It’s always entertaining to read the reactions across the Soccersphere and the mainstream media when the US national teams play. In a country saturated in sporting events, you have the soccer fanatics in the soccersphere, as passionate as ever, while the majority of the country barely notices. We complain about it, but that’s the way it is and we just hope for gradual improvements. Nobody was dancing in the streets when we won the Gold Cup. Yet for many smaller countries soccer is the national sport. Success on the global pitch can be euphoric for a country’s citizens. Which makes Iraq’s success in the Asian Cup more poignant as a team from a country torn apart by war battles to win a major tournament. And yet when the wins come and their team advances to the finals, dozens of Iraqis are killed by bombs as they dance in the streets celebrating a rare positive note in their country’s horrific recent history.
There’s no political statement here. However, while incidents like the Mansour bombings are an almost daily occurrence, tragic stories like these can often put things into perspective for us as we lament our own latest soccer or even national woes. So I share it for that.
If there is a bright spot, it is the picture the NY Times chose for their article. Even in a country used to daily horrors, the victory of a national soccer team can still bring euphoria.