US vs. Mexico in Soccer. Get Over Your Whiny Selves.

On Saturday, June 25th, the Mexican National soccer team came to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to play the US National Team for the Gold Cup Championship. After spotting the US a 2 goal lead early in the game, the Mexicans roared back with 4 unanswered goals to win 4 – 2.

After the game, the talk has not been as much about the US losing, but the fans and the ceremonies after the game.

Over ninety three thousand fans attended the game, most of them rooting for Mexico. Their support turned a game on American soil to a home game for the Mexican team.

Predictably, some people are upset by this:

Mexico was the “home team” for the largely Hispanic crowd. America’s national anthem got no respect: Air horns blared. And once the game started, the U.S. team was constantly booed. Every goal by Mexico’s team drew shouts of “Ole!”

If the American National Anthem “got no respect,” we have no one to blame but ourselves. It was not the Mexican fans who decided that listening to talking heads in a studio is more important that hearing the National Anthem played before a game on television. It was not the Mexican fans who decreed that more commercials outweighed the National Anthem. It was not the Mexican fans who turned our National Anthem into what often appears to be a bad try-out for “American Idol.” It is not the Mexican fans that sing the anthem in such a way that no one in the crowd can sing with them. An example of this is the Whitney Houston version at the 1991 Super Bowl. People hailed it as “amazing,” “wonderful,” and disturbingly “the best version of the anthem ever.” Houston’s abomination was preceded by Marvin Gaye’s 1983 abomination at the NBA All Star game which has been declared as the “sexiest version of the anthem ever.”

The Mexican fans’ disrespect of the National Anthem was merely a continuation of the flippancy and irreverence that we have shown the Anthem over the years.

We have no one to blame but ourselves for the way the National Anthem of the United States of America is treated.

After the game, the awards ceremony was conducted in Spanish. US goalie Tim Howard was not too pleased about the choice of language.

“CONCACAF should be ashamed of themselves,” Howard said. “I think it was a [expletive] disgrace that the entire postmatch ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your ass that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn’t be all in English.

We are willing to say that part of Howard’s frustration is due to him looking behind his back and seeing four soccer balls nestled into the net, placed there by the Mexican team. As it is Howard’s job to prevent those balls from being there, we can sympathize with his anger.

No, wait.

We can’t.

To understand why, we need to go back in time to June 19, 1936 when American heavyweight boxer Joe Louis fought German heavyweight Max Schmeling. The fight was not only a sporting event, it had social impact as well. Louis was seen as the independent, self reliant black man at a time when the Klu Klux Klan was still terrorizing blacks in the southern states. Louis had a huge following amongst Americans – both black and white. Schmeling, on the other hand, represented the best the Germans had to offer. While Schmeling was a-political, the Nazi’s used him as evidence of Aryan superiority.

When Schmeling knocked Louis out in the twelfth round, Nazi Germany rejoiced. Americans were stunned.

Louis, to his credit, did what all true Americans did – he worked to get better. Lewis was not content to let the loss to Schmeling stand.

In 1938, the two fought again. Prior to the fight, Louis was asked about Schmeling’s speed in the ring, and his ability to punch and move away. It was this tactic that had lead to Louis being knocked out.

“He can run but he cannot hide,” was Louis’ famous reply.

In the rematch on June 22, 1938, Schmeling did not make it out of the first round. Louis pummeled Schmeling to the point where Schmeling’s corner literally threw in a towel to help signify the end of the fight. Louis threw 41 punches of which 31 landed. Schmeling threw only two punches. Schmeling was sent to the hospital because of the battering he took.

The difference between Lewis and US goalie Howard is striking. Louis personified what is the American spirit. When he was knocked down, (literally and figuratively) he got up, worked hard, got better and became a champion. Howard, on the other hand, is complaining about the language used in an award ceremony.

Here’s a tip for Howard – if you want to have the whole ceremony in English, win. That is all you have to do. As in most things in life, the winners dictate the terms. If you win and the ceremony is conducted in anything other than English, you have every right to say “we aren’t doing this,” and walk away until the ceremony is conducted in English.

Instead, your whining about the use of Spanish comes across as being petty and the actions of a sore loser.

Whether it be a “disrespected” National Anthem, a stadium full of rival fans, or losing a title game, for the most part we get what we deserve.

