(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson via http://www.al.com/sports)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson via http://www.al.com/sports)

My wife and I were watching the FIFA World Cup* pre-show and they panned to the large crowd of fans. There was more red, white, blue stars and stripes action in Vancouver where the game took place than during yesterday’s Independence Day celebrations across the U.S.

The camera focused in on an guy (woman?) dressed as a giant American Bald Eagle chanting “USA! USA!”  We stared for a moment then spontaneously laughed at the same time. But, then I began to feel sorry for other countries that have sporting events, which is a lot of them (apparently) because other countries probably ONLY have flags or those foam fingers. Or, are those American too?  Foam fingers, I mean. I’m pretty sure even those countries we’ve never heard of have a flag.**

“What do sports fans in other countries dress up as?” I asked my wife ethnocentrically. (Speaking in an ethnocentric tone would be difficult for most, but I’m a native. BTW: Spell check states ethnocentircally isn’t a word. Maybe my Microsoft Word program is UK based.)

“Most people don’t dress up. That’s kind of an obnoxious American thing.”  She didn’t use the word obnoxious, but I felt it was implied.

“That’s because they don’t have cool mascots like Uncle Sam and The American Bald Eagle.” I think it’s appropriate to capitalize all three words of American Bald Eagle in this context, but maybe I’m just on a patriotic high lately. Which is another way of saying I’m American.

“I mean, a bearded guy in a colorful hat and a bird? Those were million dollar ideas. It’s a shame we didn’t go with Ben Franklin’s idea of a turkey as the national bird. How awesome would it be to see a red/white/blue turkey shouting ‘GO USA!’

USA! USA! (I couldn’t find a red/white/blue one and was too lazy to make one.)

“I mean, what would Canadians even dress up as? Maple leaves? And there are Mounties. Would that be disrespectful – or legal? Beavers!  ‘Hi, I’m a beaver and this is my wife the red and white loon. Our kids are dressed up as maple leaf and a Mountie. They’re holding our place in the Poutine line.'” (I believe it’s a show of respect to capitalize a national food in Canada.)

My wife looked at me, but didn’t answer. She was probably too busy thinking how lucky she is to be in the States so that she doesn’t have to wave a beaver tail covered in syrup anymore at sporting events.

The score is 2,0 as of this typing and now I feel sorry for Japan. They’re all my height.  I try to cheer them on a little bit – “Go Japan! Go Japan!”

Yeah, doesn’t have the same ring to it and now I feel sorry for other countries that don’t have cool initials.  So, I somewhat reluctantly chant for my own country again.

Never let it be said I’m not patriotic.***


*I wanted to just put “women’s soccer thing”, but my wife insists that “FIFA World Cup” is a better way of saying it.

**I wouldn’t recommend Googling “does everyone have a foam finger.”)

***Here’s the cake I made for the family Fourth of July celebration yesterday. I thought the pink sprinkles were red and once you start down that pat it’s just one wrong fork in the road turn to a sparkling princess pony theme.

Happy Birthday America.    Happy Birthday America.

P.S.  One of the sports newscasters just said, “I’m so excited right now I feel like I’m American.” Pretty much sums it up. I’m thinking of sending her a foam finger.