I (heart) football (okay, soccer) and completely understand why it’s the world’s most popular sport. It is a great unifier as well as a great equalizer. You can be from the wealthiest country and play or you can be from the poorest country and play. All you need is a ball.
As usual it comes down to dollars and cents. ESPN bought the rights years ago so it’s theirs to do with whatever they wish. But in my view, the MLS should be dogging them to do what they can to promote the sport, for god’s sake, and showing the opening ceremonies of the World Cup is part of that. It would only serve the MLS better.
Things are changing here in the U.S. Since my son’s generation, kids have grown up here playing football (soccer) and it’s now part of their DNA. ESPN would do well to stay on top of it, all of it. How about an ESPN soccer channel? For far too long we’ve been on the outside looking in and it has passed the time for us to join the family. Nine hundred and fifteen million fans can’t be wrong.
I hope Americans will take some time over the next thirty days to watch at least one match. It’s a beautiful game. (Try not to let the sound of swarming bees put you off; the vuvuzelas are a South African thing, not a football thing.)
Interestingly, I found this article today which argues that the US wouldn’t be where it is without England. http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=10884477
So if the US loses, can we blame England too?
No one has ever mistaken me for a sports fan. But when the World Series was on, and when the Super Bowl rolled around, I always became caught up in the hype and excitement. You sort of have to if you don’t want your patriotism and/or masculinity called into question.
It’s no different here. When World Cup season arrives, I generally find myself more interested in soccer (Sorry, I still refer to it as soccer) than I thought I could be. This never happened when I lived in the US. In fact, I can’t recall ever hearing about the World Cup when I lived in the US, even when we hosted it.
These days, that seems to be changing. E-mails from friends and family back home reference the World Cup and indicate that they have not only noticed it, but have the opportunity (and actually took advantage of the opportunity) to watch the games. Still, I have to think, for true die-hard fans such as Melissa, the coverage must appear frustratingly sparse when compared to the 24/7 saturation available in much of the rest of the world.
I have seen Green’s bobble of the ball so many times over the past two days (it is, believe it or not, showing as I write this) I expect I’ll be dreaming about it tonight (as opposed to having nightmares about it, as Mr. Green undoubtedly is).
But gaffs aside, the coverage here is all-inclusive and we have the added advantage (or not, depending on how you feel about soccer) or endless commentary, opinion and prognostication.
I suppose, if you want this sort of coverage in the US, the only way to get it is for the Americans to win the World Cup, then people, and the media, will begin to take a real interest.
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