I understand that soccer is here to stay. I understand that curmudgeonly sporting xenophobes like me who thought we outgrew soccer in the ninth grade have no say in the matter at this point. Sometime in the past few years, it reached an inevitable tipping point, and now it has found its way into the mainstream of American thought. It's here, dude, and I am trying to embrace it, I really am. I have all these friends who have "adopted" Premier League teams based on their nickname or their colors or their locations, and I cannot bring myself to embrace the 31 Flavors artificiality of their thought process, but I get it: You have to start somewhere, and these teams belong to a community, and these teams have wonderful alliterative monikers like Tottenham Hotspurs; these teams at least have some measure of authenticity.
And then there is the United States soccer team.
And you may accuse me of heresy, and you may question my patriotism, and you may liken me to Alger Hiss, but I find it utterly absurd that every time the United States soccer team wins a game (or ties a game, which apparently is often just as good as a win, a principle that would no doubt have led Vince Lombardi to strangle a canine), all these newborn soccer fans feel the need to engage in artificial jubilation, clogging my online feeds with jingoistic declarations of triumph. "U-S-A"? Seriously? Is it 1984 again? I mean, isn't it enough that America is good at everything else, and is admirably clinging to its closing moments on stage as the world's only superpower? Now we have to appropriate the world's sport as our own nationalistic pursuit? Did we just pretend like we were with them all along, that we've finally embraced globalization, that we have a real and true interest in their leagues and their sport and their Hotspurs, when all along what we've really wanted is yet another reason to reinforce our hegemony? We live in the greatest country on earth, and we know it; why do we need to get all in-your-grill over the exploits of eleven undersized scatbacks in shin pads? You want to know why they hate us? This is why they hate us.
Now, perhaps that is a bit harsh. I am not inhuman. I feel terrible about what happened to Charlie Davies, a young star on the USA team who was injured in a horrible car crash. I wish him the best. But when bozos like this guy attempt to appropriate a serious situation and twist it into a patriotic imperative, it reminds me of the utter absurdity of blind nationalism. Get well, Charlie; I hope you burn up the pitch at the World Cup next summer, or whatever they might say. Just know that I will be pulling for the Netherlands, because I really, really dig orange jerseys and legalized recreational drugs, and that seems as a good a reason as any to choose my squad.