Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Americans Boo Their Own National Anthem during Soccer Match

Who in the world boos their own country’s sports team?

Go to Canada and you’ll find die-hard Canada fans, as evidenced by their juvenile behavior during some of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Specifically, curling.

(You know somebody is obsessed with national pride if they’ll care that much about a “sport” as ridiculous as curling.)

Go to Brazil and you’ll find soccer fans who just might kill their sports representatives if they lose in the World Cup. And heaven help the Chinese fan who roots for some other country during an international event.

As for England? Well, let’s just say British football hooliganism is a legend all by itself. Those people take their national pride to the next level when it comes to sports.

But in America, apparently, it’s a whole different story. The Los Angeles Times reports:

“On a balmy early Saturday summer evening, the U.S. soccer team played for a prestigious championship in a U.S. stadium… and was smothered in boos. Its fans were vastly outnumbered. Its goalkeeper was bathed in a chanted obscenity. Even its national anthem was filled with the blowing of air horns and bouncing of beach balls.”

Cheering and chanting and booing are all part of a normal game (though swearing is juvenile and uneducated at best), but interrupting anybody’s national anthem in such a way is inexcusably rude, regardless of loyalties.

I don’t like hearing another country’s theme song during medal ceremonies, but my feelings don’t justify dishonoring it. Losing is part of life just as much as winning is.

And so should a bit of national pride, especially in such a great country as the U.S.

Concerning his Mexico jersey, 37-year-old Victor Sanchez said: “I love this country. It has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it. But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here. I was born in Mexico and that is where my heart will always be.”

He added, “We’re not booing the country, we’re booing the team. There is a big difference.”

But is there really? Sanchez readily admits he feels more than just a sports connection with Mexico: He’s rooting for the team because he loves the country.

And even if the reverse isn’t true – that he’s booing the opposition because he doesn’t particularly care for the U.S. – why are we the only country where this seems to happen?

The likely answers aren’t exactly comforting.

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