Worlds right, were wrong
The average American eats three hamburgers a week, 16 orders of French fries a month, 25 pounds of candy a year … and is profoundly uninterested in the World Cup. Soccer, it appears, is the only thing we don’t want crammed down our throats.
What does this attitude toward the World Cup say about the U.S.? It illuminates many of our least flattering qualities as a nation, not least of which is a breathtaking incuriosity about the rest of the world.
A new Roper poll says two thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 can’t find Iraq on a map. (Half can’t find New York City on a map of the U.S.) When Paraguay plays Trinidad and Tobago in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on June 20, it will seem less like a match than a geography test we didn’t study for. ( )
Check out the mind-blowing, 11-minute video on Nike’s Jogo Bonita website, in which 130 people from 30 countries each briefly dribble a ball before passing it out of frame to the next person. (One guy traps the ball on the back of his neck and keeps it balanced there while he drops and does push-ups.)
Watch the clip of Johann Cruyff dekeing a Swedish defender out of his socks in the ’74 World Cup, when the great Dutchman — for the first time on a world stage — feints right and backheels left in one bewildering motion. It’s like witnessing the discovery of fire and is viewable by entering into any search engine the phrase Cruyff Turn, the name by which the tactic has been taught ever since.
Watch all these vignettes, and if you still don’t like soccer, you don’t like sports. You only think you do.
Esta corajosa crónica foi publicada por Steve Rushin na Sports Ilustrated, a mais importante revista de desporto dos Estados Unidos e já provocou razoável polémica. Todos os quatro anos a questão renasce: os norte-americanos ficam supreendidos com a popularidade do futebol e não entendem a sua razão de ser. Como adenda refira-se que a Economist também acha que o Campeonato do Mundo é a competição desportiva mais importante do planeta (link pago, alternativa grátis aqui).