I love soccer (or, well, football. But if I used that particular terminology here, thoughts of the Redskins or Ravens would more than likely jump into your head, and that’s not right). I played the sport all through my kid years, teen years and then (somewhat) college years. Before moving here, I even coached a soccer team that consisted of adorable 4- to 6-year olds (we finished the season 4-1-1, thank you). And last year’s USMNT’s World Cup run? Goodness. Each match wasn’t just another reason to get up early. Each time the squad made it out to the pitch was an event. A party. A 90-minute time frame of jumping, yelling and embracing. Yes. Embracing. How else could anyone possibly respond?
So naturally, when this year’s women’s World Cup commenced, I was paying attention. The women’s team has had far more success in international play than the men’s squad in recent years, and bringing the trophy back to the United States would have softened the blow of the men’s performance in last year’s knockout round at least a tiny bit. Plus, the women were favored to do well. Sports become a lot more intriguing when you know your team has a shot at winning.
Fast-forward to Sunday’s championship game, featuring the United States against Japan, and what you had was appointment viewing. After kicking my friends out of my apartment at the end of a weekend filled with anarchy, I cuddled up with my desktop PC (not the MacBook Air I have mentioned in previous posts, mind you), and turned to ESPN3.com for a live stream of the match. America’s loss was heartbreaking, though the play from both teams was fantastic and the theater the event provided was unparalleled.
The reason for sharing this, you ask? Well, when I started writing this blog, it was packaged in my mind with the thought of starting a Twitter account to offer links to not only this blog, but the other work I offer for a website called Popmatters. Now let’s get one thing straight: I hate social media. Detest it, actually. But Twitter is more concise and not nearly as egomaniacal as the other Facepages or MyBooks. Starting a Twitter account was an action connected to practicality for me. It was a central place where people (family members, friends, etc.) could see the ridiculous, irrelevant things I happen to offer through writing. The idea had nothing to do with letting people know where I was going for dinner or how happy I am that IKEA and Starbucks have some type of joint sale. I still kind of hate myself for it, and I am fairly certain that there is a grand total of zero people in this world who give my Twitter account a second thought. But the account serves a function. I guess. I hope. I suppose.
Sunday was a little different for me. I found myself alone (as opposed to being surrounded by friends during last year’s World Cup run), and I found myself armed with an iPhone, a computer and a whole lot of opinions. Losing a little bit of my soul, I took to Twitter to constantly ramble sweet nothings about the game, probably subconsciously thinking I was way more important than I am. But then the world of re-tweets, tweet-responses and text messages kicked in and I instantly found myself addicted to cyberspace and all these people I would never physically watch a soccer match with.
That said, I wasn’t alone. From the Washington Post …
“With every major event in the past few months, a new tweets-per-second record is set,” Katie Rogers wrote on a blog she keeps for The Post. “Almost exactly a year ago, just after the buzzing of vuvuzelas had ceased in South Africa, Twitter noted that the men’s World Cup broke previous Twitter records (Spain’s winning goal in the final scored a 3,051 tweets-per-second). The women’s final match walloped that number; the new record suddenly became more than double that, with 7,196 tweets logged per second.”
Wow. And wow. 7,196 tweets … per second. Goodness, gracious. This is where I would normally insert some type of rude, insulting jab at people who spend all their time tweeting while at the same time dismissing this brave new world of social media as disgusting and idiotic. But. Well. Yeah.
As the blog also points out, Twitter has become a type of giant sports bar. Am I proud of succumbing to my moment of tweet-filled weakness? Of course not. But it’s clear that I wasn’t the only one self-righteously posting 160-character thoughts about a women’s soccer match on a Sunday afternoon in mid-July. The ability to constantly trade comments on these types of things without having to deal with the noise, smell and all-around inconvenience of sitting in a crowded sports bar is an ability I feel I can now fully appreciate. I just feel a little less human for it.
Still, I thank ESPN for the great live feed. I thank the people who tweeted me and re-tweeted me for no real good reason. I thank the two teams for providing what will end up being the best soccer match we will see this year. And I thank God that World Cups take place every four years. I don’t think my pride could handle another Twtitter-obsessed afternoon.