A Weekly Standard reporter recently argued that soccer minimizes the two great characteristics that separate people from animals: the opposable thumb and a highly developed brain.

Only the soccer goalkeeper can take advantage of his opposable thumb. That usually happens only during the most routine plays. His most spectacular plays tend to involve tipping or punching the ball, rather than grabbing it.

Meanwhile, most other major sports involve some sort of headgear to protect the brain, but soccer players are encouraged to bash their heads against the ball. Soccer ranks second only to boxing among the major sports in the amount of acceptable headbashing.

The article’s author exercised much greater eloquence in positing the preceding points. It’s unfortunate that his work no longer appears on the Weekly Standard web site.

I’m not a soccer basher, but I agree with Jon Ham that rules changes encouraging more offense would be a major improvement.