Even Casual Fans Swept Up in "World's Game"
by: Scott LaPeer
It's no secret in America, "football" brings to mind 2 painted end zones, mammoth men wearing helemts, and a brown, oblong shaped ball. To the rest of the world, however, "football" is something entirely different.
Here in the U.S., our football is the new national past time. Fans of the sport flow through gates every fall, packing stadiums to be entertained by modern day gladiators. League revenue flows just as fiercely, and star players are nearly as visible and recognizable as The President. When it comes to the world's "football", though, our "soccer" takes a major backseat.
But something different is in the air this Summer, and the World Cup, soccer's grandest of stages, has EVERYTHING to do with it. It seems, with high enough stakes, even the normally non-plussed fan becomes a soccer nationalist. There's something about taking on the world, especially in the role of an underdog, that brings out the soccer hooligan in us all.
Recently, I visited a local Buffalo Wild Wings in Mississippi the afternoon the United States took on England in each team's World Cup opener. The scene was surprising, to say the least. Even in the deep south, where even high school football eclipses that other "football" in popularity, World Cup madness was in full effect. Fans waving red, white, & blue flags, wearing national soccer jerseys, stood and shouted with every semi-dramatic play. English fans came out of the woodwork like pale-skinned termites! A pack of Brits even braved insult and opposition to publicly cheer on their native allegiance.
For fans of sports, in general, it was a scene worth soaking in. Rarely do Americans get all amped up over soccer. To see pure passion and emotion stirred up with every crossed ball proves we, too, can join the world in loving this game. Click here to witness just a small slice of America reveling in the "beautiful game".