It’s here again! I so enjoy the camaraderie, the national pride, the world spectacle of World Cup. And I, like many folks, wonder why the sport as a whole hasn’t caught on more in this country. My favorite World Cup experience was in 1998, when I spent the summer in Ecuador. I remember watching intense games with my Ecuadorian friends who just couldn’t peel themselves away from soccer news for a month. And this was a year that Ecuador didn’t even qualify! Even in 2002, I remember traveling to Spain in the fall and people were still bitter about their poor performance in that year’s Cup. In Ecuador in particular there was a sense of national importance, and of worldly importance, that seemed to wash across the South American country. Even halfway around the world from France, where the games were held, entire neighborhoods erupted in cheer at the opportunity to behold the grand stage of World Cup. The intensity of international interest in World Cup is unrivaled by any American sporting event. And it’s something I wish we had more of. (Don’t get me wrong–I love baseball, which is still my favorite sport to follow. And nobody outside of a handful of countries cares about baseball.)
I just read an article about American fans needing more of a history–in a sense, needing to know how to cheer together. Have a read and leave a comment with your thoughts. And happy World Cup watching!