A few thoughts on Sunday's completely improbable (2-2) win (5-3 shootout) by the U.S. women over Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals in Germany.... (words you never thought you would read in these pages)
We didn't see it much the next day in either the newspapers or internets but in the immediate aftermath of yesterday's win, we could've sworn we heard from both commenters and players alike that a gutty performance (Team USA was the victim of some highly questionable calls, one of which left the U.S. a player down and some disgraceful flopping and diving by the Brazilians) like that was "what it meant to play as an American" and the team's resiliency in the face of adversity demonstrated the "American spirit" and a bunch of other stuff that drives some people absolutely bonkers when it comes to these types of international competitions.
Heh. It was beautiful. It was music to our ears. And if you thought it was jingoistic or unnecessarily boastful then you're a damn fool and are missing the context in which it was said.
The Brazilian side had the best players out there yesterday. What they lacked, however, was the Americans' ability and willingness to go out there and just grind. Brazil, afterall, owns the "beautiful game". What the U.S. owns is a "W" as inartistically, perhaps as this one came.
And if they want to relate this gutty trait to the "American spirit", who are you to argue otherwise? It's their brand, it's their image. They spoke of pride about playing the game the right way, i.e., no flopping or diving (the U.S. mens' side takes this approach as well) and as Americans who grew up playing and watching basketball and football and who also get frustrated by what we see as absolute shenanigans out there on the
Lastly, the women looked fantastic in their black jerseys. Don't know how often they do this. Could've been the first time for all we know. What we do know however, is those black jerseys should be their regular jerseys - the men also. If our teams have an image they want to project then own it. Make it our brand. Shoot, the rest of the world hates us anyway, so might as well wear the black jersies, right?
* Pictured: U.S. forward Abby Wambach and goalie Hope Solo (coolest name in soccer, hands down)