Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bob Lobel: America's Fragile Relationship With Soccer

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

The bad news is that the relationship between the rooting public of the United States of America and its national soccer team has never been more fragile.

The good news is that the relationship between the rooting public of the United States of America and its national soccer has never been more fragile.

The point being, there actually is a relationship. They are dating, kinda. 

The team is in the speed dial of sports fans and could be erased or used at any given moment. Any relationship is better than the one that existed on Monday. The total sum of American sports fans’ knowledge of their national team was the vision of Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm, the latter of whom, ironically, increased her popularity by marrying some obscure baseball player. 

Not anymore! 

How far this new-found relationship goes depends on what kind of pitch is delivered (see what I did there?). Here's how it went in the last 48 hours. We were mildly curious as to what might happen, besides the same old boredom associated with world class floppers, who at times are shown different colored cards for who knows whatever reason. 

Terrible officiating is almost a proverb in our fascination with sports, so this was nothing new. What was new was the good old American speed providing the instant gratification we all have learned to seek through our other teams.

Here in Boston we are very much blessed with that. But onward to chronicle this new “potential” love affair.  Clint Dempsey is a new household name since it took less than a minute for a score. Good old fashioned American lovemaking (see what I did there?). 

But the coup da grace was the next 90 minutes… It was made to order for American satisfaction. The opposition scores to tie it with little time remaining, and just when you think you’ve wasted your time and plan to move on, the red, white and blue pulls it out with a header.

Infatuation 2, indifference 1. 

That’s a big win for a new love interest.  There will be a second date. The American sporting public will claim they always had posters of Clint Dempsey in the bedroom since they were little kids. If nothing else, fragile as it may be, there is a spark, a connection, and yes, even a relationship we can call our own. At least for the moment, one game has exposed the exposure. 

It was a noble, thrilling and heartwarming goal! 

See what I did there?

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