Perhaps you’ve heard that the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup competition, with their loss to Ghana the Saturday before last. Sad for the U.S. team, indeed. But is it sad for all the American World Cup viewers? Should it be?
Most significantly, should they stop paying attention now?
On Friday’s Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, our local public radio station, they had a segment with this as a teaser:
Had they beaten Ghana, the USA would be playing this afternoon. So, why should you still care what’s happening in the world cup? Mike Pesca, NPR sports correspondent, and Franklin Foer, editor at The New Republic, soccer fanatic, and author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, join us to discuss soccer in the USA.
I didn’t listen to the segment, and don’t especially care to. I just find the idea that one might lose interest in a sports competition just because
your team is out of the running... to be odd. And, yet, it seems a widespread attitude, which affects sports coverage, including our coverage of the Olympics — events in which the U.S. is not a significant force are often very lightly covered, with coverage focusing on those events the U.S. is expected to win medals in.
I don’t get it. If you like soccer, then
- you ought to be interested in watching the World Cup whether the U.S. is in the competition or not, and
- you ought to prefer to watch the best matches, which involves eliminating the weaker teams.
And, of course, if you don’t like soccer, then why would you want to watch it just because the U.S. is competing?
Maybe it’s because I don’t watch sports on television — though, honestly, if I’m going to watch something, I’d rather it be soccer than anything else — but I just don’t get the parochial
my team or nothing attitude.