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Will This Be the Year I Like Soccer?

Discussion in 'Colosseum' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    1 - No. Promotion and relelgation does add some spice to the English soccer competition, especially if you support a team that will never win the league.

    2 - Yes. You can't say that ALL games have something riding on them. But more importantly, the lack of promotion and relegation does not explain why basketball, baseball, giridiron, and ice hockey are so popular. We can't say that soccer is not popular in USA because it lacks relegation, when all their other huge sports lack it as well.
     
  2. Saber

    Saber A revolution without dancing is not worth having! Veteran

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    That is my point. Duffin keeps saying that people are more devoted to their teams because there is always a chance they will rise or fall from grace, which you just pointed out won't happen with all of the teams. A lot of teams are untouchable, right? In the NFL, there are almost 0 untouchable teams.

    I'm not saying that the NFL is better than soccer. I enjoy watching both (although I do have more attachment to football because I have been a fan longer), and have nothing against soccer. I am just arguing against Duffin's claim that soccer fans are more devoted to their teams than fans over here.

    I see your point about relegation being extremely emotional, and yes, not winning is different from being relegated, but saying that because US sports don't have a tiered system, we aren't as attached to our teams as you are to yours is neither a fair statement nor a correct one. Is relegation the only reason you are fans of your team? Of course not; you are fans for multiple reasons, as are we. Just because we don't have all the same aspects of the sport as you do doesn't make us less fan-worthy. I am sure there are aspects of our game that we have that you don't that we are fanatic about. (Since I am not as familiar with soccer as I am with football or baseball, I can't really give examples that I know are true, but I can try: )

    1. The minor league system in baseball breeds attachment to players before they even play at the top level. Fans get excited about young players, see them play in the minors, and become huge fans of them. When the players come up, they become more attached to the team as a whole because they are familiar with the players. If they get traded, they are devastated (example: today was the trading deadline for baseball - the Red Sox traded a young player, Justin Masterson, who has become widely popular in Boston. Despite the fact that we got a much better player in return, tons of people I know are absolutely crushed.).

    2. Even in games that you claim don't matter, people still watch because of the players. When a team has no chance to win the championship, people are discouraged, but they don't give up. Instead they watch the players to see who will be on the team next year, hoping the management goes out and makes some deals, and that they beat the teams still in the running for the championship. One of the best aspects of baseball and football are the 'spoilers', or the teams that cannot make it but play as hard as possible (and better than their numbers show) just to try and ruin other teams chances at winning. This is particularly intense intra-divisionally - Baltimore Orioles trying to beat the Red Sox and Yankees, for example.

    But that's not our thing. Our national sport is baseball, which also embodies those qualities (as does football, and I would imagine most other sports). Our sense of nationality is evoked through our dedication to the sports we have always played. Why should we love US soccer? Because you love European soccer?


    Also, a question about the tiered system - doesn't it just widen the gap between the good and bad? I mean, if they take away 60 million euros if you get relegated, how on earth are you supposed to make it back into the premier league(s)? I understand that when (or if) it happens, it is intensely gratifying and emotional, but by losing so much revenue, doesn't it take years and years to get back?


    Also, this argument is all relative. Just because they are different systems doesn't mean the fans can't be equally fanatic/insane. For example, the Red Sox (in 2004) won the championship for the first time in 86 years, and the Northeast exploded. It was one of the most incredible experiences ever. The championship parade had millions upon millions of people there; all people talked about for the next year was winning the championship (I streaked). I am sure there are similar stories in Europe (of teams winning after decades of losing)... why do your stories have to be more meaningful than our's?

    I have nothing against soccer (I enjoy it); I am just against your claims that you are more fanatic than us.
     
  3. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well articulated, Saber!
     
  4. ChickenIsGood Gems: 23/31
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    The draft is actually a very positive fan experience as well. I'm not into watching the thing, considering that is hours upon hours for each sport, but leading up to is, wondering who your team will take? I'm there. Studying prospects and playing general manager for a few days is always very fun.

    To give some indication of what kind of experience I've had over the last year or so with sports, here you go...

