05 July 2010

Soccer & Patriotism

In the good old US of A, football (from here on out referred to as soccer - it's name in the good old US of A) has never found an audience like it has in the rest of the world. We have a slew of our own sports that we play seriously on our own, and we don't want anyone else to join in, so stay away! We call our championships things like "The World Series," despite the fact that the whole world doesn't participate.

The interesting thing about soccer, however, is that it remains the "most played" game in America for children. Why is that? It's cheap! There's no real equipment or uniforms, save for cleats and shin guards. As more and more people found themselves hard up in the late 80's and early 90's, participation skyrocketed. "Come on little Jimmy, I know you want to play baseball but soccer is just as fun [and way cheaper, which means we can also buy that new TV I had my eye on]." Needless to say, my generation - early 80's babies - grew up knowing all the rules and understanding "The World's Game." Now here we are, mid-twenties, and the World Cup is happening! We've probably traveled outside North America, which means we "get" that there are more countries beyond Canada and Mexico, and we LIKE the idea of participating with them. Imagine that! To top it off, Team USA is actually quite good! So we watch, and we watch in HUGE numbers. In fact, more people watched World Cup Soccer than watched the NBA finals!

This seems like a good thing, right? People coming together, supporting their country, rallying behind something, and engaging with the world. This is true, of course, unless you're Fox News. In fact, Fox News - who aired many of the games on cable - used the newfound popularity of Soccer to launch an anti-Democratic tirade about how Soccer is part of a broader Democratic Communist plot to turn America into a "World Country," asking poignant questions like "why do we want to play with the rest of the World anyway?" I know what you're thinking - HUH? But it's true, according to Glen Beck (who has literally millions of viewers every night). Now THAT is spin.

I'm gonna go with no. I'm gonna go with the notion that this is good for America, especially in the current context of unemployment, recession, and general sadness. I don't know why Glen Beck is so hateful and so wildly angry at the notion of Americans being proud and patriotic, but I'd like to see him watch this clip and tell me he doesn't feel just the slightest bit of patriotism, pride, and exhilaration. Well done America. WELL DONE!

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