This weekend we celebrate Independence Day and get to cheer for the USWNT in the Women's World Cup Final. In the spirit of loving both America and sports, here's our question: What's the most fun you've ever had cheering for an American team or individual? (Olympics, World Cup, or anything else where you're cheering for someone or something representing the US is fair game)
I can easily say the Olympics. I was in Atlanta in 1996 and it was a giant party. The city shut down. No traffic. No work. No shirts and no problems. I mean everyone for about a month just got insane in the membrane. But, you know that was 1996. It was Atlanta. Hot Atlanta. Mahammed Ali carried the torch too. Way Cool! Every day and every night something was going on. Plus, It was like 4th of July every night with fireworks. I didn't know diddly-squat about water polo nor did I ever watched that much volleyball but there I was watching and cheering them on like it was USC vs Clemson. Everything about 1996 Olympics was awesome (except the bombing) and I wish the Olympics would come back to USA! One of the best times you will ever have - I promise.
Probably the 2014 World Cup. Especially considering that no one was really expecting the United States to make a deep run at it, it was a lot of fun to follow the team and keep track of their progress. It was especially fun to be able to watch the games at work (my old job)--even those who weren't major soccer fans were gathering together to see what was going on. I think that (and the Olympics--looking forward to 2016) are the two big events. I've also been keeping a close watch on the USWNT over the past month--definitely hoping they can pull it out against Japan.
Misanthrope alert, but I do not care about the World Cup. Men's or women's. I will feel nothing if we win. Sowwy :( And I don't neg the Cup out of spite for soccer like some cranky high school football coach. I just don't care! About the players, the coaches, the pageantry, the pride. All this results in an abiding sense of disinterest. But I think it's doing okay without my support, so I'll go watch the Braves putz around and everyone else can have a #realgoodtime. Other than that? I guess I root for ol' Glory come the Olympics, although even then I often find myself pulling for athletes from underdeveloped or tiny countries. "C'mon St Kitts and Nevis, just make it respectable!" Although the one Olympic sport where I find it easy to root for the US is basketball, if only because it can be such a satisfaction to watch the NBA's top players band together and clobber some overmatched European or, like, Caribbean nation Globetrotters style. Finally, the Ryder Cup can be fun but I quietly pull for Europe because they usually have Miguel Ángel Jiménez who is the best. All this is to say I guess I'm not much for national pride with regards to sports, but I still root for America in wars and stuff.
For me it's the 2011 Women's World Cup just because it opened up a door to a sport I barely knew existed. Sure, I'd heard about the magnificence of Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy and how that team in '99 won it all, but I guess I was just too young to remember it actually being real. But 2011, now that was cool. I mean honestly, the only two games I remember watching were the quarterfinal match against Brazil when Abby Wombach and Megan Rapinoe did this in the final seconds and the finals against Japan when we somehow lost. But boy were those some thrillers. Both those matches went into extra time and were eventually decided by PK's, with the U.S. victorious in the first and heartbroken against Japan in the second.
Side note: It was just as fun beating Germany this week, just because they are Germany and their coach straight up talks some good trash.
I'm with Jorge on the World Cup thing. Anyway, to answer the question, I'm going to say the 2004 Olympics, and the men's swimming portion in particular. Like many other teen girls at the time, I may or may not have had kind of a thing for Michael Phelps, so I'd be lying if I said that wasn't part of the reason I enjoyed watching so much. It was also really exciting to see how good he was and see him making history, though, and because I can't swim other than dog paddling, I'm always really impressed - and kind of baffled - by the swimmers. I had gotten over my crush by the time the 2008 Olympics rolled around, but I still enjoyed watching Phelps and the rest of the U.S. swimmers compete that year, and really, those events are always my favorite part of any summer Olympics.
Like Sydney, I've got to go with the 2014 World Cup. I had never really watched soccer prior to last summer and before the World Cup actually started I figured I would just pay enough attention to know what was going on and maybe watch a couple of games. But then everyone was really hyped about it and I hate missing out on big sports things so I watched us play Ghana and ended up screaming and cheering like a crazy person and all of the sudden I was completely sold on it. I watched most of the World Cup after that and got caught up in the excitement and emotion of cheering for the same thing as the entire country. It was incredibly fun and the minute it was over I was ready for the next time.