I’m Grateful for the World Cup

Today I’m grateful that I teared up when USA was knocked out.

I’m happy that I’ve been a fan of that team as long as I can remember and that when the commentators made a joke about the hairstyles I immediately thought of Cobi Jones and blurted, “Well, it’s not like we’ve never had wild hairstyles on the pitch before.” I love that I don’t just know that little snippet, I remember it and all the dashed hopes that go along with that memory.

Sports are great because you can care deeply and become so excited and heartbroken and IT DOESN’T MATTER. People point this out to me like it’s a detractor, silly things. They’ll say, “Why are you so emotional? This doesn’t affect your life at all.”

That, my poor uninitiated friends, is the whole point. How often can you let your emotions flow and feel genuine hope, exhilaration or despair and then go home secure in the fact that none of it matters? It will not have any impact on my day to day life that I don’t allow it to have. If we ever, wonder of wonders, win the World Cup, I will be floating on the ceiling for just AGES. It will be a crystallized moment of sheer joy and exultation for the rest of my life and all I have to invest is hope and enthusiasm. It’s a win-win.

The tear that escaped when we were eliminated was felt deeply because I choose to care about this, not because my circumstances require it. I love the deep and abiding respect I have for Tim Howard and the fact that I’ve developed feelings of affection for people I’ve never, and most likely will never, meet.

Being a fan, to me, means that I get extra love in my life. I love the game. I love the team. I love the other fans. I shed a tear not just for my own disappointment but because of the disappointment I saw so clearly on the faces of the players. I genuinely wanted to reach through the screen and comfort them and let them know how hard they played and how proud they should be. I wanted to hug all the gutted fans on the screen.

I love this beautiful game. I love that so many of my countrymen are being exposed to it and falling in love. As more and more of my friends become besotted, I’m sitting back with a smug smile saying, “I knew you’d be perfect for each other.”

I love that my international friends have stopped ragging on my team so relentlessly. See? I’ve done nothing to bring this about. I didn’t hire Klinsmann. I didn’t participate at all in this transformation. I just kept believing. I think that’s why I love that chant. That’s all I do. I believe. They do everything else but I still get to reap the rewards for their effort.

Yes, I cried a little bit when we were eliminated but I have cried many more tears of joy in this tournament.

Today I’m grateful for soccer because it brings that joy, excitement, hope and love into my life and all it costs is the occasional moment of heartbreak. #100DaysofGrateful

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