June 30, 2002

WORLD CUP INSIGHT: Reader Jonathan Singer writes:

As the World Cup draws to a close, so does the latest round of pundits hectoring Americans to care more about soccer and insisting that we are missing all sorts of crucial information about the world by ignoring the sport. In that spirit, I’d like to share the insight the tournament gave me today.

As I was heading to work in Boston (having gotten up early to watch the game and cheer on Brazil), I got stuck in a traffic jam caused by dozens of Brazilians waving flags and Ronaldo jerseys, honking and cheering. Without exception, all the Americans were honking and cheering along with them. It occurred to me that everyone I’d spoken to who knew about the game was rooting for Brazil. It’s pretty clear who we consider to be “us”.

Admittedly, Brazil is one of the hemisphere’s more likable and attractive countries. But it seems to me the EU would be a little concerned to know how much more our attention is focused south (and west) instead of east. It’s a new millennium, and there’s nobody Belgium can indict that will change that.

Yeah, I was rooting for Brazil, too, but I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I think he’s right.