Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Conversion To Soccer...

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Talking about soccer (when played on an international scale...) in America is kind of talking about a political party. You either love it or hate it. The rest of the world could care less if American embraces the world's sport. They're having a good time enjoying the game anyway.

Myself, I'm a fan. I'm a fan because I lived in Denmark for a couple of years a couple of decades ago. I happened to live there when the World Cup was taking place. Believe me when I say there's nothing quite like living in a soccer-crazy country during the World Cup. It's simply unbelievable. 

Many Americans don't like the game and I can completely understand why. It can be slow to the point of painfully boring. I could counter by saying that a lot of baseball games aren't exactly brimming with excitement.

But I won't. 

My post is not to convince anyone that soccer should be appreciated or respected. Just as I can't convince anyone to change political parties (people would be a lot happier if they stopped trying to convince each other that their party is superior...). Joining the religion that is soccer fandom must take place on a personal must come from within.

My conversion took place that summer those many years ago. The Danish National Team just beat powerhouse Germany in the group stage. The country literally lost their minds! I was driving in downtown Copenhagen at midnight with Danes everywhere screaming and cheering like they'd won the lottery. I was trying to get through a crowded intersection when a policeman stopped our van so a huge marching band could walk down the middle of the street playing the national anthem of Denmark. After being with those people and experiencing something like that, I knew I could never go back.

Like I said, I'm not here to convert anyone, but I wish Americans could experience that amazing feeling of patriotism and pride for your country when we compete on the world's biggest stage. There's nothing that even comes close. 

The World Cup is back, and unfortunately, Denmark will not be part of the big show. Still, I don't care. Sure I'd enjoy the games more if they had made the cut, but I'm not going to let this little detail ruin my World Cup experience.

 So in the spirit of brotherhood, can't we put aside those petty little problems like nationalized healthcare and the national debt, terrorism and school lunch and just enjoy a bunch of pampered superior athletes flop and cry out in anguish and occasionally play some absolutely beautiful football?

I think we can.

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