Thoughts on the World Cup

World Cup 2014 LogoDear US Men’s National Team “Soccer Fans” on my Facebook feed,

Everything was fine until you showed up. Really, it was. I could cheer on my team in relative peace and quiet, free from threats and trolling. Absolutely nobody cared.

But now you are here, and all of that is gone. Now, you think you own me.

Let’s get one thing straight: I owe you neither an explanation nor an apology. In fact, I don’t owe you anything. But you seem to think I do.

Fact: I’ve been cheering for my team since 1994.

Fact: You’ve been cheering for your team since June 16.

Now, if this were any other sport, you’d have some very pointed remarks if I suddenly switched teams just because one of them was doing better than expected. You’d say that I was a bandwagoner or a fair-weather fan. Profanity might be involved at some point.

There’s only one American team I cheer for in any capacity: the UConn basketball team. I’ve cheered for them since I was old enough to know that college basketball was a thing. I can only imagine what you’d say to me if I started cheering for Duke or UNC or Kansas or Kentucky just because UConn was having a bad year.

In the same way, there’s only one team I cheer for in the World Cup: Deutschland. That’s Germany for those of you new to the game. Oh wait, that’d be all of you. And that was never a problem. At least, it wasn’t ‘til you came along.

You see, for years you didn’t care about soccer. I would argue that you still don’t care, but that’s not the point. You didn’t care because America sucked. And you didn’t care about America’s suckiness because soccer wasn’t an “American Sport.” You didn’t care about soccer because you couldn’t gloat. America wins the so-called “World Series” and “Super Bowl” simply because other countries don’t show up. Oh, all right, I know Canada may be involved in the World Series. I honestly don’t care for either baseball or football. At least now you might know the difference between football and futbol.

But now you care. So when you post a status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, you get dozens – maybe even hundreds – of likes and retweets and support.

When I post the same in support of my team, I get things like

Turn in your America card.

You’re being unpatriotic. You know that, right?

You’re dumb.

You’re a moron.

You’re out of control.

You should be deported.

You’re a Nazi.

If you support another country the government should give you a one way ticket to live in that country since you love it so much.

USA! USA! USA!

And these are just the ones I can repeat.

I could counter your arguments with logical, thought out responses. However, that would imply they are worthy of debate. Suffice it to say your comments prove you know nothing of the sport or of history.

I don’t go trolling you every time you post something about your team; why must you do it to me? Let the score speak for itself. After all, that kind of is the point.

You know, I don’t really care that you support the USA. That’s fine. My friends support England and France and Brazil and Chile. One or two of them might even support the USA.

What I do care about is the fact that you’re bringing the traditional American arrogance and superiority complex to a sport that you haven’t cared about in decades, if at all. I can only imagine the terror you will unleash upon the world should you actually win.

Now knock it off before you ruin it for everyone.

Sincerely,

Me

Author’s Note

I realize that not all American supporters act like this. Some have supported the team since day one. That’s great; it’s what the sport needs.

This letter is written from my personal experience and is directed at those on my Facebook feed (and those that act like them) and not necessarily to all American supporters in general.

This post is being published as part of Writing 101. Challenge 19: Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on the World Cup

  1. I can understand your frustration and anger about the remarks made to you but you’re making the very same mistake with your comments. While I understand why and where your comments are coming from, they’re also not totally fair. I am 32 years old and I care very much about the sport, my team (which happens to be the USA) and it has nothing to do with JUST this World Cup. I’ve been following the sport virtually my entire life. I can tell you right now that yes, there are some bandwagoners for sure (as happens with all sports from where I sit), but there is also a very solid group of fans out there and to make sweeping generalizations about all of us is almost as bad as the comments made to you (which I do agree are heinous and completely uncalled for). Is soccer as big of sport here as it is in Latin countries or Europe? No. But it is growing and legitimately I may add. The sport is more well known and more well supported here in this country than in 1994 when the US hosted the World Cup – again I can say this because I’ve been watching since then if not before. As a long time player (I played for at least 13 years) I watched how little attention it got in this country and how frustrating it was to see that so many people couldn’t understand how beautiful this game is. How much of the support now is mostly about pride versus the game? I don’t know. I don’t know that it should matter (other than putting down others just because – again I don’t agree with that either). I realize your experience is different than my own but that’s my point. You need to take into consideration others’ experiences just as much before making such pointed comments also. I support the USA Men’s Team – yes in part due to my national pride (there’s nothing wrong with that by the way) and because we do actually have a good team. Do I realistically see them winning the tournament? No. We’re not there….yet. I do believe this country will get there as each generation of players continues to improve from the days of Tommy Meola, Alexi Lalas, Tab Ramos and others to Casey Keller, Pablo Masteroni, Cobi Jones, Brian McBride and others, to the most recent iterations that included Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Jermaine Jones, Tim Howard, etc., this team simply keeps getting better. They keep giving us more and more reasons to follow along and to be supportive. Just a note of interest – I may support the US but I’m also just as excited to cheer on other teams such as Chile, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Colombia (as examples) for the simple fact they are underdogs, are playing very well and haven’t ever gotten this far before. I also really loved watching the Socceroos (The Australians) because they played a good tournament (well I didn’t see the Spain match so I can’t speak to that one) and I love watching great soccer regardless of the country. That is why I love the World Cup and this sport!

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    1. Thanks for your reply. Honestly and truthfully, you are the first USA supporter that I’ve had contact with that supported the team before they were good. Good for you!

      I had considered adding something to the effect that this is not indicative of all USA supporters; in fact, I think I’ll go back and edit some things.

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      1. Perhaps I’m biased but I’ve always thought they were good lol…just not “worldly” good. 🙂 I suppose I get too “in the moment” and can be a bit defensive (though in my defense it was always my favorite position when I played haha!), but it’s not without reason. I do feel badly that you’ve had to encounter such nasty comments. I’m all for national pride but responsibly. Good luck in the tournament!

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  2. If I was with you, sitting in the Biergarten having a beer with you…I would just stand up and give you a hug. I am living your hell as well, but in Germany. I would like to say that I am fully assimilated, but we have very few German friends, so most friends I have are other expats I work with. I met them downtown for public viewing of the first Germany game (#GERPOR). I wore my trikot. I sang with the crowd. “Auf gehts Deutschland schieß ein Tor….” My American friends at the end of the game said “What is wrong with you? Do you hate America?”

    Um hello! WE ARE IN GERMANY WATCHING A GERMANY GAME! And no I don’t hate America, I just have no idea who their players are because you see….I live in Germany and I watch German football. You know…I’m sure in your year here you have heard of something that sounds like Bundesliga?

    Ok, so the guy was probably drunk, but… Deutschland is now my home. Since our move and WM 2010, they have been my team.

    And I love that football is beginning to take hold in America. I love that Klinsi is trying to take them further than they have been able to achieve before. We have to remember we love a good underdog story. Everyone gets on the band wagon for the team that seems to have crawled their way to the top. Even I am a bit excited to see them go further. As long as there are no more Germany US matches. It was tough, I felt so divided. I wrote on my blog about the pre-game torture.

    Keep cheering for Özil, Schweini, Klose, Lahm, Khedira, Müller, Götz, Boateng, Neuer, Podolski, Höwedes, etc.

    I raise my Maß to you. You are not un-American, you just love football.

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  3. I think I made it on a blog….

    I value your opinion, I do think it is wrong and shortsighted but thats ok. I did write this long rebuttal and clicked deleted due to my hatred of internet arguing and the idea that face to face debate is so much more glorious and pleasing.

    …until that day. Ill just keep reading 🙂

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