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Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup Soccer shows US sports ego centrism

    On my recent trip I went into a couple of restaurants that had the World Cup soccer (football?) matches on the big screen TV's.  It wasn't hard to tell by listening to the people watching the matches that they were mostly foreign nationals rooting for their country's team.  The mania that accompanies the World Cup is lost on most Americans.  Watching 60 minutes of any sport where there are only a few goals seems to be too boring for most of us who have little experience with soccer.  Somehow scoring 100+ points in an NBA game or 40 points in an NFL game seems more American.
    I am not sure why British sports have never translated well in the US.  Other countries of the British Empire seem to have continued to play the British sports after they were no longer colonies.  We took the British game of cricket and turned it into baseball.  We took rugby and invented our version of football.
    We claim world championships in our sports that include only American teams.  Wouldn't it be more accurate if the winner of our World Series had to play professional baseball teams from around the world to claim the title of "World Champions?"  Look at how many Major League baseball teams are signing Asian baseball player.  Same for the NBA.   We see how the games of golf and tennis are truly international.  This past year in the French Open tennis match no American even made it to the quarter finals.  This year's Master's Tournament was won by a young German golfer.  
      Sometimes we Americans remind me of Texans.  Texans think of themselves as bigger and better than the rest of us.  They still think the Dallas Cowboys are "America's Team"  even though they are no better than most of the NFL lately.  This Texan delusional image of their superiority doesn't hold up to scrutiny.  This made Rich Perry's travels to other states trying to entice business to move to Texas so laughable.  The only thing that Texas is know for is dirty air and poverty.  Sorry for the diversion on Texas but I think it does show how the rest of the world looks at us in many ways.

    Along the same lines why do we think of ourselves as Americans when the United States is only one of 36 countries in the Americas?  I once referred to myself as an American to someone from Canada and he took offense at my presumption.  He told me that a Canadian would never refer to himself as an American and couldn't understand why we haven't come up with another name for ourselves.  Unfortunately I can't think of an easy term for someone from the United States.  I guess that maybe why we grab just the last part of our name of United States of America.

P.S. 1
    Maybe why American sports (there I go again with the "American" thing) have not translated to other parts of the world like the British sports of soccer, golf and tennis is that our empire building days have not been as long as the British Empire.  Maybe we have to give ourselves another hundred years for the World Series to be like the World Cup.


Anonymous said...

Texas is known for a lot more than dirty air and poverty. Like, Hill Country, the Gulf Coast, the Alamo, the Johnson Space Center, oil, three of the ten largest cities in the US. Oh, and being a state that granted in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants more thanTEN YEARS before Maryland.

Also, baseball is a global sport. It used to be an Olympic sport before drug-testing politics intervened. There are Major League Baseball players from 20 different countries other than the US. There is a true "world baseball championship" held very two years that the US rarely wins. (The Dominican Republic and Japan have dominated it.)

duanestclair said...

You are right about the Hill Country in Texas. I was there once when the Bluebells were in bloom and it was beautiful.