Joel Reichenberger: No magic moment
June 20, 2010
Steamboat Springs — I'll be the first to admit I'm a soccer poser.
If the topic were snowboarding, I'd be waiting at the bottom of the mountain, scared of the lift but with a blinged-out coat, a vocabulary that included the term "McTwist" and some guy named Shaun on my speed dial.
The only level on which I follow soccer is high school where I frequently cover the Steamboat Springs boys and girls teams.
But there I was Friday morning, with a sizzling stovetop full of breakfast and friends over to watch the United States' big game against Slovenia.
Friends were raving after the game, first about the hosing our countrymen received at the hands of an African official who denied a goal, then later about the tremendous accomplishment our team achieved in coming back from a 2-0 deficit.
With regard to the first atrocity, I shrugged. I was checking my e-mail when one of the game's four goals went in and cooking scrambled eggs when the other two did, which means that morning alone I missed a fair percentage of all goals scored in this year's World Cup.
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Seeing another called back seemed par for the course.
I've seen some contend that Friday's game either was or could have been the kind of defining experience that finally turned us all into soccer fans in the years between World Cups.
I remain unconvinced.
Those are great moments, aren't they? The ones that make you realize, "This is why I watch."
I have some. Last year's Wimbledon final was one, where Andy Roddick left everything he had on the court against Roger Federer and still lost in an epic fifth set.
Another match was the 2005 U.S. Open quarterfinals, Andre Agassi's last, where he prevailed in a wonderful match against James Blake.
Other examples of mine are the 2007 Fiesta Bowl when Boise State pulled out all the stops to top Oklahoma, or even the 2006 Rose Bowl where Vince Young defeated the University of Southern California.
Those are all sporting events where I thought, "This is why I love sports."
I never felt that way Friday, even in the moment it seemed like the United States had beaten incalculable odds to win the game after falling in a 2-0 hole.
The United States entered the game heavily favored, so there was no "Boise" or "Andy" effect of David fighting Goliath. No one player was superhuman, so there were no "Agassi" or "Young" elements, either.
Maybe I'll get there someday. Maybe it will be Wednesday when I sit down to watch more soccer, or in a later round when the odds are more stacked against us.
Or maybe not.
But that's all right.
I'll tune in the TV, tune out the buzzing horns and watch.
It hasn't been magical yet, but it's been fun. Try enough times and you eventually get a game you'll never forget.