No sooner had I written a column for last week's Daily Pilot analyzing why soccer is the first sport that every youngster in this country plays yet it doesn't translate toward a high level of interest in pro soccer, then the U.S. women's team goes out and rocks the world.
The U.S. women defeated Brazil last week in a stunning come-from-behind thriller that has sparked a national craze. In the gym where I work out, a rapt group of men were gathered around the television set cheering loudly. Professional athletes and celebrities filled Twitter with descriptions of how moved they were by the game. Water cooler conversation at businesses throughout the country was filled with exultation for their achievement. It had some of the same frenzy as the men's hockey victory over Russia years ago. We are certainly front-running fans, but the enthusiasm is infectious.
So how does a team that labored in anonymity prior to the last several weeks become an obsession? First there is the element of patriotism. This has been a discouraging time in sports, the economy and international affairs. Our country is involved in a draining war in Afghanistan, a quagmire in Iraq, the worst economy domestically since the Great Depression, deadlocked and stratified Congress and in sports, the news isn't much better.