The 2018 Football World Cup is almost here.
For many years we in the USA could care less about the World Cup, since our “foot ball” is mostly played using the hands, and we call the winner of a series of baseball games between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers the “world champion”. We can get away with this because, after all, “we are number one”…
But four years ago, when the last World Cup was played in Brazil, football passion seemed to run wild, like molten lava, through our great nation, especially in Miami, where some law firms shut down for a few hours when our soccer team played.
Unfortunately, our boys will not be playing in Russia, where the World Cup will be played this time around, because despite the efforts of our MAGA magician, they failed to qualify for it. All they needed was a tie against Trinidad & Tobago in the last qualifier match, but they suffered a painful loss.
Our sadness is increased by the fact this coming World Cup is being hosted by a nation we count as one the greatest among our many conspicuous “friends” –at least our “authorities” do. But it is hard to feel that sadness in Miami, where World Cup fever promises to run as high as it did in 2014 (to judge by the sales of World Cup stickers –a “populist” version of our baseball cards- of which I am missing just 33).
So whom should we team-less Americans root for?
It is not an easy question to answer, since quite a few of our “friendly” countries are competing. Take the inaugural game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, two of those “friends” our “royal family” loves to party and carouse with in varied settings. The game poses an uncomfortable quandary for Ivanka and her Kenny, who will likely attend the opening ceremonies in the company of uncle Vlad and cousin Bin Salman (who is not a banker nor a relative of our mortgage backed securities, despite being known as MBS). Maybe she should wear a Mathruska dress –thus protecting the presence of her own products line in the local market- and Kenny can borrow his father in “law”s Saudi attire, the one he used for the dancing gig not too long ago (sword included), showing his solidarity to his cousin and “partner” in the dire job of bringing peace to the Middle East.
For our tremendous president the choice between “friendly” countries may be even harder, though, as he reminds us on a daily basis, every task is easy for someone with his tremendous I.Q.
Should he root for Korea (the South portion of the Korean peninsula, that is, but called to unify with the other –wicked- portion by our self appointed Nobel Peace Prize winner) or for Mexico in Group F? Should he back Iran in Group B, just to keep his perfect record of unstableness when it comes to making decisions (more flip-flops than an Alka-Seltzer)?
We’ll see what happens…
But at the end of the day (if we get there, now that our tremendous president kicked the Korean game board yet again), and given the most significant among our national traits, which is our diversity, there may be no single answer to our query. Whatever choices those who represent America –and I shudder- may make, every American will choose the team they’ll root for pursuant to his or her cultural background, idiosyncrasy, philosophical approach and ideology, and true to that strong feeling or passion that football is for many of us. For Americans who do not feel that passion –still a majority, I am afraid- the World Cup will come and go unnoticed. And it is a real shame, because football today is probably our best path to get closer to and gain a better understanding of that World from which we are ever more isolated, a World that looks at US as if we were down-right crazy.