Sunday, September 24, 2006

U!S!A! no longer dominates international sport

So I watched the final day of the Ryder Cup today. As the Europeans finished crushing the American squad I realized I haven't seen an American team win an international competition in a long time. Here, a recap of the United States' performance in recent compeititions.

Baseball. The first of a few sports invented in America in which we can no longer defeat foreigners. In May the first "World Baseball Classic" was played. It featured the best professional athletes each playing for his home country. While favored to win, the US was defeated in the second round robin round, finishing 8th overall. Ahead of them, Japan, Cuba, Korea, and the Dominican Republic.

Soccer. A sport that has only recently became popular in the United States. It is no surprise America didn't win the 2006 World Cup, but many had hoped for more than one American score.

Basketball. Created fairly recently here in the US of A. Massive number of talented Americans. Defeated in the semifinals of the World Basketball Championship by a Greek squad lead by Michalis Kakiouzis. Spain won the championship.

Golf. Today, a talented United States squad lead by the top 3 golfers worldwide were defeated in the top International team golf competition, the Ryder Cup. The United States has now lost 4 of the last 5 contests between a team of US players, and team from the European Union. Pathetic.

Tennis. The largest international competition is the Davis Cup, which is played every year. Today, Russia defeated the United States in the semifinal match. While America has captured the cup the most number of times, we haven't done so since 1995.

Sailing. Here's one we should win. Heck, the competition is called, "America's Cup". And indeed, from 1851 to 1980 America never lost the cup. However in 1983 a team of Americans lost the cup to Australia and we have never regained our dominance. In the most recent competition a team from Switzerland captured the cup from Team New Zealand. The next competition is in 2007.

Hockey. A sport more favored by our neighbors to the North. Still, we've been the best team in the world in the past. In 2006, Sweden captured both the Olympic Gold Medal and the Men's World Ice Hockey Championship.

So what do we have? Looking a wikipedia's "List of world cups and world championships" USA appears only under "FIFA World Basketball Championship for Women". Their solid fundamentals make up for the lack of dunking. There's even a American Football World Cup. Current champion, Japan.

I prefer to blame our lack of a good fight song for our current woes. Most other countries have atleast one, if not many, great fight songs for their international soccer and curling matches. The steady chants of U!S!A! no longer inspire our athletes to band together. We need something to remind us that while we have great talent, its teamwork that allows Greece to beat us at our own game. I leave it to our world renowned musicians to create for us such a song. It should be as easy to play on an ukalalee as a fiddle. You should be able to sing it drunk or sober, young or old. And it should be inspiring.