Thursday, July 03, 2014
World Cup purity
I take no pride in telling you this. Think of it as confession of sin. I have not watched a minute of the Team USA's play in the World Cup. Seriously, I wanted to, but not enough, I guess. Real desire changes lives, but my desire didn't even change my schedule. I told myself the U.S. was playing and I ought to watch, but I never did--I did other things. Which means, basically, that I didn't want to watch them as much as I thought I did.
Honestly, I wish I had. I would have liked be part of a national phenomenon, something wondrously sweet in this sharply divided nation of ours (I think red and blue states all tuned in, didn't they?). My son-n-law's shot at Ann Coulter, posted here last week, was on the mark. Of course, I thought she was nuts long before her daffy duck cheap shot at soccer.
She's not crazy. She makes a fortune at what she does, and got herself all over the news for the column. But she and Rush, O'Reilly and Hannity --and Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert--are all, first and foremost, entertainers. If they weren't, they'd run for office and spread their gospel far-er and wide-r. They're in it for the cash or the applause, a little of both maybe--all of 'em.
I'm not a bit-time soccer fan, really, but years ago I happened to be in the Netherlands at the time of the European Cup, when Spain beat someone (not Holland, as I remember) right there. It was wild in Amsterdam, but I suppose that goes without saying. There is nothing like it in Orange City.
That year, when I came back to the states, I watched the World Cup almost religiously. Whenever the Dutch team played, I wandered over to the college, where a big screen (one of few back then) was set up in a community room full of people dressed as if it were pheasant opener just across the river in South Dakota. Loved it.
This year, I just didn't take the time.
No matter. I loved the vigor of the fans, loved it that Ann Coulter's stick-in-the-mud American exclusivism got sneers from Colorado Springs to San Fran. Look at the picture up top--there have to be Republicans in that bunch, have to be Democrats too.
I loved it because none of Team USA's heroes are household names in this country, even though all of them are stars and some are even wealthy. Professional sports tire me (except the Packers, whose righteousness is proved by the fact that they are still owned by the community--shoot, even our banker has a team share framed on his wall).
The NCAA is filthy rich, but it still flaunts the absurdity of there being a "student athlete." Colleges and universities are slaves to their Athletic Departments (upper case, you see) and the coaches who get all the best salaries. An uncle of mine once spent a year as interim head of Indiana University. He told me it wouldn't have been a bad job if it hadn't have been for Bobby Knight. Once upon a time, bowl games were named after fruit or flowers or cotton on New Year's Day. Now it's Doritoes or Fed Ex or Chick-fil-a.
I know what Romney thinks: "corporations are people too, man." Remember that one? Well, bullshit. If corporations were "people, too, man," all our BMWs would have their own in-house elevators, and income disparity in America wouldn't be going through the roof. Give me a break.
I suppose now that the entire nation did a stadium wave at the World Cup, we'll make gods of the players too. Tim Howard's already on his way, I guess. Burger King or Home Depot will take over, and it won't be Team USA anymore but team Team Pampers or something. That's the way it goes in America, right? Where two or three are gathered, someone's going to make a buck.
I don't know. From the outside, from someone who saw the roaring crowds only on national news, I thought America's chapter in the World Cup story was somehow pure, and there's so little that's pure these days in the great U. S. of A.
What's more, we lost. Wish it weren't true, but we did. On a good day, American exclusivism, a top notch German coach, and a few good breaks will barely get us past Ghana. Most Americans don't have a clue where on earth Belgium is. Get this: on Saturday, the Netherlands, which fits between Sioux City, Iowa, and Wilmer, Minnesota, plays Costa Rica, which fits between Chamberlain, SD, and Des Moines, Iowa.
Seriously? And we're out? That's just not American.
I like that.
I'd have liked to win, quite frankly; but we didn't.
Nope. And that's fine too.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 7:05 AM