Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Cup Of World, Please

Congratulations to France on the occasion of winning the World Cup. They beat Croatia four to two in Moscow over the weekend. France beat Croatia in Moscow. This is why it is called the World Cup. The whole world is involved. When my wife traveled to Europe, she encountered throngs of fans from various locales across the globe who were immersed in this soccer tournament that takes weeks to complete across a number of different stadiums and cities in the host country. Our friends who are biking through South America encountered a similar phenomenon on their travels. Football, the international kind, stopped the rest of the world as a new champion was crowned.
A World Champion.
Many, including myself, have made the observation that we have, in North America, a thing called The World Series, to which we are polite enough to invite some Canadians, but with the exception of 1993, it has been a United States-centric affair. We are clever enough to call the championship game of the National Football League "Super," even if all the swag printed afterward suggests the winners are World Champions. The same can be said for the National Basketball Association, which manages to stretch their chase for the trophy over a month and a half, but it's still the local boys who end up wearing the T-shirts and hats that insist they are champions of the world.
One tiny effort that has been made over the past dozen years or so is the attempt to bring international athletes to our shores to play our games. Dominicans and Cubans playing baseball. Australians kicking our prolate spheroids of pigskin. Lithuanians crashing the rim. As long as they come along to America and play by our rules, we're fine with the idea that they can be World Champions. We will even travel to China or London or Mexico City to put our games on display, but if you want to see it for real and in person, you had better make your travel plans to include Estados Unidos.
What about golf? There's a pretty solid bias toward the US of A, but since the game was born in the British Isles, there is a piquant of the rest of the planet. Which is horribly ironic, since our "President" claims that the only exercise he gets is playing golf. And it seems to me particularly unfortunate that, while visiting those same British Isles, that he did not choose to check out the links of Saint Andrew's. Instead, he and his cabal retreated to the country club he carved out of the historic dunes of Aberdeen. Where he can have McDonald's and KFC carted out to him, and the spectators have to howl at him from behind six million dollars of Scottish security.
What a different world this would be if we had a soccer fan in the White House.

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