The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 7, 2014

U.S. loss on World Cup pitch was a win back home

The 2014 World Cup is over for America.

The United States was knocked out in the Round of 16 by Belgium, 2-1, in a match with extra time that was intoxicating and crushing.

The U.S. team was oh so close. That’s how sports go: One day you’re fighting for victory, the next you belong to history.

But, despite goalkeeper Tim Howard's remarkable performance, the game perhaps will be remembered not so much as a loss but for what it did for the future of the sport back home.

Did the U.S. team permanently plant soccer in the American psyche, or was our enthusiasm just a midsummer aberration? Were we watching history being made, or was it just a moment for histrionics?

It serves no purpose to offer a quick answer. But there did seem to be something different about our country’s reaction to a game whose provenance long belonged to those living “over there." For once, it seemed, U.S. fans were the ones adopting the established cultural and social ways of others, rather than exporting theirs to faraway lands.

For me, even at an advanced age and a soccer novice, watching was a strange experience. Probably like many others, I got excited by the fierce competition, even though I knew so little about the game, its strategies, rules or players. Surprisingly, not understanding what it means to be offsides or how substitutions work didn't keep me or other newcomers from enjoying the game.

Certainly nationalism was a big contributor to the crowds and interest. It was refreshing to see Americans rallying instead of squaring off politically.

It seemed easier to accept the free-spirit practice of face painting and wearing colorful garb, long practiced by supporters of other countries’ teams. And, most definitely, the U.S. fans' rhythmic chant of “I believe that we will win …” -- borrowed from the bleachers at the U.S. Naval Academy -- was a classic. The World Cup was pure fun.

Text Only
Sports
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 stays alive in American Legion state tournament

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Filed in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 1 #2  run copy.jpg Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tournament opener: PHOTOS

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.
    Felt struck out seven in 8.1 innings of work in the team’s first-round victory over Fairmont.

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Pirates’ gaffe on bases proves costly

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle, what we watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.
    A timely, heads-up glance by reliever Jean Machi helped San Francisco take advantage of a gaffe on the bases by Pittsburgh, and the Giants tagged out of two runners who wandered away on the same play grab momentum and end a six-game losing streak.

    July 31, 2014

  • Speedy Shazier making quick impression

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end. Others focused on his blazing speed and saw a safety.
    Not Shazier.

    July 31, 2014

  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings