Japan defeats US in Women’s World Cup – SoccerTuesday, July 19, 2011 21:55
The US soccer team’s run to the Women’s World Cup Final was a sports rallying cry unlike any we have seen in a long time, despite the loss.
Where Were You?
So the US lost to Japan in the Women’s World Cup Final, and while I was disappointed in the outcome, I can’t feel bad. After all, the US already has two World Cup victories and is one of the top-ranked countries in the world; for Japan, this is not only the first Cup, but a much needed rallying point for a nation trying to recover from a devastating 9.0 earthquake, the subsequent tsunami, and nuclear plant problems.
For me, the game provided one of the more surreal and amazing sports viewing experiences of my life.
Driving back from visiting friends in Sonoma, my wife and I stopped at the Harris Ranch in Coalinga, one of the few edible restaurants along the 5 Freeway in California’s Central Valley for those who avoid the bland insult to cuisine that are the corporate chain eateries. As my wife and I left lunch, I recalled the game (which I had wanted to watch if not for my trip home) and pulled out my iPhone to check the score. Waiting for my sports app to load, I came upon the bar. Everyone–men, women, children, people of all races–both in the bar and in the hall outside it stood watching the penalty kicks in rapt attention.
I would venture to say that a vasty majority of these people had never watched a soccer game or women’s sports outside of tennis and the Olympics. But for that brief moment in time, every single one of them could not have been more entranced.
The unspoken camaraderie, the quiet rallying behind the US women, was, in a word, thrilling. The closest thing I can relate it to is what I’ve heard described about the Miracle on Ice (alas before my own memories). With all of the Miracle’s political implications sailing on top of being a huge upset, this World Cup Final could never have the same import as that game–at least not in the US, maybe for Japan–but the way people stopped what they were and simply watched bears similarity.
Sadly, the loss means the 2011 Women’s World Cup Final will not be one of those “Where Were You?” moments in the United States, but I will always remember where I was.
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