Tuesday, July 1, 2014

You Didn't Watch?

You didn’t watch the United States Men’s National Soccer Team play Belgium in the 2014 World Cup round of sixteen today?

You couldn’t find a bar or restaurant or friend’s place with a television tuned to the game. What’s that? You say you couldn’t be bothered. Too bad, the US men played their hearts out.

I’ll bet the truth is you took the advice of someone babbling incoherently on the radio. Advice which sounded something like this: “Soccer is only popular once every four years. People are only watching because national pride is on the line. Soccer players aren’t real athletes, no one is trying to decapitate them or beat them until they’re unconscious. Just ignore the World Cup, it will be over soon.” That is the kind of opinion which led to you skipping this...

Our goalie, Tim Howard, in what has to be considered one of the greatest displays of goalkeeping in the history of the World Cup, set the modern-day record for saves with 16. Red-blooded, intelligent defending from players like DaMarcus Beasley and Omar Gonzalez produced clearances off the goal line and last-second tackles to save sure goals. A nineteen-year-old named Green came into the game with the United States down 2-0 in overtime. Surely the youngest squad member was only inserted into the game to get experience for future World Cups? Surely, young Mr. Green couldn’t lift the dragging bodies and souls of his teammates from the brink of despair?

You know, you who chose to believe the haters, he did. And for ten glory-filled minutes those battle-worn, red, white and blue clad warriors climbed aboard Julian Green’s slim shoulders and somehow found untapped wells of energy they never knew they possessed. Men like Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley did what every great player does, no matter the circumstance, they set their own ego’s aside willingly and took their cues from the one amongst them capable of leading one last charge. That one who lit the fuse was the nineteen-year-old...Mr. Green.

In the end, the United States Men’s National Team lost a heartbreaking World Cup game to a Belgium side stocked with talent and not a little heart of their own. In the end, you, sir, because you let the most fearful in our midst convince you to skip the World Cup, you, sir, missed some of the finest competition ever seen.

Are you sure you couldn’t be bothered? I don’t believe that. I think you did what we have all done at one time or another. You let your own fear, fear of something new, get the better of you.

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