(The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have had and have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with the creation of BigSoccers' blogs)
As we all know, getting knocked out of the World Cup deprives us of more wonderful moments like this:
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w"]YouTube- The World's Reaction to Landon Donovan's Game Winning Goal[/ame]
As soccer fans - particularly soccer fans who have to watch the games from our desks, our mancaves or our favorite watering holes as opposed to standing barechested in the stands next to two guys with "S" and "A" crudely painted on their frighteningly white torsos - these are the moments we spend four long years waiting for, and when they come and go so quickly it's almost like some cruel form of "premature soccer-jaculation" that can't be staved off by mentally reciting the multiplication tables.
We of course comfort ourselves (as losers always do) with the knowledge that a) at least we made it there, which is more than roughly 180 other countries can say, b) 31 out of 32 teams have left or will leave South Africa without a very nice replica of the FIFA World Cup Trophy in a first class seat (FIFA doesn't let anyone take the real one home - that goes back to Zurich) and c) we really didn't think we were going to win anyway. (Well OK, maybe a little but not that we ever told anyone.)
However, as American soccer fans, while we can at least say that our discomfort isn't quite on the level of, say, Frances' where the recriminations are something awful to behold (for their fellow citizens anyway; for the rest of us it's great fun) or Nigeria (it took Sepp Blatter what, 20 seconds to tell the government to back the hell off? No real entertainment value there).
And of course there are our brothers-in-language over in England where the revelations of locker room discord seem to have caught many people by surprise. How in the world they can think you can stuff that many bloated egos in a room, have them fail miserably (by their standards at least) in front of the whole world and then expect guys to not be at each others' throats is a mystery, but they're the English and they're family and so we love them no matter what.
For Americans however, the pain has been even worse than watching our national team self-destruct, our dreams of footballing glory shattered or our personal heroes reduced to snivelry.
We've been forced to hear about LeBron James.
What with ESPNs' investment in the South Africa World Cup - they sent over 200 people and mountains of equipment halfway around the world and gave the thing lavish attention on all of their various shows - and the fact that Americans (like anybody else) love a winner, if the USA was still playing (even today, in the ridiculous-but-profitable-so-"Play On" third place/consolation/hope-nobody-gets-hurt for no discernible reason match, things would have been much, much different.
Wilbon, Scott and the rest of the chin-wiping flat-headed gerbils at Mickey Rats' Sports Outlet would have had to give the US Soccer teams' glorious, world-shocking and miraculous string of victories as they marched to the finals at least equal if not in fact more airtime than they gave to the celebration of an incredibly rich and arrogant narcissist.
They might have even been forced to reduce the one hour special devoted to hearing The Chosen One say 16 freakin words to, say, ten minutes because of the live media conference with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey direct from Jo-Burg.
In short, US Soccer was in a position to spare us all at ten days to two weeks of nauseating, retch-inducing drivel by pushing that nonsense, if not off the bus entirely at least back into a back seat.
I can forgive the US team for not having forwards who can compete at that level. I can even forgive them for a couple of mind-blowing defensive errors. Hell, someday I may even be able to forgive Bob Bradley for Robbie Findley and Ricardo Clark.
But failing to give ESPN and the nations' sporting media something else that they would have been forced, albeit kicking and screaming, to talk about, well, let's just say I'm going to have a tough time forgiving them.