Jul 13, 2010
Last thoughts on the World Cup
For most of the time, I don't much care about sport. As a Colorado resident, I didn't realize the Rockies were in the World Series until they lost their second game and never watched John Elway and the Broncos win the Superbowl. I usually tend to think that sports are pointless (the very definition of a sport really), the games often terribly brutal, and the players spoiled, overpaid corporate shills. That's not to say I don't enjoy watching the occasional game--I still remember the Rose Bowl where Vince Young led UT to victory against USC as very good. The thing is I am not a fan. One can't really enjoy a sport if one doesn't care who wins.
However, this has been sport at its very best. All those negative things about sport are all true--but it's not the whole story. Witness the ceasefire Didier Drogba single-handedly wrought in Ivory Coast in 2006. Most countries are built around political compromise, often ignoring ethnic distributions and geographic realities, particularly in the developing world. The project of the nation-state is to provide a decent standard of living for all its citizens irrespective of status. Sport can be the glue that holds otherwise fragmentary countries together. Borders should be redrawn anyway, one might say, but that usually means war, especially in poor countries. Better to try and work with what's already there.
So the reason I like soccer is the USA national team is the only one I really care about (since the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA finals back in 97-98). God knows the USA could use do with some nation-building.