It was a perfectly good Sunday and we could have done anything. We sat on the sofa and watched Columbia beat Poland 3-0. I need to relate soccer to what I know, so I saw (U.S.) football and basketball moves, immediate changes of direction and crossover dribbles with a soccer ball. The one constant: If there was a move that made us jump and shout, Columbia made it.
Is the World Cup like this every time it’s held? If so, why wasn’t I informed?
Oh, yeah. I didn’t like the sport. I will never appreciate soccer the way I appreciate my regulars, the NFL and NBA, college basketball and boxing, and after that baseball and college football. But I choose not to like soccer because – I really didn’t have a reason other than that I kept being told that the rest of the world liked it so I should, too.
Friends that knew nothing about soccer caught on more quickly, claiming Premier League teams and embracing those teams as if they grew up with them and not the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Falcons.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
It’s cool when you expand and adapt. I have never been able to. If a sport wasn’t part of my past, it wasn’t part of my present. The World Cup is the outlier.
I know that some U.S. fans are turned off because the U.S. failed to qualify. But that confers the freedom to pull for anybody you want. If you live in Charlotte, it’s like the NBA playoffs.
I latched onto Uruguay before the tournament began because, in a random conversation that had nothing to do with soccer, a woman talked about how much she liked the country.
What’s not to like? Uruguay the country suggests possibilities. See, it can be done. The soccer is a bonus.
And there was England and star Harry Kane destroying Panama 6-1.
What I like about the World Cup is that nobody tells you that you need to like it, or that you’re ignorant if you don’t. That’s really not a good strategy for selling the sport, or anything else.
Fans know how good the World Cup is. If you get it, fine, and if you don’t, that’s fine, too.