George’s post earlier today on using athletics to unite a country got me thinking: why don’t international sports ever unite Americans. Of course, this is feeling is apparent now because of the World Cup, but even in sports that Americans typically like I just don’t think we care. For example, no one could even care in the US that we have been dethroned in nearly every major international competition. Even with popular American sports like basketball and baseball. Now compare that to the feeling of heartbreak and jubilation that will be felt in England and France—respectively—tonight.
The only international competition that gets any TV market share here is the summer Olympics. But even for that, only individual sports that feature charismatic young women—like women’s gymnastics—are excitedly watched.
I’m not really sure why this is the case. Or why I find it so hard to root for any American team internationally, but it definitely seems to be a trend across a variety of team sports. I can think of individual excuses for each sport like in basketball, I don’t care much for whiny all-stars that think they are better than everyone else or in soccer, it is just hard to get behind a team that no one else cares about. But is there a wider reason for this trend? Do we just not like sports that we aren’t guaranteed to win at? Do we just not really care much for America? I don’t know, but I bet it has something to do with all of these.