TangentI have about twenty topics for this week, so of course I'm going to go sideways and talk about the Women's World Cup Final yesterday.
I admit it: I was rooting for Japan. Hard.
I'm an underdog guy--the bigger the underdog, the more I root for them. And Japan was a huge underdog in the final.
Ironically, if all the coverage you saw was from the U.S. media (particularly ESPN), you wouldn't have known Japan was the underdog. Even thought the United States was the #1 ranked team in the world, it was never mentioned. Every story was about the "plucky", "courageous" U.S. team fighting against the odds.
It wasn't as compelling a story to say "The U.S. team are overwhelming favorites to win with the elimination of Germany," so everyone just pretended.
ESPN, in particular, has now abandoned any pretense of journalistic accuracy. Whatever they have the rights to is the biggest story of the day, and if that story isn't as interesting as it could be, they just make shit up.
It was particularly annoying in this case, because the U.S. Women's team was a nice story without blowing it up to ridiculous and entirely inaccurate proportions.
We have this disease in America called "hero-itis." Everything has to be heroic. It's the most overused meme imaginable (along with "patriotism"), and every story has to be bent to fit in the heroic mug.
That's not the same size as an ordinary mug, in case you're wondering.
So while it would have been a very compelling story to ask if the U.S. team was playing tight, given their world ranking, the media tried to make them "heroes" instead.
It would be quite nice if an American team could just be a sports team, not "proudly carrying the flag" or being "the essence of American character" or whatever bullshit is the catch phrase for the day. They played very hard, they had lapses on defense, and they got tight and gakked the shootout.
No shame there. No heroism, either.