Kristian: Should we be celebrating loss to Germany?
by Kristian Garic,posted Jun 26 2014 5:07PM
I’m on record as not being a huge fan of soccer, but I am however a HUGE fan of Team USA - no matter what sport! I would watch and pull for the Stars and Stripes in an ice sculpting competition.
So I watched the World Cup match between USA and Germany today. Germany defeated team USA 1-0. Sure, there were moments of excitement and energy - not enough, but some. After the game, I got a text from T-Bob that summed it up: “Greatest loss ever!” I’ve never heard that. I guess it’s a soccer thing. Team USA is moving to the elimination round even without a win. So I started thinking, is it ok to celebrate a loss? I guess it is in this case, but it goes against everything we’re taught about competition, doesn't it? “Who won?” is usually the first question we ask.
In this instance, it’s “Who won? America lost! But it’s OK because Portugal won.” The best thing about most sports is there is a clear winner. You get rewarded for wining, not losing. It’s absolute! Don’t get me wrong, I love that Team USA is still alive, but it comes with a “yeah but” or a “blah” connotation. There are many things about soccer that make it a magnificent game but the 'lose and advance' approach is not one of them.
If soccer wants to rope in more fans, a good way to do it would be to change the reward structure for advancing. It’s in America's DNA to win and get rewarded, not lose and settle for a spot. I’m having a hard time getting excited about a loss, even if it keeps you alive and into the next round.
What if Team USA goes onto win the World Cup? Would the critics say "yeah but in the group stage USA had a tie (2-2 vs Portugal) and a loss (1-0 vs Germany)!" The soccer junkies will tell me “Kristian, you don’t get it. It’s the system.” Well, yeah, it's the system, and the system needs to be changed. What about the Saints losing the final three regular season games in 2009 before winning the Super Bowl? That's a valid argument to an extent, but the Saints also stacked up 10 more wins than losses that season, and advanced in the playoffs because of their wins, not their losses. The Saints didn’t lose and move on.
In American football you don’t celebrate losses, you languish over them. Watch the video below to see what Bobby had to say about it.