    NHL- don't care.
    MLS- don't care
    FIFA- watched the limitted games I could and really enjoyed them (Argentina vs France? was especially good. Skipped class for it.)
    NBA- The local team (Seattle Supersonics) got relocated to Oklahoma City because the owner was from there. Nothing could produce as much hate toward a guy as moving the team with the only professional championship the city has ever had. Howard Schulz got death threats because he sold the team two years prior to the man who moved them. Absolutely ridiculous. My favorite team (Utah Jazz) had been beset by injuries and enjoyed limitted success.
    MLB- The Seattle Mariners parlayed their future (top field, and pitching prospect + others) on the bases that they were one piece away from contending by acquiring Erik Bedard. The year before was clearly a fluke and so this last year was something awful. Firings about, mass hate toward the general manager Bill Bavasi. Death threats, lol.
    NFL- Seattle's team is beset by injuries and by and large sucks. Kurt Cobain shoots himself again.

    Basically the three big leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL) were a big disappointment for Seattle and you could not go a day without hearing about it. Everywhere. Nothing but complaints. However, any other year and you'll have such insane jubilation about that it just seems impossible for any other feelings.

    What I think really separates the US apart in athletics is their college sports. There is really something special there, supporting your school or some relatives is as good as it gets. This is something that is established early usually as generations often go to the same school, and have a ton of pride about it. And if it is your own you get to see the players and get to know them as people rather than just athletes (usually) causing you to pull for them even more. I played a lot of basketball with the football team members at WSU, got to know them for who they are, and cared about their team more (basketball team as well here). Last season they were 1-10 (winless against the conference) and in a showdown against cross-state rival UW (0-10*). A comeback forced overtime, the game was to be decided with a field goal to win by a struggling kicker.



    Seriously, the game meant absolutely nothing, but did you see how fast those fans stormed the field? (I'm there somewhere :p)

    It's hard to say if fans of a certain league are more passionate than others, but what can be said for sure is that the passion is evident in every league.

    *What a god-awful year it was for Washington (Seattle) sports fans it was in 2008. Perenial playoff football team goes 4-12. Baseball team becomes first with 100mil payroll to lose 100 games in a season. Basketball team relocates. Two D-1 college football teams combine to go 2-22 (one win against eachother). Throw in some crap weather? Bad year, haha.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2015
  5. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Saber, I wasn't talking about the game I was talking about the *team*. The US national soccer team embodies those things I wrote. They are not like the basketball team or even the hockey team it is a team that knows it is an underdog and fights with tooth and nail for every inch. That is why I enjoy watching US games.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Sorry - been away for a few days.

    I largely agree with what Saber is saying. Just because your soccer team really sucks and there is a chance it gets booted down to a lower league does not make the sport better, or the fans any more devoted to it than if there is no chance of this happening. Who cares if there is enough interest in the league regarding the worst teams? It shouldn't really matter if you team is worst, second worst or third worst in the league - all those teams sucked. (Also, how do you know that the two teams being relegated aren't better than the two teams being promoted? If the teams are playing in different leagues against vastly different levels of competition, how do we know that the two teams that are being promoted are actually better than the two teams being relegated? I'm not necessarily saying they are or are not, I'm just asking, how would you know?)

    This doesn't happen in the NFL because the league is specifically designed to generate as much parity as possible. The NFL wants a league where there is some turnover of the top teams each year, and where every team - no matter how poorly they performed the previous year - has a reasonable expectation that their team can improve over the course of a few seasons.

    And that's why the relegation system makes no sense to me. If every year you're rooting for your team to not get relegated, then that looks to me that you're rooting for you team to just be bad instead of being really bad. If you're fighting against relegation every year, then you aren't contending for a championship. If some teams are never in danger of being relegated, and other teams are always in danger, then it seems like you have some very serious competitive imbalance issues in the league. That would make me less of a fan, unless I was rooting for one of the teams that was never in danger of being relegated (not that being very good should ever be the basis of how you pick your favorite team). If I was a fan of one of those teams always in fear of being relegated, and I felt that there was never any realistic chance of them ever competing for a championship, I think that would cause me a lot of disillusionment as a fan.
     
  7. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    And this is why the two sports are so different. This is simply not the mindset in England you dont 'pick your favourite team' and not having realistic chance to win the title does not disillusion fans. Your team picks you and that is that. Surely such a statement shows that the american system is more entertainment orientated, you want to support a popular team that will almost certainly challenge at some point and the american structure ensures this is possible. This is so far removed from the English league it is unexplainable.

