It was imperfectly odd. It was strangely unsettling. It was uniquely American.
On a balmy early Saturday summer evening, the U.S soccer team played for a prestigious championship in a U.S. stadium … and was smothered in boos.Its fans were vastly outnumbered.Its goalkeeper was bathed in a chanted obscenity. Even its national anthem was filled with the blowing of air horns and bouncing of beach balls.
Most of these hostile visitors didn't live in another country. Most, in fact, were not visitors at all, many of them being U.S. residents whose lives are here but whose sporting souls remain elsewhere.
Welcome to another unveiling of that social portrait known as a U.S.-Mexico soccer match, streaked as always in deep colors of red, white, blue, green … and gray.
"I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I'm proud to be part of it," said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. "But yet, I didn't have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be."
... Rather amazingly, the Mexico fans kept bouncing and cheering under headbands and sombreros, nobody moving an inch, the giant Rose Bowl jammed for a postgame trophy ceremony for perhaps the first time in its history.
And, yes, when the U.S. team was announced one final time, it was once again booed.
"We're not booing the country, we're booing the team," Sanchez said. "There is a big difference."
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Cheers, Boos, Mexico, and the United States
Bill Plaschke writes in The Los Angeles Times: