“Hey man, I love your accent. Where are you from?”
“England, where are you from?”
“Me? I'm Italian”
“Really? You speak very good English for an Italian. Where were you born?”
So it begins. I'm sure you don’t need to me to detail the rest of the conversation. Needless to say the confusion comes in thick and fast from there on in. How are you Italian if you were born in Brooklyn? How are you Irish if you were born in Boston? If an Englishman is born in London, he is English. If a Frenchman is born in Paris, he is French. If you’re born in the United States of America, you are American.
It goes on; American guys will speak of how they have a new Italian shirt for the World Cup, and they will not be supporting the USA. Could you imagine an Englishman supporting Argentina, or a Dutchman supporting Germany? He would get lynched!
Taking pride in your country and following your national team at a major tournament like the World Cup should be a no brainer, yet when you speak with young soccer players they will tell you how their favourite countries are Spain, Brazil, England and Argentina.
Win, lose or draw; an English fan, a Spanish fan, a German fan will follow their country through hell, yet a USA supporter will simply pledge allegiance to another country. I cannot comprehend it.
Where is the patriotism? You’ll see it on Independence Day. The stars and stripes, the Star Spangled Banner and a hand on the heart line each and every street; town to town, city to city. You’re American on July 4th aren’t you? Of course, it’s a celebration of victory.
“What are you celebrating I ask?”
“The Independence of our nation after we kicked your English ass”
“... but you said you’re Italian. Who have the Italians got to celebrate independence from?” Cue the look of disgust.
It poses some interesting questions doesn’t it? Basically what we can draw from this is that American people support ‘their country’ when they have been, or know they are going to be successful.
I'm pretty sure no American supported Italy in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Basketball tournament? I’m also 100% certain that no proud American was fully behind Mussolini’s decision to join forces with Nazi Germany in WWII?
Italian? American? Still not sure? Show me your passport.
This is not an attack on American people; I love the people and the country. I honestly don’t think you could find a friendlier, more welcoming nation. I just want to understand why one would follow their country of birth, only when it suits?
To quote the 37th President of America, Richard Nixon “You’ve got to learn to survive a defeat. That’s when you develop character”
America could have an unparalleled character across the world. She owns a superb history and surely a superb future.
Be proud. When the U.S national team eventually wins the World Cup, it will mean so much more.