Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

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Home · Articles · News · Sports · Our sudden love affair with...
. . . .

Our sudden love affair with soccer

George Foster - June 28th, 2010
Admit it. Landon Donovan’s winning goal in this year’s World Cup game
against Algeria is the catalyst that finally showed you the light. You
have become the latest cynical soccer observer transformed into an
avid fan of the sport. Right?
Donovon’s historic score has blasted soccer past baseball and hockey
in popularity, a little closer to basketball and football in the
American consciousness.
How do I know this to be true? Actually, the acid test is in - I am a
recent convert myself. I have always followed soccer... if it is a
World Cup year and if the U.S. is playing – only a week or two every
four years at best.
After the Donovon goal, though, my life will never be the same. Soon,
I will be purchasing my own South African vuvuzela to help my family
awake each morning now that we have become accustomed to the horn’s
wailing beginning at 7:30 a.m. with the start of each game on TV.
Undoubtedly, spare time will now be devoted to watching hours of these
games while continually singing and waving my team colors between rare
goals. Kicking my old soccer ball around the yard (if the dogs
haven’t eaten it by now) will become a primary sports outlet,
replacing the therapeutic nine-iron shots at home and pitching from
the stretch with a phantom ball in the mirror.
I know, I know... lets not get carried away. So-called experts have
been predicting such a change in U.S. sporting preferences for
decades, only to see soccer evaporate from the radar until the next
World Cup revival.
The main reason this win should bring millions of our country’s sports
fans stampeding to soccer can be boiled down to one fact: the historic
game against Algeria had an All-American finish that we can all relate
to – similar to the hockey Miracle on Ice in the 1980 Olympics. The
winning goal was scored in the final seconds of the game, snatching
victory over Algeria from the jaws of defeat (or rather a tie).
Donovon’s goal allowed the U.S. to move on into the next round, rather
than leaving South Africa early with bitter disappointment.
If we don’t understand the passion expressed by the rest of the planet
for soccer, as Americans, we all know the feeling of “us against the
world.” Our players have felt the scorn from fans of the soccer-crazed
countries, laughing at our past futility in their favorite sport.
When two important U.S. goals were disallowed earlier in Cup games
because of dubious officiating calls, we had to suspect an
international conspiracy to keep the Yankees down. The world’s soccer
powers would be trembling if they thought U.S. success meant the same
resources devoted to football and basketball would now be allocated to
soccer.
Get used to it, mates, the USA has arrived. Against all odds
(including the referees stacked against us), we have moved on to the
second round.
There can be no question that more Americans are paying attention to
the World Cup than in previous years. Now that you and I are onboard
with soccer, lads, let’s get together sometime to discuss the merits
of Rolando vs. Messi over a cup of tea.

 
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