As you all know by now, Landon Donovan proved today that he is the most important soccer player in the U.S. His endurance, intelligence, and athletic prowess allowed him to initiate — and finish — the game-winning play in the 92nd minute of the U.S. match against Algeria. The U.S. didn’t just win the match, they placed first in their group for the first time in 80 years. They advanced to the second round of the World Cup.
I know a lot of you aren’t rabid World Cup followers like we are, but those of you who have been watching some of the matches might understand just how wasted Andy and I are tonight. Today’s match took a lot out of us. I’ve never been so tense during a sporting event and that includes ones that I actually participated in. I thought I was going to throw up. To go almost 92 minutes without scoring was a nightmare. But, when Donovan hit that goal, I flew straight into the air, like I had little rockets attached to the back of my legs. And then, of course, there was a lot of screaming and hugs and high fives and disbelief that the goal was not disallowed. The score on the TV screen said 1-0. It really happened. The six of us watching the match together were in a state of ecstatic shock.
Immediately after the match, a reporter approached Donovan to interview him and Donovan had to work pretty hard to keep from bursting into tears. I loved Donovan for scoring that goal. I loved him even more for crying. And, I still love him, even though he kept his shirt on after the match.
Please forgive me, dear readers, for being absent from this space. The World Cup has taken up a remarkable amount of our free time. It’s gross how much TV we’ve watched. But, the game is still beautiful and has moved me to tears multiple times. I’ve also yelled obscenities at refs who miss calls or take away goals that look legitimate, and at players who flop or intentionally injure other players. I’ve made fun of players’ haircuts and jerseys, mercilessly. That freaky little dance the Slovenians do after scoring a goal where they put their hands up in the air and move their fingers around like they’re twinkling stars or floating seeds from dandelion puffs? Skewered it and the players for doing it. In other words, I’ve had a ball.
Thank you, FIFA.
Thank you, Landon Donovan, my hero.