Wednesday, 16 June 2010
With the 2010 FIFA World Cup having only been in session for less than a week, bars are filled to capacity with people in various national jerseys, conversations around the water cooler only revolve around the physical conditions of Tim Howard, and Facebook and Twitter are flooded with the latest updates about team standings. When did Americans become soccer fans?
It's understandable to have national pride during international events. It is truly one of the best ways to unify a country. With a country such as America that is so diverse in its ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds, an event like the FIFA World Cup is one of the few times we can all be content with being simply American. It seems, however, that national pride is not enough. Americans become some of the most zealous soccer fans during the World Cup. Americans may not be on the same rowdy level as English or German fans, but they definitely behave like they've been following the sport all their lives during this time of the year. When in reality, soccer doesn't have nearly as big as a following as other sports like baseball, basketball, and American football.
So why does the World Cup trigger this need to prove our interests in soccer? Maybe it's just the international platform, since soccer is also an Olympic sport and most Americans tend to focus on gymnastics, swimming, or track during the Olympic games. Maybe it's because soccer is a sport Americans don't have a real dominance in and the likelihood of placing in the World Cup is slim. Taking an active role in supporting the American team shows that we at least care about our team. It's also possible that many Americans use this event as an excuse to show off their continental knowledge about the other countries and reinforce their belief that Europeans think they're simply better at everything.
What is your take on this sudden interest in soccer? Do you really watch it for the game or is it just trendy to talk about the FIFA World Cup?