Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thanks for coming -- See you in four years

In the nightmare scenario that ESPN laid out coming into the World Cup, the United States fails to get out of the Group round. This morning, ESPN faces its slightly lesser nightmare -- the U.S. team is eliminated on the first day of the second round. Ninety-eight percent of Americans forget that soccer exists until 2014.

Instead being inundated with stories of how the U.S. is finally ready to compete on the world stage, we are now faced with hearing about how the World Cup will finally make soccer relevant in America. At least, that's what Mike Freeman thinks:

Really, this time, the soccer flame might not be extinguished.

Really, Mike? For me, the World Cup is a lesser version of March Madness. Every year, millions of people with absolutely no interest in college basketball get all pumped up for the NCCA Tournament. Brackets are filled out. Bars are packed. Businesses suffer productivity loss as early round games are streamed live into cubicles across the country. And as soon as the Final Four comes to a close, most of those millions, who wouldn't know a Blue Devil from a Bulldog, go back to ignoring college hoops until St. Patty's rolls around again next year.

Cue "Soccer Madness". Brackets were filled out. Bars were packed. And now, millions of Americans who wouldn't know a volley from a vuvuzela can go back to ignoring "the beautiful game". Bet that seat in the bar won't be hard to find now.

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