Apr 18, 2013

These Are My Teams

Drop what you are doing right now and go read this post at the Shin Guardian about the power of the beautiful game to one man. (and while you are at it, start following the Shin Guardian--some of the best writing about soccer and topics related to soccer on the interwebs).

My US National Teams is a special symbol. More than any other sport, in my opinion, they have the makeup, background, and ability to represent what’s best about us all. A son of a Mexican immigrants giving his all to provide support for the son of a Haitian immigrant. 
German born offspring of American soldiers battle alongside a hard nosed Jersey boy and a rapping tattooed East Texan…who’s white I might add. 
Nowhere else will you find a man who overcomes an obstacle like Tourette syndrome every day to perform at the highest level. 
Because of who they are and the sport they play, they have the opportunity and responsibility to wear my colors and personify what’s best about my people.

All over the world, the power of sport has the ability to heal people like nothing else.  People of different religions, different socio-economic class, different heritage can coalesce around a game.  I remember the emotion of the first baseball game in New York after 9/11 and I can't stand watching baseball on TV.  I remember MLS matches following 9/11 and the first DC United home game after 9/11.  I couldn't get to the match--but I felt the same power.

The stories of fans singing the National Anthem at the Bruins game last night is a powerful reminder of the power of sport to heal.  Next year, you won't be able to tell one Boston Marathon runner from another, they will all be the same person, in the same shirt and rightfully so.

Yes, for me soccer is a defining experience in my life.  I measure my years by the numbers of World Cups I have seen.  My national teams show me what is possible in this nation of ours.  Many people might wonder about the impact of a diversification of our population.  But for me, it has always been its greatest strength.  You can put 100 Americans in a room together and you might not find any two remotely alike.  I have seen that on a soccer field and when it comes to sport in America--it is honestly the only time you see it.

When the National Soccer Teams take the field--more than any time, other than maybe the Olympics--you have the true power of what it means to be America in one place.  I can sit in a bar, a restaurant or even a public plaza with dozens, hundreds even thousands of people I don't know and I can experience, the joy, the wonder, the heartache, the pain, and the sheer oneness with them all--Americans.

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