The word patriotism should elicit names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Paul Revere; it should conjure images of tea swimming in the Boston Harbor or of the 50-something men that signed a declaration in response to British aggression. What it should not do is recreate images of the beer that was spilled on the waitress at your local watering hole, or the chili-cheese fries stain that will never wash out. However, with the 2014 World Cup in full swing, that not so distant memory may be you at your most patriotic.
Over the past two weeks, the soccer gods have brought us both elation and disappointment with a victory over our World Cup nemesis, Ghana, a draw against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, and a loss against the Goliath of international soccer, Germany. Yet, in spite of this roller coaster of emotions, we, as Americans, are much more united.
It’s odd how soccer, the most un-American sport, can bring our country together. Not even football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, the big four of our sporting world, can create the kind of unity we’re seeing now.
Sure, the Olympics could be a contender as the most patriotic sporting event, but with different people cheering on our compatriots in different events, true unity is hard to find.
On the other hand, the U.S. men’s national team has found its way onto television screens across the country.
Sports bars are packed to the brim with soccer jerseys bearing the names Dempsey, Altidore, and Bradley. The red, white, and blue drips down the painted faces of the most avid fans. And American flags are both literally and figuratively draped across the proud shoulders of men, women, and children alike.
All across the country, in places like Chicago, Kansas City, and New York, the streets have been inundated with fanatics of the game. But it’s not just the American Outlaws that are out there chanting, “Oh when the Yanks go marching in.” Those who have never laid eyes on a soccer match are now getting into the rhythm of this Brazilian World Cup. Tom Dart, a local Houstonian writer for The Guardian wrote, “There is nothing new in fans across America uniting to watch and talk about the World Cup, but anecdotal evidence and television ratings suggest that they are doing so now more than ever.”
While World Cup fever is spreading across the United States and around the world, many capitalized on the World Cup frenzy, including online casinos such as CO have released several World Cup themed slot games. After all, gambling is synonymous with World Cup and the sport in general.
So what’s causing us to bleed the stars and stripes for our U.S. men’s national team? Simply put, we’re the underdog. And there’s nothing that Americans love more than to see the underdog succeed.
Unfortunately, most critics don’t see us having much of a fighting chance in this tournament. Even Jurgen Klinsmann, the team’s head coach, stated in a press conference that “it is not realistic to expect the United States to win the World Cup.”
Nevertheless, our unity and love for country has been undeniably present when our heroes don the majestic jersey for the beautiful game.
Now that the World Cup is coming close to an end and the “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” chants are fading into memory, will the pride in our team and our football fall back into the dark and unknown corners of our bars and pubs? I hope not.
Regardless of the outcome, we can be sure that in four years America will stand united behind our team once again.