, play, support, follow, report, write on, and Tweet about soccer on a weekly basis.

Soccer means a lot to me, and it’s about so much more than just the game. It’s the passion of the supporters, the history behind each and every team, the fluidity of every movement, every touch of the ball. The simplicity of the fact that literally all you need is a ball and a goal. The strategy that goes on behind the scenes that only a trained eye will ever even recognize.

What I’ve come to realize is that while soccer and baseball are very different sports, they share a lot of these very elements. And for that reason, I’m trying to involve myself a little bit more in this year’s World Series.

I’m trying to recognize everything I haven’t ever really tried to grasp before about what makes baseball special. The strategy, the mental game within the game, the fan culture, the history, everything. The more I learn, the more I realize I want and need to learn.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy for trying to love the sport I loved to hate, but I think my open mind is leading me to understand what many of you probably already know: baseball is making a difference in the world around us.

And I would challenge you to do the same thing with soccer. 

Just like I’m figuring out the impact baseball makes on the world, I’m confident that if you look in the right places, you’ll find how impactful soccer can be for individuals who get to play, groups of people who can unite over the sport, and cities who are able to celebrate their diversity through a local team.

If you’re interested in delving into soccer a bit more, I can certainly help in that regard, even if I can’t catch a fly ball. First of all, check out SmallWorld Soccer’s club feature on a soccer team that’s making a really significant impact on its community.

Then, watch the MLS and USL Championship playoffs this month and next! MLS is the highest level of pro soccer in the United States, and USL Championship is the second division. Both leagues play some really fun soccer, with high-scoring games and last-second drama likely.

After that, do some research and figure out if there’s a local club near you, whether it’s at a high professional level or an almost non-existent amateur league. Be sure to support them by going to a game and getting to know the team’s supporters! We soccer fans are a friendly bunch, unless you’re wearing the other team’s colors, of course.

If you need help finding a local club, this could be a helpful resource. Wikipedia is great for getting basic information on the more well-known leagues, so that would be a great place to start.

Reach out to me on SmallWorld Social and let me know if you do get involved with soccer–I’d really love to know you did so and connect with you! Drop a comment on this post, on SmallWorld Soccer’s homepage, or get in touch with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll leave you with the same message I always give my readers on SmallWorld:

Watch local soccer, unify those around you, and seek out diversity!

Blessings,

Danny K

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