I’m so horribly, terribly angry about how the U.S. team was robbed in their World Cup match against… who was it again? Um, I’m going to guess… Canada? No, it was Belgium, right?
Never mind, I can’t carry on this charade anymore. The truth is that I could not care less about the World Cup. I’ve never been a soccer fan, and that doesn’t change whenever this mega-event comes around.
But saying that I’m indifferent to soccer is likely to provoke judgment and scorn, which is a complete 180 from a generation ago, when only freaks and outcasts acknowledged an interest in the sport. This is because in the multicultural, global-village world in which we now live, many Americans are eager to prove their international bona fides.
As such, dismissing soccer is like saying you don’t like sushi, or have never seen a French movie. The person who has enjoyed those things may smirk and say, “How very American of you” and dismiss you as a parochial ignoramus.
Of course, many Americans really are parochial ignoramuses, but that’s another post.
In any case, the World Cup carries an extra burden for American Hispanics. After all, soccer is ridiculously popular in Latin America. Furthermore, the World Cup is a time for immigrants and their first-generation offspring to bond and root for the mother country.
However, I just can’t get into it – not because I think soccer is stupid or boring. Indeed, I will watch the whole damn series rather than sit through five minutes of a golf tournament. But the sport has never resonated with me, which puts me on the defensive.
For the record, I’m not big on basketball either, although I thought it was nice that my local Lakers won. Well, I did think it was good news, until I saw how certain people celebrated downtown.
Yes, it was a good old-fashioned LA sports riot. Fortunately, no one was killed, and the destruction and number of injuries were not as bad as some other outbreaks of this type.
Still, the violence brought out the worst elements in American culture, and I’m not just talking about the thugs who took to the streets. Internet commentary is blistering with accusations of illegal immigrants torching LA and Hispanics on welfare who look for any reason to riot and wetbacks running around out of control and… well, you get the picture.
A few hoodlums pounce on an opportunity to wreck havoc, and many Americans are only too happy to paint it as an essential trait of all Hispanics. I suppose I should point out that riots happen all over the world over sporting events. For example, when the Celtics won the championship recently, a similar scene occurred.
It doesn’t look like many Hispanics were involved in that one, but I’m sure we got blamed.
There was even rioting in Montreal over a recent hockey game. Think about that: the most polite people in the world freaked out over a sporting event! And nary a Latino was to be found on the scene.
Yes, the way Americans (and apparently, Canadians) celebrate their team’s victories is depressing. Perhaps I need to reassess this soccer thing. Maybe I should get into this more civilized display of athletic competition.
Hey, maybe I’ll root for Scotland. I hear that they don’t have any hooligan fans.