So this past weekend all eyes were on the USA vs. Brazil finals in the Confederation Cup in South Africa...Team USA looked like the team of destiny, pursuing a streak deemed as impossible as the 1980 US hockey team's immortal run to the gold medal.
After ending Spain's 35-game unbeaten streak, the USA took an improbable and seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead at halftime...but those two goals looked more like flukes, as Brazil in the second half scored 3 (ok, really 4 goals but the refs screwed Brazil on what should've been another goal) to prove their unquestioned dominance.
And in the end, was there really any doubt? I mean seriously, soccer just isn't and never will be an American sport. Occasionally we can muster up enough talent in a few players to surprise teams that don't take team USA seriously and catch them off-guard, like when USA beat Spain to reach the finals to begin with.
But there was a second championship also given out this past weekend that didn't garner nearly as much attention, but was more impressive.
Team Ericsson 4, skippered by Brazilian captain Torben Grael, completed the Volvo Ocean Race (a round-the-world sailing competition that began last August), edging out Puma's Il Mostro, the American boat in the race skippered by Boston native Ken Read.
Why is this more impressive?
Soccer isn't our sport...but sailing is. There's a reason why it's called the America's Cup, even if the cup has been in the possession of New Zealand and now Switzerland since 1992, the oldest international organized sporting competition (starting in 1832) was always America's trophy to lose...And it wasn't until 1984 that the United States actually lost it. That's over 150 years of dominating an international sporting competition.
Sailing is the sport that the United States has dominated in for almost two centuries. Accept that the rest of the world is better than us at soccer, and don't be surprised when Team USA consistently gets torched...but revel when they catch somebody better off guard and win one.
But the rise of international competition in the long-American dominated arena of competitive sailing is worrysome, and this weekend Brazilian Torben Grael completed the Brazilian team's complete domination of the worldwide ocean race, with the Americans finishing second...just like down in South Africa at the Confederation Cup.
Yup, Brazil embarrased the USA not once but twice this past weekend winning championships on an international stage.
Congratulations Brazil on winning the Confederation Cup AND the Volvo Ocean Race...While most people only know of the one, and perhaps that's better, since they both hurt.
The question now is where will Brazil finish off the trifecta?
Team Brazil - 2009 Confederation Cup Champions
Ericsson 4 (Brazil) - 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race Champions