This may come as a surprise to most, but today I actually watched a soccer game!! OMG!!
In all honesty, I actually watched MOST of a soccer game. I took a 50-minute break in between the Women’s World Cup game between the United States and North Korea. I know you’ll be shocked, but I did not miss a goal in my absence.
But that’s not the point of this column. I could write a novel about why soccer is not exciting to watch, but what got me is color commentator Julie Foudy continuous use of the word “We.”
There was a constant stream of “We’re passing the ball well, er, the US is passing the ball well,” “We need to, um, the US needs to defend the corners,” “These points are important to our, um, their chances to advance.”
Foudy is a former US soccer player and a captain of the US national team, so I can understand the bond she has with this team. And while she’s in the media and is supposed to be independent and unbiased, I will forgive her connection with the team and her use of the word “We.”
Fans, on the other hand, are a different story. When watching a game with people, I am always amazed, and usually perturbed, by fans’ commentary and their use of “We.”
“This is a big play for us.” “What are we doing on offense?” “Why can’t we run the ball?” “Damnit, Les, you’re ruining our team.”
Do you put on a helmet and uniform each week? Do you practice with the team? If the team wins the BCS, Super Bowl, World Series or whatever, do you get a ring? No? Then you’re not a We.
I understand the connection people have with sports. Unless you’ve not watched TV in the past decade, you’ve seen the countless stories about the bond the city of New Orleans has with the Saints, and despite living 500 miles away from the Big Easy, my 24 years in Louisiana will attest to that claim.
Still, I’m not a We.
I am not a member of the New Orleans Saints. Chances are, I never will be (But if you’re reading this coach Payton, I can be one hell of a water boy for you). Therefore, I have no business calling myself a We.
We, as fans not players, need to understand the difference between 300-pound football players and 300-pound football watchers. We, as fans, need to develop at least some sort of separation between ourselves and our teams.
If you look up “Pot calling kettle black” on google, that last sentence will be your first hit.
I am guilty of this beyond belief. During a game, I am Drew Brees. I am Les Miles. I am Jordan Jefferson (with maybe a stronger arm). I am LSU and the Saints, but I shouldn’t be, and I acknowledge this. (Acknowledgment is the first step toward recovery, right?)
I know that disassociating yourself from your team is hard, nearly impossible, so exceptions can be made.
If you cry when your team loses in triple-overtime to a terrible team, you can use We. If you want to march down your wedding aisle to your team’s fight song, you can use We. If you paint your face, or better yet your chest, team colors because you’ve got to support the team, you can use We.
But only temporarily. Because while it’s impossible to disconnect from your team during the three hours it’s on the field, after the game is over, fans need to return to their normal lives at their normal jobs that are not on their team’s staff.
After all, if there’s one thing Obama taught us, it’s “Yes WE can!”