Musings on Sporting Nomenclature

Do you ever wonder where words come from? For example, why is the game of soccer called that? What possible roots could that word have? ‘Football’ – now, that makes much more sense. I’m no sports historian (I’d be hard pressed to say I’m even a sports fan), but I’m intrigued by the whole phenomenon of the sporting world. What is it about it that extracts such dedication from people?

That last question would probably take more answering than I’ve got time for today. But a quick internet search informs that the word ‘soccer’ seems to have been derived from ‘association football’, as a way of colloquially differentiating the game from other forms of footy such as rugby. Well, there you go. Seems legit.

To backtrack, this was all on my mind due to my young niece just having been signed up for junior soccer. Nets, balls and other equipment are her latest aesthetic obsession – she’s covered all her school books in collages of pictures cut out from a sporting goods catalogue, and she refuses to wear any of her clothes that horses (last year’s obsession). It’s team colours or bust these days.

She even claims to be saving her pocket money to buy perimeter netting for the backyard. That, I feel, is going a bit far given that she’s barely even started playing yet. How does she know she’s even going to like the sport?

I sometimes wonder about her ability to stick with an interest long enough to master it, since she always seems to get overly excited at the outset and burn through all her enthusiasm within a few months. That’s if horses, netball and ballet are anything to go by. But then, she’s still a kid, so perhaps she’s just finding her thing.

Maybe soccer will be it! I’m going to start referring to it as ‘association football’ just to see what she makes of it.