While the rest of the world usually waits in heightened anticipation for the World Cup Draw, in America its basically a few drunk guys in some near mid-town Manhattan checking it out from a muted TV behind the bar... However, next years World Cup in South Africa is starting to feel like something more than a couple of American fans may get behind - and today's draw was hyped up on SportsCenter last night and aired live with a cool flash seeding chart on espn.com today.
Is it possible that David Beckham was actually worth the obscene payday and that his mere presence in our country has raise a national level of consciousness?!?!
While Becks may have something to do with it, the increased interest in the sport is probably the result of a variety of factors, including the ability for the MLS to continue growing in various markets, an influx of immigrants from the soccer friendly regions of Latin America & Europe and because every kid growing up 15 years ago actually played the sport - and not this thing that old men talk about called stickball.
With today's draw, the US team has landed in an early foursome with Algeria & Slovenia - two countries that 99.9% of American's could not possibly come close to finding on a map. But luckily those two are really playing the role of Brandt Jobe & Frank Lickliter, paired up in an opening group at the PGA Championship with Tiger & Phil. No one really came here to see them and no one will ever remember them, unless they pull off the sports most shocking upset.
However, everybody will be following Tiger & Phil - including all the fans in the gallery, which is exactly what the selection committee had in mind when somehow England & the US ended up together in the same foursome. While I would usually be happy to call the US the Tiger in this pairing, recent events make that slightly less than flattering (particularly the thought of Norway bombing us back to the stone age), but the metaphor must persist as we are still the dominant world superpower, a little bruised but still on top - while England is the great second place finisher, classy, nice, with floppy hair and occasionally pulling off something great.
I'll be rooting for the US in this one and just hope that we get the chance to shoot off fireworks a second next summer in celebration of kicking the Brit's ass again. Whatever the outcome, its a great setup for sports fans and should provide for a very fun atmosphere in South Africa and in surly pubs across America.