The way we advanced – by a razor’s edge – helps to keep fans grounded, while at the same time experiencing an emotional reaction so rare in all of sports. This is good for the game! It is this experience that could help push some people from average fan to passionate, or from casual observer to a regular. That’s progress.
Hopefully your heart rate was through the roof! Did you have that sinking feeling of despair when all seemed lost, only to break out screaming in the 91st minute? Or how about that soothing, calm serenity that comes right after the nerves are relaxed? Hell, maybe after all the euphoria, you might even have the urge to give the finger to critics (me being one of them).
This is necessary for soccer in our country! We need that passion! Three games and out would not have generated this.
But Now … Now I Fear the Worst!
I whole-heatedly believe that if the US goes too far in this cup it will do more damage than good. Actually, I fear it may be devastating.
Looking at the bracket, the road to the semi-final is quite accessible. The US will not run into any of the “Great Whites”. They have a date with Ghana and then the winner of Uruguay vs South Korea. While I believe the Ghana game will be tough and Uruguay (my presumed quarterfinalist) is superior, victories are definitely not out of the question.
While the fan-base would jump for joy, I think US Soccer will be set back by a decade!
You see, all the problems you or I may talk about and witness at the youth, college, or professional level will essentially cease to be seen as such. Quite the opposite, the existing establishment and philosophies in all its forms will be reinforced. After all, this is what propelled us to this one World Cup success, right?
Enjoy the Ride
In any case, congratulations to all the true fans out there! The way I see it, you’re in a win-win situation now: one short term, one long term.
If the team continues to advance, we become more passionate and the sport might receive more attention and more respect. What happens down the road doesn’t effect the here and now. You want the emotional ride to continue! You want success now damn it! And that’s as it should be!
If the team loses, it was not an embarrassment and the cup still energized the base. But more importantly, US Soccer along with its fans will continue to seriously look for major improvements.