Maybe we should treat all our sports like the World Cup?

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! )


A Flooded Faurot Doesn’t Stop Nebraska

I’m not as big of a football junkie as I used to be (my fiancee appreciates this, I’m sure).  In fact, I hardly watch sports at all anymore.  However, it’s hard to not appreciate a great contest between two rivals, especially on national TV during prime time and during a flash flood watch.  On Thursday night exactly that happened, and I listened to the Nebraska-Missouri game online here in South Africa.

Nebraska won with a flury of fourth quarter points.  They were down 12-0 going into the quarter and rallied for 27 unanswered points to beat Missouri 27-12.   Honestly, that was the best fourth quarter performance of any team I have seen.

“So what?” you might ask.  Well the irony lies in the fact that ESPN announcer Ron Franklin said of a Missouri t-shirt with a hit-list of Big 12 quarterbacks on it: “They had a Zac on there…I don’t know Zac…the Zac they had on there.”

The quarterback the shirt was referring to was Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee.  This was during the Missouri-Illinois game earlier this season in which Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert played exceptionally.  Against Nebraska?  Well, let’s just say that Gabbert looked like a normal sophomore without an “S” on his chest.  And now, I imagine that Franklin is eating his words.  Lee didn’t play like an all-conference star, but he made the plays when he needed to, and he lead his team to victory.

Great game.  Great comeback.  That’s what college sports are about.


Alex Henery’s Field Goal Against Colorado

Here’s ABC’s call of the school-record long kick against Colorado this past Friday.  I’m glad I was there.  I hugged people I didn’t know.  It was great.