Sunday, July 17, 2011

Last Bastion

Patriotism is the last bastion of a scoundrel----- Samuel Johnson, and Lisa Simpson

Today the country of my birth the grand old USA play Japan in the Women's World Cup final. I will not be watching, nor do I have a rooting interest in the game. As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, I am a fan of Sweden. That means all of their teams no matter what sport, and no matter how awful they may be at it.  This disloyalty to the nation of my birth has caused me to branded a traitor, and I have gotten quite a bit of stick about it. I grow weary of it.

To set the record straight I became a Sweden fan in 1994 when they finished third in the World Cup held in America. It was also the beginning of my obsessive man love for Henrik Larsson. I have held by that choice for almost 17 years, and I am not going to abandon it anytime soon.  I watched us fail to qualify for the 1998 World Cup, the 2010 World Cup, and watched us get blasted out of the 2002 World Cup by Senegal at what was 3 a.m. to me, I watched us lose to the stinking Germans in the 2006 World Cup, and I am hopeful of our qualification for the 2012 Euros, and the 2014 World Cup as well.  They are my team, they will remain my team, and the fact, which I had nothing to do with by the way, that I was born in the United States will not change that. 

I do not now, or have ever possessed the ability to pull up stakes and move to Sweden. If I did, it is possible I would. However, I think you can still root for whatever team you choose. Call me crazy but I thought that was one of those 'individual freedoms' Americans like to bang on about. An accident of birth should not trump calm reflection, and personal choice. I will not root against America (except for when they play Sweden), but there is nothing in my makeup that makes me want to root for them.  I like to think this makes me the type of person who has the courage of his convictions, but it seems into today's jingoistic climate it makes me something akin to Quisling. So be it.

I have spurned several invitations to 'come to the pub, and watch the game' for several reasons. One, my team played, and won their game yesterday, two the place will be packed, and three it will be packed with 'fly by night, only root for the US when they are winning' type of fans. I was at the pub when Sweden lost to Japan, and I had to suffer one or two particularly obnoxious American fans that just wanted to talk to me (while I was wearing a Swedish jersey) about the American team. New flash genius, I give fuck all about the US team period, and I CERTAINLY give fuck all about them when Sweden is playing, and when Sweden are losing I can get murderous.

This brings me to the main reason for my absence at the pub, I have the common decency not to go out in public and root against the US, for given the way I have been hazed lately, that is surely what I would do.  I am not watching the game, and really do not care who wins. I am sure the US will win, and we will be bombarded by how they are the greatest team in the history of the sport, and they should all receive the keys to the kingdom Sure they are good, they are the number one ranked team in the world, which in my opinion, means maybe they SHOULD win.  Sweden finished third, and that makes me proud, it is probably about as best as we were ever going to do, and therefore I accept that. I accept my traitor status, but I also remember one thing.  Sweden 2 USA 1. 

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