Folks, get your Yankees hats and Durant Warriors Jerseys because this feature is meant for you: the bandwagon-fan. Don’t worry; bandwagoning in this instance is totally acceptable.
Americans, our team catastrophically disappointed this time around in failing to qualify for this World Cup. Maybe, we can consult the regulars at our local Trattorias and ask how some Italians are feeling as well. Even better yet, let’s head to the nearest Olive Garden and see how the Italian-Americans are taking it. But never fear the 2018 World Cup is a bandwagon fan’s dream in America, and here’s why:
The World Cup celebrates excellence in a sport over which we do not hold a monopoly. In that, we are free to embrace the joy of success without suffering the perils of mediocrity. For example, I’ll put myself in this case study:
I’m a flat-out Euro-mutt. With grandparents from France and Belgium, having studied abroad in England, and abhorring the current White House Administration enough to be volatilely against Russia and forever loving Croatia because of it, I’ve had quite a time rooting (and drinking) my way for different teams through this tournament. I’ve kept track of the best players in the world and have seen some of the best soccer of my life because of it.
Draws, PKs, and last-second magic have riddled this World Cup, which has given me the ability to enjoy soccer purely from a sports fan’s perspective. The gameplay has been spectacular, FIFA’s disorganization has been unnoticeable, and Russia ran out of beer (weak, but awesome to hear). The only drawback of this WC has been all of the flopping, which has improved from recent memory.
On a more personal note, I’ve enjoyed seeing people I know support other countries out of love, not obligation. I’ve enjoyed the sport of soccer and it’s fleeting reemergence into the spotlight. I’ve enjoyed seeing people who don’t usually like sports indulge me in this momentary obsession.
This is a fascinating fan experience because we, America, lack one thing: presence. As absent as we are, the salad bowl that is this country has shown up and the bandwagon can never be full; suffice it to say, keep on rooting for whomever you want, whenever you want because there are no possibilities of wrong answers in this World Cup.
With the final being Croatia (a small, underdog country) vs. France (one of my #homelands, but also filled with numerous players of immigrant ancestry) I had to take Pogba and the gents and say “Allez le Bleus!”
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Domestically, sports have become so politically charged and our country is in social/legislative peril so I am happy to see an event that finally allows me to escape it. However, I do miss seeing the stars and stripes up there and would love for the country I’ve forever called my home to be competing in 2022.