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Saturday, July 25, 2009

America Loves a Winner....or how I learned to stop worrying and embrace the failed breakaway

Cycling & Soccer, both huge in Europe, are somewhat tepidly embraced by the U.S. sporting public- and that's only if an American/American team is doing well in them. Something in those sports doesn't translate to the U.S. viewing audience.
From my own experience- I started watching Le Tour for Lance and only then realized that he was taking an american approach to the race - while those europeans embraced their tragic losers & fallen heros.
What is it that gets lost in translation? One would think sport is sport and it transcends culture. But those europeans love their scoreless ties in soccer, their Jan Ullrichs', Carlos Sastres', tragic, beautiful, futile breakaways spilling guts down the road.
Maybe it's because we are the world's only superpower, we only respect #1, the winners, the champions. It seems to be a healthier attitude to embrace the humanity in sport, the failure, the loser, the trying & not succeeding. Life is full of much more trying & failing than winning going away.
At least that's my half glass analysis (truthfully, 3.5 beer analysis) - Lil


  1. I think part of the reason American's always love a winner is because so many people in their own lives want to be 'winners'. They have deadend jobs, marriages w/ 2.5 kids, a minivan and debt from trying to keep up with the neighbors.
    Some may feel that if they cheer for the 'winner' or are fans of 'winners' it will make them one or at least happy.
    If people would just make their own decisions instead of following the herd, maybe they would find out what a 'winner' truely is.
    This is kind of deep post Lilly, I think the 3.5 beers must have helped.

  2. I think there is a certain amount of truth to this, although I would have put it at more that 3.5 beers.
    However, as a fan of the KC Royals, and married to an Orioles fan, I can vouch for the fact that not everyone picks the easy winner....

  3. The fact that there were people that went to Detriot Lion games last year (most probably cheering for the other team) shows that not everyone backs the sure winner. But it is amazing how many Yankee fans or Patriot fans come out of the woodwork. Heck, there were even people claiming to cheer for the Arizona Cardnals this winter!

  4. I think I should clarify my beer-enhanced thoughts.
    In my mind it's one thing to be a fan of a team (win or lose) and there are plenty of those all over the world.
    And I also think its natural to cheer for a winner.
    But I was trying to explain how there is a respect/admiration for the trying & failing in cycling that I don't see in more "espn'ed" sports. It's about the process more than the result.
    Its not about picking a winner (or picking a loser) -to me its more about respect of the effort/sport/athlete.