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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • TROY'S COLUMN — Are we really proud Americans?

  • For those of you who have zero interest in things sports-related, one of the biggest events in the world has been taking place in Brazil....
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  • For those of you who have zero interest in things sports-related, one of the biggest events in the world has been taking place in Brazil. The FIFA World Cup, which brought to Brazil the best soccer teams in the world, is set to wrap up this weekend after weeks of matches held in venues across the South American nation. To be honest, I am not much of a soccer fan, but, I admittedly have been watching. Just like each March means watching college basketball for the first time each year, when the World Cup happens every four years I become interested. There are a number of lessons I have gained form watching World Cup soccer this year, and I thought I would share a few of my gleanings. First of all, recent RVHS graduate Cole Gewerth would easily fit on any team from any nation. His awesome hair is apparently a big deal for soccer players. I know Cole is a big soccer fan, and so now I know why. Secondly, if you are from the United States and want to enjoy watching soccer beyond pool play and, at times the Round of 16 during the World Cup, you need to pick another country to watch. Soccer in the U.S. is gaining interest, but it still has a long way to go before catching up with the rest of the world. For me, I opted to become a fan of Brazil (after Tuesday I have to pick another favorite team in the championship). I picked them for one reason. The players have cool names. I am convinced there is no other team in the world that could have a player on their team simply known as Fred. That is just too awesome. It would be even better if Fred had hair like Cole. From World Cup play I have learned just how serious people can be about what seems to be a simple game. Yes, it is just a sport, but for people in other parts of the world soccer is a representation of something much bigger – national pride. It is a lot of fun watching people from nations like Argentina gather as a nation and proudly sing their national anthem with heart and exuberance. For those of us in the United States singing our national anthem is not that easy to do with excitement, as it is a much more solemn piece. I have seen a lot of national pride from other nations, and when you see entire nations essentially shut down when their team is playing one gets the idea of just how proud these people are to call their country home. I think that is a lesson we as a country could learn. Are we really proud Americans?  No, we don’t need to rally around the World Cup to demonstrate that pride, but I think we all could take to heart the example of other countries in being proud of who we are. We may not be the best in soccer, but when it really counts – I’m talking about real football – we are the best.

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