The excitement is building. You can feel it. On TV, in the bars, on the street. The World Cup is coming, and some sports writers continue to fight the good fight. Mike DeCourcy has a great article up called ‘Give the World Cup a Chance‘:

The media here have enough to keep them busy, with football, basketball and basketball, plus the occasional trek into tennis and golf. They were happy that hockey chose to excuse itself from the small piece of the national consciousness it previously occupied. They don’t want to think about another sport. So they make fun of soccer’s nil-nil draws and occasional fan violence and dismiss the game’s beauty and appeal.

Well, too bad for them. But you can break free from this, the way I did four World Cups ago. In 1990, just for the heck of it, I decided to watch the Cup and see why it was a big deal, why it was considered to be the world’s greatest sporting event. It took a very short time to learn the rules, which turned out to be part of the fun. It was not all that hard to figure out who were the great players. A great athlete stands out no matter what his or her game. I’ve been hooked ever since, and my addiction has only grown worse – to the point a mere commercial or two can get me choked up.

He is referring to the Gatorade ‘Whole New Ballgame’ commercial and Bono’s ‘One Game Changes Everything’ spots on ABC (click here, then click Enter, select ‘Anthem’ at the bottom, and click ‘View Clip’) I’m with him 100% – I get chills watching the Gatorade commercial and the Bono spot is excellent.

The Gatorade ad featuring the national team shows some of the difficulties that the players endure for the glory of their game and this nation – particularly the hostile treatment they can receive when playing qualifying games in Latin America. I feel a little weird now, seeing the New England Revolution’s Taylor Twellman featured prominently, as he was not included on the 23-man World Cup roster announced last week. But it’s still a stirring tribute to a team that faces difficult odds in the Cup’s "Group of Death" next month.

I thought nothing could top it until I saw the Bono ad. He reads a tribute to the simplicity of soccer and the passion it instills worldwide, gradually building to the importance of the World Cup as the opening bars of U2’s beautiful "City Of Blinding Lights" begin to play. Chills, I tell you. Every time.

I was reading some threads on BigSoccer where some fans talk about playing these and other clips every morning when they sign in just for the thrill. It really is a sickness isn’t it?

Imagine that: a commercial that can move you as surely as a classic motion picture. Hard to believe, but if you’ve seen the Gatorade "whole new ballgame" ads featuring the U.S. national soccer team or Bono’s "one game changes everything" promos for ABC/ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup, you know I’m not wrong.

That is, if you’re one of us.

That’s it – right there. For soccer fans in the US who persevered back in the ‘dark times’ trying to find a soccer match on TV, any TV. Who withstood ridicule and scorn for their love of the beautiful game. After all those years, this is your new call to arms when people ask what you’re doing next month or why a commercial about soccer gives you chills.

Are You One of Us? When You Are – You’ll Know.

Got a better slogan or motto? Comment away!