There’s an unfair accusation in Europe that Americans don’t know anything about football. Actually, we freakin’ love football. Not only did we invent football, but we’re the best in the world at it, thanks to the Brady brothers. C’mon, who doesn’t love throwing around a pigskin with their brochachos next to a Bud Lite? Nobody. It’s the American Dream.
Wait—what? I just checked out the Icelandic football team. What the hell is wrong with all of you? That’s not football. Where’s the padding? The defensive line? The quarterback? I knew this country was backwards but I didn’t know it was full of idiots.
IT’S CALLED SOCCER
I’m obviously joking. I understand that outside of the freest country of all time, they call what is clearly soccer ‘football’. It makes no sense, though. The word ‘football’ clearly conjures up images of throwing an oval-shaped leather object with one’s hands, not kicking a ball around with your foot. God, do the Americans have to Normandy y’all again to save you from this Tom-(Brady)-foolery?
Once again, I am joking. I have no idea where the word ‘soccer’ comes from and I understand that, like our Electoral College, it makes no sense. So go ridicule us on Twitter using your iPhone in your Nikes. We’ll just be over here with our AR-15s and meth.
The plight of the winner
Anyway, I was lucky enough to live in Reykjavík during the 2016 Euro Cup, so I got to experience that incredible swell of national pride first hand. That last minute Iceland-Austria goal, the jaw-dropping smiting of England—it was big. People ran in the streets and hugged strangers. I cried. It was unlike anything I had seen in America. People actually cared.
The thing about America is that, like DJ Khaled and Donald Trump, all we do is win. We win everything, so much so that it becomes meaningless and no one gets emotionally involved. Unless you’re a one-in-a-trillion athlete like Michael Phelps, I would seriously claim that American society got more shook by Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy than any international sports victory. We’re just used to being good at stuff. It’s cocky, but true.
A big fucking deal
Iceland though, doesn’t always win, so when a team makes an international tournament, it’s a big fucking deal. People get impassioned and everyone—hipsters, loners, goths and intellectuals, alike—stop to watch. There is no American equivalent.
For me, I love this whole “getting into sports” thing. It’s wonderful to have an emotional attachment and actually care about the results and have it intrinsically mean something. Whether Iceland wins or not, this is a watershed moment. This is Icelanders showing their stuff to their world. This is acceptable nationalism, and I am here for it.
That said, I am still American, so if Iceland loses, I will make like a true MAGA peep and sue the motherfucking pants off FIFA because clearly the game was rigged. Like our election.