I’ve got World Cup fever and the only cure is, well, there appears to be no cure.
I am liking the ish out of this World Cup for the first time ever in my life. However, I appear to like the World Cup for reasons that are the opposite of why other people like it because that’s just how I roll.
I like that the US isn’t a world soccer power. We’re so dominant and arrogant in just about everything else on the world stage that I like that we aren’t a top soccer country. I like that we weren’t supposed to escape the Group of Death. I like, even more, that we did because if there’s one thing we like in the US, it’s the underdog. I like that we’ll, hopefully, win at least one of these elimination games, then bow out and leave the dogfight for the World Cup trophy to the real soccer countries.
I like that the World Cup emphasizes how far MLS has to go before the league is in the upper echelon. There are certainly players in MLS that make buckets of money, but I make more than many players. (How many of us can say that about any other sport?) Those are the players I want to root for. I feel like there’s a gritty quality, a love of the beautiful game. I feel like when I’m cheering for them, that I’m cheering with them. We’re on the same level; I’m not a fan who pays for their lavish lifestyle, I’m a fan cheering them on to their best.
I like how US fans cheer for the US, then cheer for the national teams of their heritage. I love the idea of the United States as a melting pot where world cultures and languages and people mesh into one. I love the pride of heritage and sharing of different ideas that happens when we open ourselves up to them.
I realize these things are a brief snapshot in time. The US Men’s National Team will improve and become a World Soccer Power. The MLS will improve, salaries will rise, and players will become entitled twits. Racial violence, mistrust, and phobia will continue. That’s just how people and the world are.
But this is a moment in a life that rushes by so quickly and trods over the little things that give a person hope in humanity.
I’m just savoring this moment, and enjoying the World Cup for the first time in my life.
Just let me like my likes!