I have been living in Norway for about four months now and it dawned on me that while I am very distinctly American over here, slowly but surely I am growing more into a European. Not EU European, Norway’s not part of the EU, I guess more like European Economic Area (EEA) European.
I watched every performance of this year’s Eurovision and regularly have to walk up to an hour just to get somewhere, but the biggest Europeanization is my unusual interest for the World Cup this year!
My admission may be revoked when I continue to still call it soccer, but I can’t believe how taken I am with watching a game, especially when my favorite team, the USA is playing. Yes, I know, traditionally my country isn’t the biggest supporter of the sport and you make fun of our football, but we can pretty much hold our own in soccer and we are proving it.
My knowledge has progressed rapidly: I’ve picked up on the rules and can spot an off-sides or penalty; I am mesmerized by intricate passes and fake-outs; and cannot stand when a ref is being too lenient with players who are obviously violent (Mamadou Sakho’s vicious elbow last night? Neymar being constantly pushed and punched by Cameroon? — nothing!).
But what strikes me the most are team’s attitudes: individually and collectively. I find myself analyzing what I believe is going on in player’s heads then assess their behavior. Without a doubt, the USA is the most balanced team I have seen.
The USA doesn’t entertain drama. While other players are lying all over the field, squealing, whining, crying, holding their wounds, and fighting with refs, the American players literally shrug off blows to the body and continue to play the game. Maybe it’s because our team has to prove itself, considering they are very new to the scene. In general, they keep their heads down and stick to the game.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) June 26, 2014
Dempsey was kicked in the nose with blood streaming down his face and continued to play. Kyle Beckerman was practically launched off the field and just rolled with it, got up, and ran towards the ball wherever it was. They are strong, stoic, and team oriented. The American team plays well together and I appreciate that. I’m also taken with the American goalie, Tim Howard, who is famous for playing through pain. The way that he securely holds on to the ball after a shot so as not to leave anything up to chance strikes me as very controlled and smart.
Today USA will play Germany in the first match and I cannot wait to watch. For all of my friends in the States, perhaps you can use one of these ‘get out of work’ cards signed by the USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Here in Norway, people stop working and crowd around the cantina TV to watch the Winter Olympics (I know, who even knew there were W.O. right?).
I hope today’s game brings out a European spirit in American bosses by allowing everyone to ditch work and spend 90-awesome minutes basking in Yankee Domination!
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