Wild Pitch: The World Cup is a National Event

The World Cup is an event that is not just about sports.  Sports aren’t for everyone but nationality is something that cannot be escaped.  And whether you are an American or an Algerian or are a member of any other nation that has a team playing you have a team to root for.  If you are an Irishman you root for anyone but the British and if you are Polish you root against………well most teams.  It is a sporting event that is meant for the World (hence the name.)

The First round is over and thankfully for us Americans our team will be moving on, and deservedly so.  I’m not a big time US soccer fan.  Hell, I don’t even know five players who play for the national team, but I am very excited to see the excitement that brings this whole country together.  Soccer, being such a biracial and bicultural sport brings the country together to watch, maybe not the American pastime but to watch a game where we can all agree on a team to cheer for.  I love to hear the cheering and the chanting.  “U!  S!  A!  U!  S!  A!”

The type of intense and unified fandom that is being displayed in America during this World Cup is rivaled only by excitement that can be shown during the Olympics every two years.  The difference between the Olympics and the World Cup is that it is excitement for one squad, for one group of players in one sport who will ultimately come back with a trophy or nothing.  It is a great feeling to watch my team, the team that was given to me by birthright play into the second round of such a competitive and hallowed tournament.

Any victory acquired by this US team is not just a victory for the team and is not just a victory for a city or a people.  It is a victory for all Americans.  It is a particularly fulfilling thing to root for a team as a nation.  I being a white American (whose heritage is English and Irish mostly) am able to share this with all Americans whether they be Asian Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans, or any other person who roots each World Cup for the red, white, and blue.  It is something we should cherish every minute of because once our annual national sports begin we will be back hating our rival team’s fans with a passion, but not right now.  As for right now we are able to cheer for our American team together and maybe if we are lucky we can see a couple more wins out of the Yanks.

-AJ (USA Soccer Fan)

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