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Sports Heaven

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I told you! I TOLD YOU! Sunday’s much-anticipated quarterfinal World Cup match, U.S. versus Brazil, was epic, as the kids—and now, professional journalists—say. It had everything—highs, lows, heroes, villains, early scores, ridiculous calls, unconscionable time-wasting and, best of all, a literal last-minute, shorthanded comeback. Wow. I tried to write a slightly more detailed rundown than […]

July 14, 2011


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I told you! I TOLD YOU!

Sunday’s much-anticipated quarterfinal World Cup match, U.S. versus Brazil, was epic, as the kids—and now, professional journalists—say.

It had everything—highs, lows, heroes, villains, early scores, ridiculous calls, unconscionable time-wasting and, best of all, a literal last-minute, shorthanded comeback. Wow.

I tried to write a slightly more detailed rundown than that, but I wanted to include every nuance—the ebb and flow of momentum, the neutral crowd whistling (booing) Brazilian star Marta, goalie Hope Solo’s defiant posture, the incredulity and desperation and hopelessness and elation and…well, you get the point. It reminded me of a moment in Sports Night, when Jeremy has edited his first ever highlight, a baseball game, and tries to justify spending 10 minutes—instead of 30 seconds—on the duel between pitcher and batter as represented by foul balls and timeouts. Sometimes there’s just too much to savor.
 

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DUDE.

The best part, though, was that we sat around the Deelios’ living room Sunday watching the whole thing take place—high-fiving and moaning and screaming at the TV, then jumping off the couch in a celebratory four-person mosh-pit, then adopting the official shoot-out pose (elbows on knees, hands clenched in front of mouth) before moshing again. Extended moments where nothing but joy enters your mind.

There is no celebration like group celebration, and now we can see the excitement for the team online and on ESPN, how excited people are beyond the living room. Mr. Deelio and I just watched the semi-final game against France at Sports Page, which was packed—at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday—with tie-wearing professionals and bike couriers alike, who groaned when France tied it up and then roared when the U.S. scored and scored and scored again. So. Much. FUN.

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An unlikely crowd at Sports Page Wednesday afternoon.

As I write this Japan has just finished off an unfathomable defeat of Sweden—its second unfathomable victory in a week, having beaten defending champion and host Germany on Saturday. We rooted for scrappy Japan then, but for Sunday afternoon’s final, we’ll be pure U! S! A! (Already my phone is lighting up with text messages reminiscent of a state department meeting circa 1941.)

When the group mentality goes right—when everything goes right, and everyone (in the immediate area) is happy—there’s nothing quite like it. The same kind of audience interaction that happens during live performances gets amplified around a single, positive emotion until it’s a multi-person jumping, grinning feedback loop of OHMYGODHAPPY. When you’re watching international competition, surrounded by your countrymen, it’s so easy to get this feeling—so long as your team is winning.

This kind of thing already happened once before this year, when we watched game four of the NHL’s eastern conference finals (Lightning vs. Bruins) in our living room with the Deelios, Krazy Kevin, Suzy Q and Little J. We sat dejected as the Lightning fell behind by three goals; then we danced like fools—and progressively more foolishly, goal by goal—as the Lightning climbed their way back to win. That didn’t turn out so happy in the end, though (the Lightning lost the series in seven games). We’ll be watching Sunday—together—in the hopes that the U.S. women give us something to celebrate for the next four years.