12 June 2010 U.S.-England
June 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
So I wrote a couple hundred words trying to tie today’s game with the 23rd anniversary of Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” speech. It was overwrought. I talked about the watershed moment of this game, I wrote about that glorious future where, if the U.S. wins, soccer is granted full-citizenship in America and capitalism and freedom shall sweep across Eastern Europe and all the way to China.
I deleted those words because they were shallow and weak and I couldn’t shake the feeling that, if the U.S. wins, they would look too much like the rough draft of Rick Reilly or Mitch Albom or some other shit-peddler. I also deleted them because it’s not true that, if the U.S. wins, soccer will explode into a permanently popular sport. We’ve heard that story too often.
I can’t remember where I read it, but someone said “Only terrible things happen quickly.” I liked it the moment I read it. Whether it be the Powerball winners who wish they’d never received $300m or the Vegas weddings that last 28 hours, people realize that nothing truly good happens overnight. The same is true of soccer in America– I don’t want overnight success, I want this to be a long slow growth. I wrote that last sentence completely with my head, and my heart was screaming to the contrary.
So ignore the dichotomous “Soccer will explode”/”Soccer will never take hold” positions. Cheer your ass off during today’s game, but don’t attach any existential scale to it. Today’s game is a big deal, but only because if we can get 1 or 3 points, moving out of group play becomes much more possible, which puts us another step closer to being World Cup champions. It’s not a big deal because if we lose soccer will be damned to the minor leagues for another few decades, and it’s not a big deal because if we lose the kids across America will sell their shin guards and buy shoulder pads and helmets.
Don’t put any more on this game than is already there. It’s plenty enough as it is.