In America, we live and die with our sports. On any given Saturday in the fall, if the Nebraska football team loses, chances are you might find a grown man in Omaha weeping on his living room couch. If not, at least you won’t be able to talk to him until Tuesday afternoon. And so it goes with our Big 3: football, baseball, basketball.
But it’s not that way with our beloved American soccer team in the World Cup, is it? This version of the Dream Team has American on the edge of its seat to be sure. Just this week, the US went from near elimination to winning its group and advancing to the knockout round in the first moments of extra time against Algeria. I went crazy when I “saw” the goal on ESPN’s GameCast at work. The media and the lay-soccer fan has fallen head-over-heels for them. But what do you think this nation’s reaction would have been had Donavon not knocked in that rebounded shot? I think it would have went something like this:
Oh well. What else is on now?
Of course, not everyone would reacted that way (i.e. die-hard soccer fans like my friend Andrew, who was at the game). But most of you, if you like sports, though not soccer specifically, yet love America, would have said just that. A sports radio talk show host said it best this week: “There’s something healthy to that kind of reaction.”
Indeed there is. Hmmm…I wonder why?
(Note: This is in no way a knock against soccer. I think it’s foolish to jeer a sport simply because you don’t know the rules — or because your country isn’t a superpower when they compete! )