A merica, we are missing out. Right now, one of the largest sporting events in the world is happening in Brazil. Thirty-two countries, including ours, have sent a team of their best soccer players to play in one country.
From Australia to Africa, droves of people have made the trek to Brazil to see their team face off with rival countries.
In other nations, colossal metropolises grind to a halt during a game. There’s nobody on the roads and nobody at work, because everybody is watching in person or on their televisions.
Yet, for some reason, Americans seem largely uncaring.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some soccer fans in America and I know they are extremely excited about the World Cup, but I am talking to the average American — the middle of the bell curve.
It’s fine that America does not have the love for soccer that other countries have. We do have some pretty awesome other sports that we obsess over — football, baseball and hockey to name a few.
I’ll be honest, I do not think soccer is a fantastic sport to watch. The low scoring games and ties leave me sometimes bored and disappointed. Any other month I would watch another sport over soccer.
But there is something so exciting about world sporting events. Countries facing off against countries. It creates a world dialogue unlike any other spectacle. Sports talk is one of the best forms of small talk and it translates to the international forum. Instead of friends ribbing each other during rivalry games, we now have people from one country talking mostly-friendly trash with people from another. It is a worldly bond formed through a simple game of kicking a ball — how cool is that?
Not to mention the sense of camaraderie within a country.
I love to look at my team, donning that beautiful red, white and blue and watching them take on another country in a physical match, like a war campaign without the violence. It is one of the only times I feel patriotic.
My love for the Olympics comes from the same reasoning. We have the chance to root for our country. It’s a special experience.
If you look at news stories about the World Cup you will see the patriotism: Brazilians covered head to toe in yellow and green; Mexicans with the trio of white, green and red; and so on and so forth.
In today’s world, it can sometimes be hard to root for the red, white and blue. There are talks every day about the wrongdoings of our government and the terrible decisions and mistakes it has made. It is enough to make you want to put your head down when you hear the word “America.”
But during the World Cup, when you watch the American team run onto the field, when you hear the American national anthem blare through the Brazilian stadium, you can hold your head up high — you can feel proud to be an American (as the song goes), because on the field all the politics melt away. It’s all about the friendly competition and pure athleticism.
Don’t take that for granted, and support our team.
Derek Gartee is a State News reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.