26 June 2010
I'm Ghana Celebrate This Win!
First of all I'm not the least bit patriotic -- actually not true I am a patriotic Finn (I boast dual US and Finnish citizenship). Secondly I do not root for US teams or athletes in any competition. I'm just as happy to see Romanians, Nigerians and Laotians succeed. My third and most important reason for booing the US can be found in the answer to this question: which country represented in the World Cup has the smalled percentage of its population who actually cares about soccer? Of course it's the US. While European, South American, African and Asian nations live and die with the sport, in the US its an afterthought.
For crying out loud the US is dominant enough in so many other sports, let the rest of the world have what they properly call football and Americans call soccer. While any World Cup win, hell even qualifying, can set off wild celebrations in other countries, if the US won the whole damn cup a very large portion of its citizenry would be too busy watching NASCAR to care.
Let's get another thing straight too. Soccer is not about to catch on in the US. I've been hearing that one since I was a kid. It didn't catch on when professional leagues were formed, it didn't catch on when Pele came to play here, it didn't catch on when the U.S. hosted the World Cup and it hasn't caught on as consequence of the youth soccer boom.
Yes, kids play the game in droves, have for decades now. But people do not flock to professional matches here, nor do they closely follow the sport on TV or the internet. Why should they? For spectator sports Americans are saturated with American football (pro and college) basketball (pro and college) baseball, cars going around in circles, even ice hockey, golf (the sporting equivalent of wathcing paint dry) and tennis. The average American has no time for soccer beyond sending their kids to play.
I am resigned to the fact that the U.S. will continue to qualify for the World Cup. I just hope they don't waste any of the rest of the world's time by doing well. Today's Round of 16 result was a great story for Ghana and the continent of Africa. Imagine the joy unrefined in that tiny nation of 19 million. Not only did they reach the quarter finals of the World Cup, but they will be the sole African nation to have done so.