All Things Physical: Women's Soccer, Patriotism and Longing for More

A few days ago a heavy infusion of patriotism swept across the tweets and status updates of friends and people I follow. Apparently the USA did something extraordinary and I missed out on it. The Women’s World Cup was the event and the USA women’s soccer team served as our country’s representative. In short, the USA women came back from a 2-1 deficit to Brazil in dramatic fashion and then subsequently won the game in penalty kicks. The win advanced the USA into the next round of the Women’s World Cup and lit up the hearts of soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike in the US.

What strikes me about this is how many people who I’ve seen malign soccer become fans when their country is being represented and does something extraordinary. This is never more evident than when the Olympics come around. I am not a fan of curling but pit the USA against the world and I am cheering with the rest of the country. This is not such a bad thing either. Hockey has reaped some benefits from this just as soccer is now.

I was never a fan of soccer growing up because in rural Alabama life is all about American football and other culturally accepted sports. It wasn’t until I went to Samford University, where the women’s soccer team is pretty stellar, that I was introduced to how enjoyable soccer could be. Quickly, I became a fan of soccer and became good friends with the soccer girls (which was to my benefit as I would later marry one of them!).

What is great about the USA women’s victory over Brazil is that we get to share mutual enjoyment of sport with others we may not have anything in common with before. As one who loves football, I get to celebrate with soccer enthusiasts like fellow CaPC writer Drew Dixon. Even if for just a few moments, we experience solidarity with one another as we chant “USA! USA! USA!” It’s moments like these that satisfy an inward desire to be a part of something greater, that can unite masses of people who spend a lot more time in disagreement and division. At times like these I embrace patriotism with an eye towards a future that will unite all those who, in Christ, will stand before the Lord having seen the fulfillment of all joy: Jesus. Celebrate together today and look forward to the day when with Christ we will enjoy ultimate victory.

About Stewart Johnson

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