As the World Cup approaches close, I’m reminded that Americans largely aren’t very good fans.
People all over the world have spent the last month chanting, cheering and raving about the world’s largest championship. Here in the U.S., our concerns over the tournament seemed largely limited to the bad calls that took away our goals, because we want the world to know that we’re happier complaining than cheering. Once Ghana knocked us out (again), our minds went back to figuring out what to do over the long weekend.
We Americans kinda suck at this. Here, being a fan doesn’t mean anything. How many Duke fans do you know who actually went to Duke? How many people in Red Sox hats actually had those hats five years ago? Soccer’s even worse. No one wears L.A. Galaxy jerseys; they wear Man U or Christiano Ronaldo jerseys — not because they’re from Manchester or Portugal, but because Man U and Ronaldo are good. People’s affinity toward teams is so fluid that turning on a ceiling fan will make most fans change their allegiance. How many Miami Heat jerseys do you think are going to sell in Topeka this week? I bet it’ll be a lot.
I have a friend who’s never been to Brazil. He doesn’t speak Portuguese, he’s not South American… he doesn’t even look good in yellow. But he refers to Brazil’s team as “my boys.” Don’t ask me why. I lived in Germany so I pull for the Germans, but I’d never call them “my” team.
I have this Dutch jersey that I bought a long time ago simply because I like the color. So, yeah, I’m guilty too. I don’t own an American jersey. But it’s never too late to change. I’m not Dutch and I’ve only visited the Netherlands twice. This weekend, my Dutch orange will stay on the shelf.