The American Women’s Soccer team, after all that, have won gold at the 2012 Olympic games. There was just so much schadenfreude running through this game, it was kind of unbelievable. I do not think it is a stretch to say that most Canadians were not rooting for the Americans. After the events of the semifinal match, it would have been lots of fun to see the team from Japan upset the Americans, if only to see the Twitter reactions. Personally, I do not consider myself a particularly strong nationalist so, at the Olympics, I find that I generally just root to see amazing athletes do amazing things, regardless of country. Of course I prefer Canadians to win medals over others but I rarely find myself actively rooting against Olympic athletes. That being said, I was absolutely rooting for the Japanese in this game. Unfortunately, at least from my perspective, the Americans defeated the Japanese 2-1 in the final game.
However, I was surprised at myself for so actively rooting against the American Women’s Soccer team this afternoon. Admittedly, Women’s Soccer is not a sport that I had put a lot of thought into before this week, or even before the semifinal match. However, after the nature of the loss, the trash talking, the Twitter storm, that guy in the crowd today in a Captain America costume, none of these things did the Americans a lot of favour in my book. I was not alone in this, either, as the soccer corners of The Score’s offices were emitting audible sounds of disappointment with every American goal. Team sports, man, they do weird things to the mindset of sports fans.
However, despite what you think of the refereeing in the semifinal match, you cannot say that the Americas were undeserving of their gold. Yes, the call on Erin MacLeod for “time wasting” was atrocious and yes, it was a heartbreaking way to lose. But there were shades of Bill Buckner in the aftermath of the loss. After all, there were still 12 minutes left in the game when the Americans tied it against the Canadians and, in a game like that one, another goal wouldn’t have shocked anybody.
So, despite my feelings towards this American team, despite the schadenfreude and the trash talking and the Twitter, I have to recognize an extraordinary effort by an extraordinary team. As much as it absolutely pains me to do so. However, I think it’s safe to say that if the Japanese had won gold, this would have been a very different post. Journalistic ethics, yo.