When I got to work yesterday (Wednesday, June 23) I had every intention of watching the USA soccer match in ESPN3.com, while preparing an interview. I get the match connected to a big screen from a laptop and begin work. As I look over from time to time I see the amount of missed chances by USA. I kept thinking to myself, “this is going to be another year where the Americans choke”.
I went on about my business knowing that deadlines are approaching for the NAIA Basketball Preview Magazine, which you can order here along with football. The more I tried to work on preparing an interview, the more I found myself drawn to the TV with the soccer game. I am not a huge soccer fan, but I am one who enjoys the World Cup. It comes around only every four years and that I can handle.
Before I knew it, I was away from the computer being unproductive and had a chair pulled up right in front of the TV. I watched most of the second half very closely. As the Americans continued to miss golden opportunities, I began to wonder if they would ever get a goal. Twitter and facebook was blowing up about the goal that was disallowed. Yes, I understand it was a blown call (because I saw the replay), but with the amount of missed chances for Uncle Sam’s Army I couldn’t bring myself to blame the game on the officials.
In the 87th minute it appeared Algeria had all the momentum in the game and the USA wouldn’t have a legit chance and would finish in a draw. I went back to my computer and began working again. Then came the 90th minute and the 91st. I remember glancing up to see Howard coral the ball and quickly launch it up field. I rose to my feet and began walking toward the TV as you could see a development in the USA attack. Then a shot…..stopped…just as the thought “not again” raced through my head, Landon Donovan put the ball in the back of the net for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal.
I caught myself excited about the goal. Again, I am not a soccer fan. Why did I get so
excited? Was it because I am a sports fan and that was dramatic? Was it because I am American and naturally pull for the stars and stripes on a national stage? Whatever it was, I was excited to see the soccer team pull it out. This was the third straight World Cup the USA had a more than questionable call against them. Heck, it happened twice in this tournament alone. It is good to see the USA on its way to the next round. Congratulations!
A couple hours later I finally did my interview, went to lunch and continued working. I kept seeing tweets about some tennis match going on. I am not big into tennis either….never played it, just not much interest. Finally, I caved. It was ESPN3.com once again that was tuned to the match. I started watching when it was 52-52. Again, I was drawn to the TV and not being productive. My twitter feed filled with tennis and soccer comments.
I laughed at 58-58 when the match was stopped for a bathroom break. I don’t know if that
has ever happened in sports, but then again how often does a sporting event span nearly 10 hours. Tied 59-59 there was a break in the action. American John Isner was trying to get Nicolis Mahut to agree to continue playing, but was unsuccessful. The match halted.
Today (Thursday June 24), the match continued. After playing for more than 11 hours, Isner defeated Mahut 70-68.
I began to wonder, is this the most exciting week for USA athletes? There are always big events in the Olympics that Americans compete in. There was the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”.
If Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson could have pulled through in the US Open, then we would really have a case. However, we did get a dramatic soccer finish that sent the Americans to the “knockout round” and a tennis match that is now the longest in history, won by an American.
The last two days has to rank pretty high for USA athletes success in a single week. It has been a wild couple of days in sports and makes me continue to be a sports fan that is proud to be an American.