Now that Team USA has been eliminated from the World Cup in Brazil, things are getting back to normal around our house when it comes to television. I’m back to my usual diet of Pawn Stars, Top Gear, Tattoo Nightmares and streaming old Star Trek shows.
In other words, I’ve reverted to my customary indifference to sports, much to the relief of everyone who lives with me, including our big dog Rodney and ornery cat Skitty,
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching other people sweat it out on the field of play. I’m known to take in Washington Nationals games, and I even like to head up to Hagerstown now and then to watch the Suns play. But generally speaking, I’m only interested in the big events – the World Series, The Stanley Cup playoffs, The Super Bowl and the big golf and tennis tournaments. Even then, though, I don’t normally get too worked up about them. However, I surprised myself during this year’s World Cup.
I became obsessed by Team USA’s progress. So much so, that I soaked up every minute of television coverage, even replays of games I had watched just hours earlier. That’s probably why I found myself alone in front of the TV on the Sunday the U.S. played Portugal.
I admit I might have been getting uncharacteristically loud. But who wasn’t jumping out of their chair and dancing a joyful jig when Clint Dempsey scored WITH. HIS. STOMACH!
My enthusiasm for Dempsey’s heroics prompted my wife to seek refuge in the bedroom where she told her Facebook friends that her “generally calm husband was screaming “GOAL and WHOOO HOOO” at the top of his lungs from the family room” while our daughter was yelling “stop screaming, you’re scaring the cat,” from her room.
My joy didn’t last long, though. I was silenced when Portugal answered Dempsey’s goal at what seemed like the last possible moment, to tie the match at 2-2.
Afterwards, I picked up my jaw where it had come to rest under the coffee table, looked around and noticed for the first time that I had been abandoned.
I then sprawled in my favorite chair trying to figure out a) who thought it would be a good idea to allow a game to end in a tie, and b) why I was alone when our dog Rodney reappeared from wherever he’d been hiding. He took some tentative steps toward me, his tail between his legs and his ears flattened. The question in his eyes was unmistakable. He wanted to know if it was safe to come out.
You’d think I had just turned off the vacuum cleaner.
Team USA made it out of the Group Stage and into the Round of 16, before being knocked out of the tournament by the talented Belgians. So in the short-term at least, Rodney and our cat, Skitty, don’t have to worry about me going ballistic in the family room.
Just don’t tell them the World Cup finals are this weekend.
Because if I’ve somehow turned a corner when it comes to sports, they’ll figure it out soon enough.