So as an American, if you want to beat someone on a playing field or in a job, get better. If you want to see a stadium full of American flags and fans chanting “U-S-A!” go buy a ticket. If you want to stop seeing the National Anthem disrespected, let your displeasure with every singer that butchers the song be known. Let every station and network that fails to show the National Anthem before a sporting event know that you won’t have the anthem displaced by a beer commercial.

We are not guaranteed anything in life and until we get back to the work ethic of a Joe Lewis and of what has become known as “the greatest generation,” we will all continue to suffer through the embarrassing whining of the US Soccer Team and others.

The time to decide is now.

Who do you want to be: the whiny little wimp? Or the embodiment of American pride and spirit?

4 Responses to “US vs. Mexico in Soccer. Get Over Your Whiny Selves.”

  1. Joe American says:

    Say what you like, the mexicans disrespected our anthem due to the fact that they don’t like us very much. This country, which they keep coming to and can’t seem to stay out of, and won’t do anything to keep them out, and lets them mooch off of our system, yet they hate it so bad and it is so terrible. Well if it’s so bad, why the hell do they come here? If they want to come here, they need to do it LEGALLY, abide by our laws, assymilate into our way of life, and honor our values and way of life, or GO THE HELL HOME!!!

    • AAfterwit says:

      Okay Joe, if we as a country – as Americans – do not respect our flag, our anthem, etc, how can we then demand that others respect it?

      That is my point.

      We need to take back what is ours. We need to demonstrate that we aren’t going to allow the disrespect of the anthem by not disrespecting it ourselves. No other country I know of allows people to use the national anthem as a “American Idol” moment to show how much of a range, “style” or “sexiness” they can add to the anthem.

      Only we as “Americans” do that.

      We wonder why other nationalities disrespect our anthem but yet we passively allow Americans to do the same.

      The national anthem is pure American ideals. The words were written by rather common man – a lawyer, poet and author – after offering himself in exchange for another person – a doctor – on an enemy ship. When neither man was released, Key watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the deck of that same enemy ship. The guns of the fort were too small to reach the ships firing upon it and yet the men inside the fort never wavered, never bent, never fell.

      Upon the next morning, the fort was still there, defiantly saying “you are still not entering this harbor.”

      Francis Scott Key wrote about what he saw – the gallantry of the men within the fort and their brazenness in flying the biggest American flag ever made to that point in time.

      Think about it because I have sat on the ramparts of Fort McHenry many times and wondered what it took to withstand that bombardment and then thumb one’s nose back at those attacking you. It took the American spirit. It took the idea that we are down, but we are never out. It took the idea of “is that all you got?”

      Later the words were put to music – not music written specially for the anthem. The music was not commissioned by some great composer.

      The music was a popular tavern song of the time.

      Think about that. Our anthem was written by a selfless friend, watching a defense that should never have happened by men who refused to give up and then those words were put to a song from a tavern.

      What is more American than that?

      I fear you have taken this post to be an excuse for the behaviour of some. It is not. It is a condemnation and a call to arms.

      I am sick of seeing Americans treat the national anthem like dirt.

      Until we, as Americans, take back what is OUR anthem from those who use it to promote themselves and not the country, we have no real right to complain when others disrespect the anthem.

      This post is a call to arms.

      It is time to reclaim the anthem, the flag, and rekindle the American spirit.

  2. Steve Bussey says:

    I guess it is hard to know what language the ceremony would have been in had the US won because they didn’t win. And, your piece might be more relevant had this occurred in a vacuumn, but it didn’t. It occurred with organizations calling for the reconquista of the American Southwest, the entire illegal immigration debate, hispanic students taking down American flags at California schools and replacing it with the Mexican flag and a similar incident that happened in about 1993. Is it traditional to hold an award ceremony in the language of the host nation or the winning team? I don’t know but bet that I’ll check. Even the Olympics at least play the different national anthems of the 3 medal winners.

    • AAfterwit says:

      The relevance is that we allow people to take down the flag.

      That has to stop.

      We allow people to be disrespectful to the anthem. We have to stop that by first being respectful of the flag as Americans. We need to reclaim the dignity of the anthem by first showing respect ourselves.

      As to the ceremony, the US was not the host nation – we hosted the final. All I am saying is that if you want to make conditions, go out and win because otherwise it sounds like sour grapes.