World Cup Bandwagon a Must Ride

Greatest sporting event in the world

 

By Kevin Meagher

 

 

           It saddens me to think about the Milwaukeeans who sit at home watching Tiger Woods at the US Open, the Milwaukeeans who are still wasting their time supporting a dead beat baseball team, and the Milwaukeeans who have no idea what a vuvuzela is. The greatest sporting event in the world is going on, and some Milwaukeeans are still refusing to jump on the bandwagon and celebrate soccer’s most prestigious tournament. The World Cup is not only fascinating for die hard fans but it is also a call for celebration, something Milwaukeeans can value. It is an event that is much more deserving of our attention than anything else in sports right now, and if you haven’t yet, it’s not to late to buy yourself a vuvuzela horn and let your soccer freak flag fly.

           Now I could preach about the rest of the world’s love for soccer and the U.S.’s inability to fully embrace the sport, but anyone who follows sports has heard that before. I mean, we’re an independent nation and we do things are own way. Who cares what the rest of the world is doing? We’ve got football, baseball and basketball right? Everyone knows soccer is just a kid’s sport in the U.S. Kicking a ball around just doesn’t hold that same level of sophistication and maturity as say, hitting a ball with a bat or trying to tackle a guy with a ball, or throwing a ball at a hoop. Last time I checked this nation was a baseball nation, or a football nation, or something like that.

           In all seriousness though, are Americans just bitter because the rest of the world found soccer first? Are we too proud to accept that we’re behind the trends in sports? Who knows? But the time for excuses is over. The most compelling sporting event in the world is going on and it’s time we showed some excitement. Let’s face it, the tournament only comes around once every 4 years, and the closest thing to an overpowering Yankee or Laker dynasty, is the Brazil national team. Brazil has won 5 world cup titles. The Yankees have won 27 World Series rings and the Lakers 17 NBA championship titles. Not to mention the World Cup athletes are not being bought by whichever nation has the most money. They are representing their countries with pride and for mere pocket change compared to NFL, NBA, and MLB athletes in the U.S. There is something pure about World Cup competition. Every fan has a feeling that there team could do something special, and it happens inevitably every Cup. When 74th ranked New Zealand holds the defending champions Italy to a 1-1 draw, you know that anything is possible. I mean really anything. We’re talking about Kevin Garnett “ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE!” times 10. Any sports fan can appreciate that.

           Not only are the upsets a great storyline but the level of skill requires a mix of genius and ferocity that is distinct to the sport. Sure, critics might complain about the long low scoring games and dangerously passionate fans, but their arguments are petty for anyone who has ever fully indulged in a match. To fully give yourself to a game is like watching a classic Albert Hitchcock movie. There isn’t a lot of senseless gore and comic book violence like other slasher films, but there is a growing intensity and suspense familiar to anyone who’s seen his films. The longer a soccer game goes scoreless, the more meaningful every play becomes. The suspense escalates with every missed shot or bad pass until each touch of the ball becomes the most important play in the game. Eventually, when that deciding goal is scored you’ll find yourself having been so tightly wound by the suspense that you’re helpless to an inevitable scream to release the tension. “GOOOOOAAAAL!!!!” if your team has scored, or “NOOOOOOO!!” if your team has been scored upon. It is the definition of fanatical at its best.

           It’s no wonder why soccer fans are known for their psychotic devotion to the game. With such high intensity matches it’s difficult to not want to run wild in the streets. We don’t necessarily need violent riots to celebrate the World Cup in Milwaukee, but we would certainly be missing out on an incredible celebration to let the Cup pass us by. Sure the American team might not make it deep into the tournament, but that’s no excuse not to watch. It’s our patriotic duty to support this young, energizing team. Even if soccer has never been this country’s past time there is still an opportunity to share in mild or extreme passion with our fellow statesmen. Anyone who has been to a Milwaukee pub during a U.S. World Cup match knows the electric charge that inspires the atmosphere. It’s more exciting than the super bowl, or the World Series, or the Olympics. It’s the World Cup and it’s a call to celebration.

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