We'll return you to the best, most professional, most well-written Minnesota Vikings' discussion on the internet momentarily, but I wanted to quickly touch on this since it was a pretty big deal.
I'm sure that at least some of you, and hopefully most of you, treated yourself to the final match of the Women's World Cup this afternoon. While the United States did not come out on top, it was a hell of a game all around, and as someone that really doesn't know a whole lot about soccer, I was locked in from start to finish.
While I was pulling for the U.S.A. just like many others were, I'm not terribly angered or depressed by the loss, largely because of who the loss came to, as was expressed by Bruce Raffel at Baltimore Beatdown (SB Nation's Baltimore Ravens site) before the match started today.
Japan, as a country, has spent the better part of the last few months getting kicked in the face. There was the huge tsunami and that was followed up by more earthquakes and aftershocks, all of which caused a great deal of damage to the island nation (somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 billion). They're just getting going in what's going to be a huge rebuilding process, and their women's national soccer team gave them something to rally around. The way they rallied after being down a goal on two separate occasions, scoring the equalizer with about three minutes left to go in the contest to force penalty kicks, is to be commended.
Yes, it would have been awesome for us as Americans to be able to yell "AMERICA! F*** YEAH!" for a few days, as is our wont when big things happen. But really. . .and I know this is going to offend some of our more die-hard soccer fans, so I'll apologize in advance. . .how long would it have been a big deal to us? Sure, Hope Solo could have gone on Jimmy Kimmel and Abby Wambach could have gone on Letterman to head various cuts of meat into the audience (or whatever it is that Dave does now, exactly), but after that, it probably wouldn't have been all that big a deal.
The ladies from Japan, on the other hand? They're going to be legends in their country for a very long time to come. They've provided comfort to a people that needed it when they needed it the most. They were the underdog in today's match, and they gave their country one for the ages.
And hey. . .that banner in the picture at the top? They carried that across the field before every match. How can you not love that? (And no, I don't advise that the Vikings try to make that sort of thing work. I have a weird feeling the reception might be a little different.)
So, congratulations to both sides that competed today, and here's hoping that we as Americans can fend off our disappointment, however temporary or intense it might be.