    You also say that in England some teams will never have a chance to do well. Comparably they have a much better chance. In America the teams outside the top league have NO chance to win the championship, seeing as they cannot even gain entry. In Europe all teams are within the same system, so it is possible for any team in the country to win the premiership. So it would seem the American system is much more restrictive in this sense. History has showed teams from anywhere in the leagues can achieve success, if you look at Hull City who are currently in the premiership, they have rocketed through the leagues in the last 5 years. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...9-29.png/800px-Hull_City_graph_2008-09-29.png

    Now let us look at the composition of the current premier league. In the past 10 years all but 5 of the 20 teams have been in the lower leagues for atleast one year. Last year Hull had their first ever season in the premier league and were not relegated. I think you are underestimating how competitive and fluid the system is.
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    You really need to explain that one a little better. Everyone has a reason to root for a particular team, and it's never an issue of "the team picks you". Sometimes it's because everyone in your family roots for that team, sometimes it's because it's the local team. In the case of college teams, most people root for a team at the school they or a close family member attended, and geography plays an important role here too.

    For example, I live near Baltimore, Maryland. The vast majority of sports fans here root for the local Baltimore sports teams. When I lived in Pennsylvania, most people rooted for the Pennsylvania teams. I do not think that it is an adequate explanation to say that in most cases the Pennsylvania teams picked Pennsylvanians to root for them, and that the Baltimore teams picked people who lived near Baltimore to root for them. I think it is a far more reasonable explanation to say that people form personal attachments to the people and the area where they live, and because of this they tend to root for local teams. This is an explanation involving social interactions, family, friends, not about entertainment. I think you read a lot into my post that I never said.

    And you have done a fantastic job in not explaining it.
     
  9. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think the main point, and how I see it is that there is dual tension in the European system. Not only is it a competition to win but also not to lose. As I understand it teams get rewarded for finishing last in the US and thus the only thing you lose is honor but you gain the chance to become better next year so it is no big deal. In Europe the series has plenty of tension in both ends and only the middle teams ever end up in a position where they have nothing but honor to play for. Usually the bottom games deciding who will get relegated are at least as exciting at the end of a season as the top games deciding who will be champions.
     
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  10. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    Thats a good summary of what I am trying to say, but rather than simply making more games exciting the implications are much wider and change the whole scene of the sport.


    It's called sport.

    So you agree that the NFL is structured with no tiered system to make a more entertaining league? And you yourself define an entertaining season by challenging for the title. Can you not see the point I am trying to make?

    This is simply not the case. Finishing 17th in the premiership is far better than anywhere in the championship. Etc for the championship and division 1.

    Just because you don't get a nice shiny trophy does not make it any less of an achievement.

    And this I think is the difference between American and European football fans. Of course I can understand the desire to win the league but surely success is always relative. One fan might be delighted his team has overachieved and survived relegation in 17th, another might be devastated his team has underachieved and finished second in the league. To say that you would be less of a fan or 'disillusioned' if your team didn't have a realistic chance of winning the league is very odd to me as it would be to most European fans. I have purposely avoided using this word, but it would seem like a more superficial relationship between fan and club. The tiered league structure and its cutthroat nature, in my experience, breeds a very intense relationship in which every single point gained is invaluable.
     
  11. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    I think the "picking of teams" may be a function of size. The United Kingdom would be the 11th largest state in the U.S. and they have to squeeze all those teams into it. I shudder to think of how many sports teams we would have if we had the same density of sports teams.

    I am a soccer fan and enjoy the game at all levels. I dream of the day that the U.S. can convince its top athletes to play soccer instead of focusing on football and basketball.

    I like the relegation system and would love to see it implemented for the sports that it would work. I think it could work for hockey and baseball. Of course they would have to change the system of having the major league teams owning the players in the minor leagues, but I think it would be fun. I don't see anyway that it could possibly work for football or basketball as the talent level at the "top league" is worlds away from the other leagues. Can anyone in their right mind imagine a situation where a Canadien Football League team beat an NFL team?
     
  12. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    Good points. I think a point to consider is what effect on the gap a tiered system would have? Surely the gap can only get wider the way it is? With a tiered system I would like to think things would eventually even out as a natural result of competition. The weaker sides would move down and the stronger sides would move up. Of course initially some teams would find themselves very much out of depth or very much the dominant team but this cannot be helped. Once teams get entry to the top leagues they will gain financially, and through draft placements but also through the experience of playing in a more elite form of the sport itself. A club's stature would also increase and they would have less trouble in attracting players with higher reputations. How can clubs be expected to improve if they are not given the chance to earn a place to compete with the best teams and earn the same bonuses that these teams recieve exclusively at the moment.
     
