So watching the US mens soccer team lose to freaking Trinidad last night, and just literally look like they didnt give two craps about making it on to the next World Cup in Russia (maybe it was just the location), it made me start to think about perspective. I could find numerous scenarios of tanking, and not playing hard, and upsets, and all that mess. But the one that I just kept coming back to and hearing in the back of my head today was something that took on national pride the same way the soccer team had. Not a major sport…but still people took notice…maybe not everywhere…but when the unspeakable happened, it was a really really really big deal!
In 1983, the United States led a sailing race in Newport, RI called the America’s Cup. If you are not of the upper escelon of this country and don’t wear Lacoste on a daily basis and visit the Hamptons or Cape Cods of the world, this is a big deal sailing race. Actually it’s the biggest deal sailing race. In 1983, the US was shooting at a 132 year…yes…you read that right…year straight winning streak against…well everyone! But…in 1983…that changed.
The boys from Down Under…Australia…came up to ol Rhode Island and kicked the pants off of Dennis Connor’s crew, and left them in the dust with a winged keel (don’t worry…just know it had never been seen before) making the boat just float on water. It was the largest upset in sports history probably behind the 1980 hockey team. I mean who loses after 132 years? Well…we did. It was a disaster…and to be honest America’s Cup racing hasn’t been the same since. I mean have you seen the monstrosities they race on now? They’re floating spaceships flying on the water!
The US soccer team not making the World Cup isn’t quite up to this level…since…well…we have no dominance in the sport to begin with. We just think we should/do. The upset is that we have billions of dollars being spent in this world sport and as a country of over 300 million people, we have absolutely nothing to show for it. Soccer starts kids at the smallest age possible because it just gives them a reason to get out there and run…the simplest form of activity. Throw a ball and a goal and we got a real game now.
So next time the US tries to qualify for the World Cup…4 years from now…God that sounds far away…maybe they’ll talk to the guys on the 1983 America’s Cup team, and realize the dominance in this country can be achieved…even in secondary sports…and it should be achieved in things like soccer. Next time USMNT…try harder!