Monday, June 14, 2010

The Football Craze

As the greatly-anticipated Football World Cup (oh, pardon me, should I refer to it as "soccer"?!) kicked off last week, a significant percentage of the American population seems to have suddenly realized that they appreciate the world's number one sports, too. For now, at least. Dr. John Brown has a great post on the subject, from a couple of days ago.

What I wanted to share, however, was my astonishment at the anti-British "zeal" among the crowd of the fans in DC during the USA-England game on June 12 (yes, I did join them at Dupont Circle for a while). Of course, nationalism (or patriotism: feel free to choose, since in this case it's all the same) runs high - especially - at such events. But many of the chants and comments went far beyond that. Here are a few that I can recall (I still do regret not having my recorder and/or a notebook with me):

- "Liberty"
- "Freedom"
- "Independence"
- "#### BP"
- "America: fighting for freedom since 1976"
- "####-ing colonizers"
- "#### Spice Girls. Miley [Cyrus, I presume] rocks" (--> pop culture ruleZ?)

I think the game on Saturday should have been called "The Freedom Match", since it was a fight, and whenever America fights, it fights for freedom. The problem I see, however, is the people's attitude toward UK: supposedly, America's closest ally in the world. Supposedly.

(Photo courtesy of Mirror Football)

Of course, seeing the "negative impact" of the BP oil spill story was inevitable. But after all the love and affection between the couple (US-UK, that is) over the past several decades, this comes as a major disappointment. Perhaps, reconsidering the "special relationship" was not too bad of an idea for the British, after all?

Would be really interesting to attend USA's other matches as well. Wonder what the major "themes" will be, then. I just hope terms like "communist" and/or "terrorist" won't surface with Slovenia and Algeria (coming up on June 18 and June 23, respectively)...

In the meantime, it's really sad seeing the FIFA World Cup craze overshadow all that's going on in Kyrgyzstan. As a friend remarked on Facebook: "The World Cup for Kyrgyzstan is like the death of Michael Jackson for Iran" [i.e. in June 2009]. Unfortunately, I couldn't agree more.


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