It's not quite the 4th of July, but today sure felt a lot like it. As I wandered the streets of a local city this morning, I saw red, white and blue all over in anticipation of the World Cup match between U.S.A. and England. Americans coming together for soccer. Who would have ever thunk it? If you had asked me that question 20 years ago, I would've been two years old and probably wouldn't have known what soccer was. But if I were the same age back then, I would have never believed this country could unite over a game who's professional sport 99.8% of us Americans choose to ignore exists. That clearly wasn't the case today though.
Like most Americans, I strapped on my red, white and blue attire, and intently watched the game with close friends and family. I saw us allow a goal within the first four minutes of the game. I saw us get dominated and outplayed for the most part throughout the game. I saw Clint Dempsey score one of the luckiest goals in World Cup history. And most importantly, I saw us tie. That's right England. A rich history of soccer as a national sport and past time has nothing on our primarily football (Americano), baseball and basketball sport history. That's right, the same country that produces the Seattle Sounders and the NY-NJ Red Bulls (Yeah, that's right. Our mascot is a can!) tied you in a game of futbol. That one has got to hurt. If only Altidore's late shot off the post found the back of the net. Those already insulting facts would be even more insulting. Don't get me wrong, England was the better team. But we prevailed (with a tie).
In other patriotic news, my favorite international representative, the U.S. Men's Basketball team, introduced their new uniforms for the FIBA World Championships this summer. The jerseys have a sleek, but simple look. They're not over top. They look like the type of jerseys a team wins a Gold Medal at the FIBA World Championships in. Although the rosters are not finalized, I'm pleased to see Kevin Durant modeling the uniform (no homo). This year Durant established himself as a top player in the NBA, and more importantly, now ranks tied with Dwyane Wade for my third favorite player to watch behind Lebron James and Chris Paul. And if you know me, you know that's saying something. Durant should bring a great spark to Team USA, and would be a valuable asset if James, Wade or Bosh could not play because of free agency or the "Jerry Colangelo rules".
I'm also intrigued by the fact that the new uniforms are specially designed. The shorts are about half as light as regular basketball shorts and overall the uniform has 13 inches less of fabric. Some players claim it makes them more aerodynamic - not that they really need any help in that category - but I don't know how much I buy that. Either way Team USA should look fresh as they hopefully run through the competition this summer.
To recap, it was a great day to be an American. I'm excited for the ongoing journey of Team USA in the World Cup (may they have continual ridiculous luck like they did today), and I can't wait to see the "Redeem Team" try to recapture the World Championship title that has alluded them for quite some time now, later this summer.
God Bless America.
Images taken from Yahoo! Sports & espn.com