Jeff Pearlman

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A beautiful video capturing beautiful moments

I was in my car, parking at the train station. The score was 0-0, time was running out. I couldn’t believe that, after such a promising World Cup and so much talk of this being America’s best-ever soccer team, the U.S. would be eliminated in the first round.

I was about to get out of the car when the announcer became excited. The U.S. was roaring up the field. Donovan gets the rebound, and———SCOOOOOORRREEE!

Can’t remember the last time this happened, but I was pumping my fist and screaming, all alone in my vehicle. And yet, if you watch the above video, I wasn’t alone. Far from it.

These days, so much of TV is arranged and choreographed. I’m thinking specifically of American Idol, and those stupud season-ending episodes where the finalists go home. Their “fans” are screaming and holding signs—and you know they’re being instructed to scream, and that the signs were likely provided by Idol producers. In short, it’s garbage.

The reason many of us had to Donovan’s goal was real. Passionate. Euphoric. This video gave me chills. I’m guessing you’ll get them, too …

PS: To me, this video speaks loudly for the beauty of being underdogs. The reason we’ll never, ever have another Miracle on Ice in hockey? Because using professionals has killed the very idea. It couldn’t possibly be a miracle, for there’s nothing miraculous about ours pros being their pros—even if it’s Canada or Russia. The same goes for Olympic basketball. Remember how fun it was in 1984, when the U.S. team included amateurs named Jordan and Ewing and Mullin? Now, they’re all highly paid pros who expect to win. The game is still exciting, but the euphoria is missing.

  • Simply beautiful.

    I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard the “it’s only sports” mantra. Well, dammit, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, unites total strangers better than sports.

    Scan those crowds. Not a hint of status, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, blah, blah. Billions are spent each year trying to manufacture equality. This event did for free, minus the cost of a couple of beers.

    Does the why really matter as long as the uniting is happening, even if it’s only for a few hours?

  • Jim

    The world’s reaction Jeff? Seemed like mostly a lot of Americans at American bars, using the World Cup as an excuse to drink before noon.

  • Jeremy

    The irony of the underdogs is that Donovan, Dempsey, Howard and others are all millionaire pros- it does seem different than NBA & NHL stars in the Olympics though. Not sure why.
    Jeff- is there a lot of local buzz about Westchester County’s Edson Buddle?

    • Jeremy, to answer your question—I just googled Edson Buddle to see where he’s from. Turns out we’re from the same town. Oy.

  • Steve H

    Nice video….and it sure seems like the economy has rebounded if that many people across the country can take the day off from work to drink beer and watch soccer.

    Way to go Obama!

  • Joe Yalowitz

    proud to be an american..

  • Pingback: Are you ready for some more soccer? And BP’s latest solution? Paper towels! « Wide World of Stuff()

  • Jeff, thanks for sharing this video. Like you, I got the chills (and was choked up). Sent it to my whole extended family, and they loved it. Its great to see such an authentic display of unified excitement. And gotta love the guy in the basement sliding down the stairs!

  • Jim

    Will we see the concomitant video of the US losing to Ghana today Jeff? Doubtful….two words, soccer blows.

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life