In the meantime, I seem to be the only one of my Facebook friends that regularly posts something about the World Cup in their status updates. The only time this changes is when the US team plays, which saddens me. It also strengthens my resolve to never cheer for the US team. Now, before you start calling me un-American or a traitor, allow me to explain. I am an American, I was born and raised here, and I think the country as a whole is pretty darned nifty. However, I find the attitude of a lot of Americans regarding sports to be distasteful at best. They’re just really arrogant about it.
Here is a game that the rest of the world embraces with both arms, but the US looks down its nose at. Why? It’s like it’s the red-headed step child here, coming in a distant sixth among fans of professional sports. The US doesn’t even call it by the same name – here its soccer, not football, because we already have a different game called football. Never mind that football/soccer has actually been around a lot longer, here it had to be given a whole new name. This strikes me as flat-out ridiculous. Are Americans just that stupid that they can’t tell the difference? Is the populace that easily confused? Of course not!
Then there’s the fact that it’s not even an accurate name. The game that the NFL plays has a ball that is barely touched by feet, in fact only one player ever actually kicks it. ONE. Why name it “foot” ball if the feet of the regular players never even touch the ball? Then there’s the point that the US can’t seem to be bothered to call it “American Football” to separate it. Australia also has a second game called football, but at least they call it Aussie Rules Football. Not here. Somebody in this country insisted on giving true football a completely separate name. (By the way, for those who don’t know, Aussie Rules is sort of like a combination between soccer and American football, LOL)
Making matters worse is when American sports have a playoff tournament and call it the “World Championship”, but no other nation takes part in it. Nobody but the US takes part in the baseball championships, ditto for football and basketball. The only popular US sport that even comes close to a true “world” championship is hockey, when Canada plays against the NHL. For accuracy’s sake, that could be called the North American Championships, if only Mexico took part in it. Since they don’t, it’s really just a faceoff between the US and Canada. Two countries do not a world make.
The point is nobody else in the world wants to play in US-based championships. This outlook is pretty constant too, that is until the Olympics rolls around. That’s another once-every-four-years event where I refuse to cheer for the home team. The American athletes in both individual and team sports are invariably gracious and accommodating, true sports-men and –women. It’s everybody else that annoys me. The spectators, the bloggers, the reporters, the TV commentators, the celebrities, the water cooler coaches…they all get upset whenever an American team/athlete loses. Even when the error is clearly on the shoulders of the athlete(s), American audiences erupt into temper tantrums that’d rival a toddler’s. It’s pathetic. To be fair, other countries have the same issue (rabid English soccer fans come to mind), but here it's different - it's almost like being an American means you're entitled to win. Now that's arrogance. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
Sorry to break it to the USA-all-the-way crowd, but the US simply isn’t the best in everything, nor should they be automatically considered as such. The US has to earn that title. The World Cup and the Olympics force Americans to accept this fact, and my guess is most of them don't like that. The World Cup actually does this more effectively because it’s only one sport, with no distractions. The World Cup reminds Americans that they are clearly not the top dog in everything, and there’s a lot more people on the planet than just those in the USA. Having their noses rubbed into the truth is something I think needs to happen more often, it might prevent them from being so arrogant. It’s not by always winning that you learn how you handle the rough stuff of life. Losing really does build character. Besides, US teams/athletes have enough supporters anyway – why not lend my support to someone who really needs it? I’m American, after all, and we’re always on the side of the underdog. J