Well, it was a nice run for the USA soccer team, but its World Cup hopes ended with Saturday's 2-1 loss to Ghana.
I'm not a huge soccer fan. I don't dislike the sport; in fact, I rather admire the athletes who play it. I'm just not one who will sit down and watch it on a regular basis. But it's amazing how one event, one sport, and one team can bring out the kind of interest the USA soccer team did. Everyone from blue collar workers to housewives cheered their hearts out, praying for miracles and shedding tears after the final match for the U.S.
I can't help but compare the World Cup event to the Summer or Winter Olympics. It's every four years, athletes get to represent their country in a worldwide competition, and people who aren't normally fans of this event lend their support to the team.
Will I suddenly become addicted to soccer, and watch every match I can find? Not likely. But like so many others, my heart dropped when Ghana scored what turned out to be the winning goal in overtime, and the USA Team's run came to an end. This year's World Cup has certainly given us some bittersweet memories.
February 22, 1980, was one of the most significant days in American sports history. It was the day the U.S. Olympic Men's hockey team upset the Soviet Union to put them in the finals, which they eventually went on to win, and earned a Gold Medal.
It was one of those "where were you" moments. The Russians had dominated the hockey landscape since the 60's, and none of the so-called experts gave the U.S. a chance to even give them a good game, much less knock them off.
This past Sunday, just one day before the 30th anniversary of that amazing event, the U.S. team did it again, this time upsetting Team Canada 5-3. Though the U.S. still has a way to go to win a Gold, it was almost as stunning a victory as the one in 1980. The Canadians hadn't lost to the U.S. in hockey since 1960, and Sunday's U.S. win came on the Canadians' home soil, or ice, to be more specific.
With all the problems and trials facing us in our country today, it's nice to have stories like these to keep us inspired. Yes, the problems will still be there when everyone comes home from Vancouver, but this latest "Miracle On Ice" is not only a nice distraction, it's a proud moment for our country, and the people who train hard for years to reach this moment.
The Olympics are full of many stories. Some are tragic, some emotionally heartbreaking, and others are inspiring.
Thousands of athletes from around the world spend years training, preparing, and hoping for that moment when they can have that Olympic gold. Obviously, not everyone will have that indescribable experience.
One of the things I find most interesting about the Olympics, as well as other international events and competitions, are the friendships that are forged between athletes from other countries. One such friendship that's been written about is between skiers Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. and Maria Riesch of Germany.
You've probably heard all the publicity surrounding Lindsey's badly bruised shin. But I came across an interesting article in USA Today that talks about something completely different: her strong friendship with Riesch.
Obviously, both girls want to win; anyone who is competitive could never substitute friendship for victory. But, each is rooting for the other to do well, more specifically finish second behind the other.
Check out the link below to view the entire story.