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A helpful guide for who you may support in the World Cup

POSTED: June 14, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Joel Samuelson, Lory Kaun/Barrow County News

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Every four years, the world is treated to a spectacle of sport unlike any other that exists solely to celebrate the athletic achievements of great talents and name an champion out of many nations.

See, when you get vague enough, the World Cup sounds a whole lot like the Olympics, doesn’t it? 

There really are quite a few comparisons between the two events: world competition, swollen nationalism, rampant corruption by organizing officials, mass protests of lazy governments. 

One unique element of the World Cup is this, though. When the Olympics are on, just about everyone in America is consumed with nationalistic pride. Not the bad kind, mind you, where we start to point and laugh at everyone different from us. That’s all the time.

No, people are overcome by this idea that we are all competing together as a nation towards one goal...despite the fact that about 90% of us have never shown a fraction of the dedication to anything active that Olympic athletes show. 

In America, we root for Team USA. 

When it comes to the World Cup, though, Americans suddenly forget that our team is actually competing in the darn thing. 

I will openly admit my general ignorance about soccer. It’s not my sport. I mean no disrespect, I just mean that my understanding of its minutiae and the general idea of it are a bit slack compared to my impressively encyclopedic knowledge of American football (you get the qualifier just this once, folks, so take it and like it). 

I see people walking around wearing scarves and jackets for Brazil, Spain, Germany and just about everyone but the United States, and that bothers me deeply, so here’s a quick guide to who you are and are not allowed to cheer for in the World Cup.

First, if you are not from America, go ahead. Cheer for your home country. That is beyond understandable. Cheering for your home country is the whole point of this column. You don’t need my permission, but you have it. Be glad.

Second, if you are American and have ever lived or have family living in another country, you may raise a shout in solidarity when they score a goal. I’ll allow it. I have a good friend who cheered for Ecuador because he had cousins who were missionaries over there. Go get’em! Why not?

Third, if America is already out of the World Cup, which is likely to be sooner rather than later, you should be allowed to cheer for someone else. I am nigh incapable of watching a sporting event without picking a side at some point. It just can’t happen. I understand your plight, fellow Americans with strong opinions.

Fourth, never Qatar. We aren’t speaking to them right now.

Fifth, it was Flag Day yesterday, so you should have already been sporting an American flag somewhere on your person.

Finally, if you are openly cheering for America first, you may pull for another team second. I get it. Soccer isn’t necessarily our best sport, so you have a “soccer team” that you cheer for, but this is a little more serious than when you have a different college team in football and basketball. You are from here (if you are). 

I find it strange when people from Georgia cheer for the Yankees or the Cowboys or the Royals. What’s your connection? You don’t have one. Plus...really? The Royals?

That’s what it all comes down to, though: connection. If you are genuinely connected to a team, cool. If not, don’t be that guy.

Please, just this once, drink the red, white and blue Kool-Aid.

 

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