world cup futbol


Power Light World Cup

Dear Soccer:

Congratulations! The 2014 World Cup has been truly great. You`ve really outdone yourself this time around.

As it turns out, you really ARE a ‘beautiful game.’ You’ve had boffo TV ratings and you’ve inspired a resurgence of U.S. national pride. You’ve even raised our awareness of geography — such as the fact that South America is not really “… Alabama, Mississippi and the parts of Georgia that ain’t Atlanta” as many Americans previously thought. We learned other things too, such as Buenos Aires is not in Spain, ‘buenas noches’ is not in Natchez and the Amazon rain forest is not something invented by Jeff Bezos based upon our browsing histories.

Looking back even now, the 2014 Cup tournament was a remarkable experience for Americans. It gave us a chance to celebrate our patriotism by putting red, white and blue warpaint on our faces and donning funny hats on our heads. We also got a chance root for other Americans we don’t even know, who were playing a game we don’t even understand. But root, root, root for the home team we did because doing so also gave us a chance to goof-off at work and set records for both non-productivity and beer consumption on a weekday afternoon. [1]

Looking at some of the humongous throngs of Americans people gathered to view the US team in its various matches on large outdoor TV screens, many of us surely thought either extraterrestrials had landed or that Oprah was giving away free cars again.

Yep, we look back fondly on the Cup. Those were some fun times, Soccer. The absolute best though was the time we actually lose to Germany but — get this: we actually advance in the tournament and that old saw, “can’t win for losing” is once and for all dispelled. We Americans always knew the rules that apply to regular people certainly didn’t apply to us. (The after effects of losing to the Germans was euphoric, as rapturous as the after-effects of inhaling the air at a marijuana smokers convention.) We got to hang on to the notion of American Exceptionalism for another week — or until we get our asses handed to us by the Belgians.

Despite the good moments in the World Cup though, we have to admit there were some disconcerting ones too. We are not at all thrilled that we ultimately lost the tournament —- and to that freakin’ Belgium, one of those Western European Social Democracies. Be advised, for future reference: Americans DO NOT like to loose ANYTHING. This includes elections, jobs overseas, and stupid wars in countries none of us can pronounce or find on a map [2]. From the looks of most of us, you might get the impression Americans don’t even like to lose weight!

You can can bet we are not taking the loss to Belgium lying down. Also bet that Dick Cheney and our neo-cons are, at this very moment, thinking up false pretenses for Obama and John Kerry to invade Brussels. [3]

Luckily for the Belgians they didn’t have the gall to somehow beat Auburn or Alabama. Then they’d have serious problems from the fans of the losers.

Can of Whoop Ass! - we have not been able to find who created it, it appears on quite a few web pages, none with attribution and we presume it in the public domain (please let us know in the comment area if you find out and we will either take it down, attribute it properly or attempt to license)Another mildly disconcerting moment along the road to the World Cup comes when Germany pulls out a can of whup-ass on the Brazilians. That thrashing reminds us too much–wayyyyyyy too much–of the World War II blitzkrieg which, in turn, reminds us wayyyyyyy too much of the other sh*t the Germans pulled in those days. Goddammit, we have not forgotten. Of course, 7 points being 7 points and 7 points being a touchdown, at least SOMEBODY finally scores one in the World Cup, which is really all we wanted the whole time.

Despite all of the good news from the World Cup, don’t get ‘the big head,’ we Americans still have not totally embraced you, Soccer. You still remain far down in the pecking order of sports we love. It’s kind of sad too, because you really are a gorgeous game.

But fear not, there’s always the hope that Americans will one day embrace futbol the way we’ve embraced football. There’s also hope there will be peace in the Middle East, there’s hope that Justin Bieber will “…grow the hell up” and there’s hope Obama and the Republicans will work things out between them. Of course, I wouldn’t get my hopes up on any of it if I were you.

Nevertheless,I know you are stubborn, persistent, and are not easily deterred in your efforts to win over the hearts of American sports fans. As such, outlined below are few facts of life you might want ponder as you continue wooing American fancy.

Soccer needs more scoring if it’s ever going to be wildly popular in the US. Perhaps make the goalie sit in the stands–at least during the second half. It’ll definitely loosen things up. Also make the goalie wear the same uniform as the rest of the team. Viewed from slightly afar, the goalie looks like somebody’s half drunk, color-blind, homeless cousin who got his uniform at a rummage sale.

I swear, Soccer, it also looks as if the goalkeeper just staggers down, out of the stands and plops down in front of the net. Anywhere else in America, if somebody just wandered out of the crowd and did the same thing, they’d be arrested by Stadium Security. Hmmmn, come to think of it maybe having the goalie arrested is the solution to the scoring problem.

The game needs more time-outs and slowdowns. The way it is now, we American TV onlookers don’t have enough time to go to the bathroom, make a sammich or jet to the 7-11 to pick up a 12-pack of Bud Lite without missing any real action. Mainly, though, we need the slow downs and timeouts so that we can later carp about how long the games take even though we really have nothing else to do afterwards!

You might also consider introducing heavy, expensive equipment to the game. We Americans prefer sports that also require players to invest in overpriced clothes and equipment made by Nike, Underarmor or even Caterpillar.(Hint: Tractor-pulls and monster truck events also get boffo ratings too in America.)

Soccer, I must inform you that even if you do even all of this stuff–make these adjustments–there are no guarantees. My inner-philosopher suggests your game might be too egalitarian, too democratic for American tastes. It may be too readily available in countries where they speak a foreign language, too available in third world countries, who with just natural ability, could probably beat our asses on the pitch.

Sadly,the bottom line on all this, The USA starting XI sing their national anthemsoccer, is that you are probably never going to win America’s heart. We know you’re trying hard and we mostly appreciate the effort. I’m just telling you these things in the same spirit and in the same fashion that Connie Morgan, Miss Eleventh Grade at Rembrandt High finally told me: “Will, you’re not getting any of this. Come back and ask me out when you’re rich and maybe have a car!”

All of the above, all of our traits and proclivities may seem to make us shallow, unsophisticated, narrow-minded and resistant to change. You could be right too. The bottom line though is this: It’s just who we are.

Perhaps, I could have broken the news to you in a less hurtful way but in reality, the only place the “It’s not you, it’s me” meme works is on Seinfeld. When it comes to forging a relationship with Americans on anything, the problem is always ‘you’. It ain’t EVER us.

Your pal,



[1] Even Obama took time out to watch a couple of Soccer Team USA matches, though for the life of me, I don’t know why. Don’t get me wrong, the writer is a huge fan of the POTUS. It’s just that sports is often a metaphor for REAL life. U.S. Goalie, Tim Howard rejecting all those shots on goal must surely remind ‘the Prez’ of how the Republicans are constantly thwarting his best initiatives.

[2] Soccer,we Americans HATE to lose wars so much hat we have continued to occupy countries and fight wars decades after we started and even forgotten what the hell we were fighting for in the first place.

[3] Psst! The real reason we’re taking so long to sort things out on the Texas border is to determine if there are in soccer prodigies in the migrant children that we should grant amnesty so they can be members of USA Soccer in 2034.


Images: World Cup fever at Power & Light District from Kansas City Power & Light District's Facebook photos (no attribution provided); President Barack Obama and staff watching the U.S. soccer team vs Belgium in World Cup action from (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza);Can of Whoop Ass! - we have not been able to find who created it, it appears on quite a few web pages, none with attribution and we presume it in the public domain (please let us know in the comment area if you find out and we will either take it down, attribute it properly or attempt to license); US Soccer Team via photo gallery (no attribution provided).

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.