So World Cup Soccer is well underway. Someone from the UK or Europe or somewhere made a comment last week to the effect that we North Americans wouldn’t understand what a big deal the World Cup is. Which is a fair enough comment since they know soccer isn’t a national sport like it is in a lot of other countries. But the commenter has obviously never been to Canada during World Cup.
I don’t know what it’s like in the US these days, but in this country there are soccer flags flying from every other car, hanging in office cubicles, draped in livingroom windows. People are walking around in soccer jerseys. FIFA stuff is being sold everywhere, people are following the scores all day at work, soccer is the topic of conversation. Soccer icons are de rigueur for Facebook profile photos. The CBC is broadcasting soccer, soccer and soccer. And even I, who had little interest in the Olympics and will occasionally go to a live sporting event, but will almost never watch sports on TV, have always managed to get excited about the World Cup.
It’s infrequent enough and international enough to attract my interest. And it’s a sport I can understand — with outfits that are really cute.
The interesting and somewhat contentious thing about World Cup Soccer and Canada, however, is that Canadians don’t seem to care that their country isn’t represented. And some nationalistic types are a more than a little peeved about this. They don’t like to see us flying the English, German, Brazilian, French, Spanish, Argentinean, Dutch or other international flags. They think, if we have to fly a foreign flag, we should fly a Canadian flag at the same time. Or, they say – considering Canada Day is coming up, it’s almost treasonous to be flying other flags.
“Oh well,” I say. If we were teaching our kids to play competitive soccer, we might actually have a team of our own to root for. Meanwhile, we’re rooting for what? Teams that represent the country of our ancestors? Teams whose mad soccer skilz we admire? Teams who have the hottest players?
Why are you crazy for World Cup Soccer? Who are you rooting for, and why? And does it make you feel less than patriotic?