I've known for a long time that soccer is bigger than me. That the game I have trouble understanding in depth means a lot to millions all around the world.
Some say soccer is most popular sport on the planet.
Sunday I got to see the highs and lows of the sport with the Women's World Cup final. I yelled (even if I did know why at times) at Lauren, Abby, Hope and Alex as
they ran up and down the field and all over Japan. In the first five minutes, to my untrained eye, it could have easily been a 5-0 game if the U.S. makes the shots they usually make, the shots they practice. But it's the World Cup final in the middle of Germany in front of 48,000 with millions and I mean millions (including our troops) watching on TV.
Surely, the U.S. would put it together later. Hope as in Solo sprang for the women. Then bang, the U.S. had the lead, not once, but twice. Each time the U.S. thought they had it won. But noooooooooooooooo the tenacious Japanese women kept coming back. I got nervous. I told my wife this was a dreaded "hang around" game. Where the team that should win and really could win, let the lesser team "hang around" within striking distance.
Then boom - it happened. The game ended at 2-all and Japan had all the momentum and won the World Cup final with penalty kicks.
And the whole nation of Japan smiled. They flashed a big wide, toothy grin. After earthquakes, foods and disasters, they could take a break and have a Coke and a smile.
LIke I told my family Japan needed the game more than the U.S. did. And I am glad they won so it can help them heal their wounded country. Just for a while.
Yes, sports can do that.
Yes soccer is bigger than me and I still don't understand the nuances of the game that well.
But I do know human nature. So hats off to the Japanese team, they beat the best team in the world... Japan you do have something to celebrate after all.
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