Last week the United States soccer team finished their play in the thrilling World Cup '98 without winning a single game. Trounced by Germany, embarrassed by Iran and then laughed at by whoever, the U.S. crew stumbled home whimpering. They lost to Iran, people! Iran!
Ordinarily, I wouldn't give a damn one way or the other. Yeah, I know it's the world's most popular sport, but there's a reason for that. It's the only thing the rest of the world is better at than the United States. That and education, but who cares about that?
For years Iranians have been referring to us as the "American devils." They've been burning our flag on national television, just waiting for the chance to finally beat us at something. They let Ross Perot take away their hostages. I'd be upset about that, too. But they're a juggernaut on the soccer field, and that's where it really counts, right? At no point should the United States ever lose to Iran at anything. That goes for Tunisia, Romania and Prague too.
Has anyone noticed how uppity the convenience store clerks have gotten in the past week?
"No! I not make more slushies!"
"No! You can't take penny from the tray!"
"No! I not put lotto tickets on credit card!"
"Thank you. Get the hell out of my store and go Iran!"
Explain to me how a game whose final score is 0-1 can be called "exciting." Why was it even played to begin with? Oh, but it was a fine defensive struggle. Right. You know what an 0-1 score should be called? An excellent example of ineptitude.
Go ahead and celebrate on the streets, Iran. Burn some more flags, turn cars upside down and sell lots of beef jerky. You finally beat us at something. Yea. Those whistling sounds you hear over your country aren't stray fireworks. They're cruise missiles. You may be better than us at soccer, but there's nobody better than us at blowing things up.
Moving on to some more commentary involving sports: the 1998 NBA Draft. The Rockets had three picks in the first round and were expected to take Elsik High stand-out Rashard Lewis. When the first pick came up, the camera flashed to Rashard in his tailored suit, looking nervously at the screen. But they didn't pick Rashard, not with their first, second or third picks. He was the last first-round hopeful left in the waiting room until finally being picked by the Seattle Sonics in the second round.
Why did I waste all that time with Rashard Lewis? Because he later went on to criticize the Rockets for lying to him about picking him in the first round. Rashard, you know why you didn't get picked by the Rockets? No, it wasn't because they thought some guy from Turkey was better than you. It was because you turned your back on the University of Houston and Clyde Drexler. And why? Because you were so distraught over Alvin Brooks' firing.
Oh, but you're going to a good team in the Sonics. A good team that's going to cut you in training camp. Well, at least you have your education to fall back on. Oh, I forgot. You didn't want to go to college. Don't worry about the money, Rashard. Maybe Nike'll start making commercials about short-order cooks.
De La Garza is a senior who believes in karma. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.