  13. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Still remember that USA has the college sport system as well, which is very different from anything in England. As has been mentioned before, often the college sport support is more fanatical than the major league fanbase.

    What is the college soccer scene like?

    Anyway, this promotion / relegation argument is still moot, because it still doesn't explain the popularity or lack thereof of soccer in USA vs England. USA doesn't have relegation in any of its leagues but its non-soccer sports are still enormously popular. If NFL had relegation and soccer didn't, then we might be on to something.

    I don't think that if US soccer introduced relegation that it would suddenly become more popular than baseball.
     
  14. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    It all comes down to density, geography, and economic viability. The major league teams are based in major cities (or the surrounding area). The minor league teams are in significantly smaller cities. Using a relegation system the smaller teams will have an impossible task to attract corporate sponsors, top coaches, and top players as they will not have the financial abilities.

    Whereas I believe that London has 5 premier teams in it. We don't have anything like that. A city may have two teams in the same sport in it, but that is only if there are two conferences.

    That is why I think it could work in hockey which is not a big money sport, and baseball is already a have and have not sport. Everyone always expects the Yankees and the Red Sox to do well and that is because they have all the money. In football they realized the money problem and installed a salary cap that forces a minimum and a maximum that each team must/can spend.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds later... ----------

    As much as it pains me to say it, soccer will not become popular until we get really good at it. We also will not get really good at it until we get better athletes playing it. For the most part the men on the U.S. soccer team are athletes that weren't good enough to continue playing basketball or football. I can't even imagine how good Lebron James would be as a keeper. The thought of having some NFL wide receivers as strikers would be unbelievable. If our national team and the MLS was populated with players in the NFL and NBA I firmly believe that soccer would be as popular if not more popular. But, alas it is a dream.
     
  15. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    This is what's confusing for me about the American system. If the teams are moving around all the time, how do you have a local team with history? Seattle now have no team in any sport it seems and Oklahoma now has one which has no history whatsoever. Obviously the likes of the Yankees would have a rich history but how many others would? The promotion system means that every locality will have a team of some form or another, right down to the smallest towns. The tiers in American sports just seem to be the reserve teams of the major ones so that doesn't do much for spreading teams around the country.

    For European teams it matters far more that their club is an extension of their locality than that they are competitive. Manchester United and Leeds United aren't bitter rivals because they are major teams who are often in contention with one another. Subconsciously for the supporters the clash of Red and White is a continuation of the War of the Roses from 1455. The Leeds badge is even the White Rose. There's loads of subtexts across Europe in the rivalries. The sectarianism of Glasgow Rangers v Celtic, the communists v fascists of Roma v Lazio, the federal Real Madrid v the separatist regions. I'm not very familiar with the US teams but I don't ever really recall hearing of the equivalent kind of rivalries. The US is a new country with very little strife in its history.
     
  16. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Let me start by agreeing with Snook - a large part of the regional popularity of many NFL teams probably has to due to the sheer size of the US. It's possible for regional preferences to develop in a nation the size of the US, whereas in England everything is relatively "closer".

    No, I don't agree, and no, I don't see your point - and it doesn't help matters when you misrepresent my position. You presented two quotes from me, and nowhere in there did I use the word "entertaining". So no, I did not say that the lack of teiring made the NFL more entertaining, nor did I say that an entertaining season is defined by challenging for a title. So I'm having a hard time seeing your point, when you don't even understand what I'm trying to tell you.

    I'll try to be more precise here. The reason that the NFL wants some turnover in the top teams is not because it makes the league more entertaining. (In fact, it can be argued that the lack of predictability makes it less entertaining for many fans.) It is to maintain competitive balance in the league and help maintain league parity. It could even be argued that a system in which teams from small market cities can compete hurts the overall popularity of the NFL, as the largest fan bases are from the major cities.

