Can I put my Panamanian/West-Indian hat on for a second? Every four years, my soul is renewed when the World Cup gets underway. For as long as I can remember, I have loved soccer.
Growing up in Panama in a working class neighborhood, soccer is what you did. If kids played soccer as part of a league, we didn’t know. Soccer (or as I will refer to it as futbol) was universal. You played it for fun. You played for recess. You played it after school. You played it pretending you were your favorite team. You played with anything round and bouncy and large enough. So for me, FUTBOL has been something that has coursed through my veins, much like blood. For me, it’s Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and FUTBOL.
Of course after having watched Cameroon in Italy ’90 World Cup, my love was cemented. I saw all these teams, but there was one team that was black like me and they were good. They were underdogs, and nobody took them seriously it seemed, but my pride was and my belief in them was steadfast, and they did not disappoint.
So when I ask for a little bit of respect for futbol, or share my love for it, I am not involved in some liberal plot to bring down Americans nor am I against American “exceptionalism” as Matthew Philbin so ignorantly put it:
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with “American exceptionalism” – the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America’s rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Hence Americans are “xenophobic,” “isolated” and lacking in understanding for other nations and their passion for “the planetary pastime,” as Time magazine put it. But, they are confident, as America becomes more Hispanic, the nation will have to give in and adopt the immigrants’ game. On the other hand, the media assure the public that soccer is already “America’s Game,” and Americans are enthusiastically anticipating the World Cup, even though the numbers don’t bear that contention out.
So, every four years they return with renewed determination to force soccer’s square peg in the round hole of American culture.
Part of the liberal sales pitch for soccer is its popularity with Hispanics. Liberals who fetishize race are eager to adopt a sport with a special appeal for a certain minority, and it would never occur to them that new arrivals to the country might be well served adapting to traditional U.S. pastimes. To the left, it’s America that must change.
Saporito maintained that “the browning of America,” will grow the sport. Time’s Sanchez told Scarborough, “… you know, when America becomes a nonwhite majority nation in 2040, I mean, you know, the sport of soccer is the sport of, you know, of Hispanic Americans, of all kinds of immigrants to America.”Apparently, every four years while most of the world gets positive, American neo-cons go on vitriolic tirades on the internet to attack a sport that could give a shit less about whether or not they like it. For Philbin to pull the “race card” is absolutely disgusting. I don’t care what Saporito’s ideas are; and to be honest, several American players on the US team credit their love of futbol to growing up in Texas, and playing with Mexicans. Look at where they are now.
As usual, there are some people who feel that their racial superiority complexes are being threatened, so they gnash their teeth like wild beasts. I guess Philbin was too idiotic to see that it’s not a Hispanic sport. I mean, when was the last time Slovenia, Australia or Germany were part of Latin America or considered Hispanic?
What some Americans find threatening about futbol is that it’s something that doesn’t really require American participation to make it great. It’s like a party where the world is like, “Oh, hey… We see you got the invite, yeah? Well, the hors d’ oeuvres are over there so, yeah, see ya around.”
As time has progressed, futbol has gained a higher profile in the United States, but if I never see it reach to the proportions of American football or basketball; and I’m fine with that too. Lovers of the beautiful game bond regardless, and with the internet and travel breaking so many barriers and making borders closer than ever, we’re not missing out too much.
In fact, those most angered about futbol’s influence are most likely to be embittered at the fact that football and other “American” sports are not as influential or considered the “world’s game.” I think that for so long, Americans have been accustomed to setting the bar on so many things, they cannot handle not being considered legendary in a sport that is indeed the world’s game.
I do not want futbol to be anything like the NBA or the NFL. I know way too much about Reggie Bush, Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and others. What I love about futbol, in addition to many things, is that guys from mediocre backgrounds, who are low key, are still lauded mainly for their skill, and not for dating reality porn stars like Kim Kardashian.
Of course there are scandals, but at the end of the day, the guy who is in the scandal can be overshadowed by his talent easily. For me, from what I’ve seen, it’s still about the sport first and that’s where my heart is.
So Americans, please just let us have our four weeks without the hate. Let the beautiful game stay beautiful. And for black folks, we’ve got six African teams playing in South Africa, a country with a history that precedes it. Let’s not forget the outstanding black players on the US team. We always complain about how our kids do the same damned sports. Let’s root for our cousins and brothers instead of knocking them down.
They are breaking down barriers too…