Dear 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 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.
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.