    Having a level playing field also gives all teams a fair shake at improvement. Not every team can possibly compete for a championship every year (which is why I in no way suggested that competing for a championship was the defining way to have an entertaining season), but the idea behind the system of the NFL is no team should be poor team year after year after year, with no real prospects of improving their standing. A team that finishes 17th in the premiership has no realistic hope of being a champion in the foreseeable future. Conversely, in the NFL every year we see a few teams that were poor the year before become average, and average teams become playoff contenders. It is no stretch to say that it is possible in two years time to go from one of the worst teams in the league, to one of the better teams in the league.

    Of course, but I never said otherwise. Just because the NFL system is designed to give any team the opportunity to be good eventually does not mean that every team is competing for a championship every year. And of course there are relative differences between success and failure in the NFL as well. A team like the Kansas City Chiefs did poorly last year, and only won a few games. If they win half of their games this year, that would be considered a successful season by the players, the fans, and the ownership group. Conversely, last year the Pittsbugh Steelers won the Super Bowl. If they follow that Super Bowl victory by only winning half of their games this year, that will be considered by the players, fans and owners to be a disappointing result.

    Then allow me to be more precise here as well. I would not become disillusioned if my team did poorly one year, or even in a series of years. I would become disillusioned if I felt there was no chance of them realistically competing for a championship ever. And I do see that as a problem with premeirship. Each year, it seems like it's the same 6-8 teams that are competing for the championship. If I was not a fan of one of those teams, and I was basically watching the matches to see if my team was getting relegated or not, that would be depressing after a while.

    So it's not about the chance to win a championship every year - in fact expecting your team to be good every single year is not realistic. All teams have down years. But knowing that the league is set up in such a way that your team can (and likely will) improve in the next couple of years, makes those lean years much easier to cope with. It makes the emotional committment to make your favorite team seem that much more worthwhile - to root for a team that would alternate between poor and mediocre seems like a thankless chore to me.

    Finally, while I did disagree with a lot of what you wrote, some of the statements that you made regarding differences between American and European sports have some merit. However, as opposed to your theory that the differences has to do with entertainment value, I think it has more to do with the American mindset. There is a reason why there is a concept called "The American Dream". It is a concept that at its core states that anyone who is willing to work hard enough can succeed - and I cannot help but think that mindset is pervasive in sports as well. We may subconsciously like leagues where the fortunes of teams can change relatively quickly. There is something very American about thinking that your team can eventually make it - there is no glory in striving for mediocrity.

    But teams don't move around all the time - You might have one team move over the course of an entire decade. The reason the Seattle example that Chicken posted is noteworthy is because it IS a relatively unusual event.
     
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  17. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    I don't mean to misrepresent you, and I will get to a proper reply later but let me first make a quick point that I feel is important to clarify.

    Aldeth you state in addition to your comments above that

    and


    I'm sure many other americans think the same way. We have also agreed that the league is designed for 'parity' or 'balance' as you put it, so that no teams will ever suffer extended mediocity that you would find a chore to support. Perhaps 'entertainment' is the wrong word, but can you see that the league is designed to give people this 'excitement' / 'entertainment' that you so desire? I am not saying this is either good or bad to the English system but am merely trying to highlight some of the differences which may account for soccers relative unpopularity. Now in the UK it is widely known that only a few teams will currently challenge for the premiership. But it is these teams that have not been in the lower leagues for the last 10 years atleast (4 of the 5 that i mentioned above). It is also these teams that have been largely historically successful and it is widely accepted that their dominance is the result of a long process of hard work and the development of a great team. The system is not designed to give maximum entertainment or 'competitive balance' but a competition in the purest sense of the word. If these teams fall behind, they can quite conceivably be relegated. Newcastle and Leeds have both recently occupied the champions league spots (above 4th) and are now both in the second and third tiers respectively.

    In short the point I am trying to make is that by making the american system so that no team can build long term success is to make the league as 'entertaining' to many fans as possible, as like you say, you would find supporting a team who will not win in the forseable future a chore. This is a completely different mindset to European football, hence the whole relegation debate.
     
  18. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    You don't dump your wife because you've hit a rocky patch. You married her because you love her, and you'll battle on through the hard times and hope that things look up. If anything, the hardships bring you closer together. Just like you don't stop supporting your team just because you don't win your league. Supporting a team isn't all about winning and success.
     
  19. Saber

    Saber A revolution without dancing is not worth having! Veteran

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    To continue with that analogy, Barmy... if she is a terrible wife for 2 or 3 decades, you divorce her.

    And marrying a team full of sweaty men is not my cup of tea, but, to each his own, I guess :p
     
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