Saturday, June 26, 2010

proud to be an american

I got a chance to watch USA play Ghana today at a bar in New York City. We got there a little early to get a good seat. There were about 20-30 people there and we were sitting at the bar awaiting the opening whistle. As game time crept closer, my nerves took over. I was scared, nervous, excited, and jacked up. As the whistle sounded, the bar became packed with people full of red, white, and blue. The spirit engulfed The East End Tavern as the players began moving around the field. Like a chess match, each team made their moves only to be countered by the other. Soon after the start, USA made a mistake in the back and Ghana went up 1-0. For the rest of the game we chased, and chased. As the minutes passed, I felt more and more involved in the game, suddenly I was breathing harder as players were making long runs, my heart was beating faster as we got closer and closer to scoring. The thought of us losing was becoming apparent, but then, Dempsey managed to beat one defender, beat another and then was brought down in the box. The referee awarded a PK for USA. Donovan, down on his knees awaited the whistle to advance. The whistle blew, he took a few steps and buried it off the post into the net. USA 1 Ghana 1. The place went nuts, drinks were spilled, hands were raised, people were jumping up and down. We did it, once again—America had come back to even the score. Now can we do it again?

Ghana's goalie kept coming up big with miraculous saves on point blank shots. Jozy and Findley were both robbed with good saves. Ghana kept fighting, but USA kept fighting even harder. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and the nerves began to show from Ghana's team. As the second half seemed like it took days to finish, the final whistle blew. Overtime. Here we go.

Once again, another mistake in the back and Ghana out of nowhere sent a ball down the field, the striker hit a left footed volley straight over howard in to the back of the net, just like that—all the fight, all the heart, defeated...2-1 Ghana. We could of gave up, we could of tossed in the towel but we didn't. We got the ball off the kick off and connected a few passes and here we go chasing the game again. We had a few chances but each one was squandered. As the time passed, I still believed, America believed. They kept zooming in on each player and you knew that we had the heart, you knew we could do it. The seconds ticked, the minutes passed and before you know it we were in the second overtime with only minutes to spare. Tim Howard came rushing up from the goalie for a chance to even the score. Ghana's goalie came up big again and with seconds to go Ghana carried the ball into our half and the whistle sounded. Game over. Ghana beats USA 2-1 to advance to the next stage in the world cup.

What a game, what a run for America. Too little too late. But I know one thing, I've never seen so much heart in a team in my life, it reminds me of when I played at Clemson and everyone doubted us except for us. There was no doubt this year, not this time around. America believed and from here on out they have a following, not just soccer fans, not just sports fans, but millions of Americans that don't even know what offsides is. They are believers and that is the most liberating feeling you can have. Bravo USA. Keep working hard, keep believing and I can't wait to watch you in Brazil.

I'm proud to be an American.

2 comments:

  1. I felt it too...so proud of the supreme effort. Finally USA has stepped forward in the World soccer arena...can't look back now. Just gotta move forward and keep getting better. Need some strikers to score that first goal and not play catch up anymore:)

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  2. as one of the Americans who doesn't even know what offsides means, truley one of the most exhilirating and intense sport games I have ever seen; one that I felt a deep desire of victory for men I didn't know.

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