Crazy crazy crazy. They say champions need to learn to win ugly, well the USMNT suffered hamstring pulls and broken noses in their 2-1 exorcism of the ghosts of Ghana past.
One game down, at least two more. It is crazy how we wait so long for only three guaranteed games. It is a little like the anticipation of Christmas morning complicated by the drama of receiving either veal and tube socks or video games and ponies.
I am sure you are all drunk on victory, highlights and postgame analysis. For something a little different, check out this article from the New York Times. It is of a similar vein to the Wall Street Journal article I posted last week. It seems the “elite” media is obsessing on soccer’s domestic fan culture. Sarah Lyall’s article is more fair than the WSJ’s, but Lyall cannot help but take some potshots:
With professional soccer in America reaching new heights of popularity on the eve of this year’s World Cup, scheduled to start Thursday in Brazil, America’s soccer fans have reached a delicate point in their road from the fringes to the mainstream. It is a matter of style, but also a matter of something deeper that speaks to how they, and the country, define themselves.
Now that they have a fighting chance of turning this great world pursuit into an American pastime, should they behave the way European fans do and risk coming across as pretentious and patronizing, similar to people who lecture their drinking buddies about what grapes were grown in what soil in what year? Or is there some potentially happy way of incorporating European traditions into a new American fan style?
“I’m not going to pretend that we don’t beg, borrow and steal from all cultures,” said Dan Wiersema, the Outlaws’ head of communications (yes, they have a head of communications). “One of the great things about being a soccer fan in the United States, which fits in with America in general, is its diversity. We try to incorporate as much Hispanic and Latino and Anglo and European styles of support as much as we can, because we can learn from cultures that have a lot more experience being soccer fans.”
Kevin O’Brien, 28, a nursing student well into his beer-drinking program before the game began, said: “This is new for us, so obviously we’re taking it from somewhere. I would say that calling it a pitch is not pretentious, it’s respectful. It seems disingenuous to refer to it as a soccer field.”
It is a fine line. One fan’s authenticity is another fan’s pomposity is a third fan’s bewilderment.
A healthy percentage of people in the capacity crowd at EverBank Field here had only a vague idea of what it all meant.
Why the fixation on fan behavior rather than the game itself or the rising popularity of the game? If both the Gray Lady and Mr. Monopoly (to personify dignified publications) are elbowing each other for the same beat, soccer fandom must be in the zeitgeist. And of course Seattle invented how to be an American soccer fan. And the word zeitgeist.
p.s. USA! USA!