American Immigrant

15 Jun

us soccer fed

Immigrant. The old country is Scotland. And the old American story, yeah, yeah, yeah, we all   came from somewhere else. But when do you actually become an American, for an immigrant when does the tipping point occur? Well, glad to say it happened to me last week in Chicago.

The United States was playing in a crucial soccer World Cup qualifying game against Honduras. Soldier Field was packed, the atmosphere electric, proof that soccer’s stealth popularity was on the rise. Granted, sixty per cent were Hondurans, many of whom had flown in from around the country. The motel at the airport was jammed with Honduras supporters.

A Scottish pal had the extra ticket, and he was rooting for the Hondurans. There was no way he was supporting the Yankee imperialists. He tried humming his oppressed allies national anthem. Then I heard, Oh say! Does that star spangled banner yet wave?

It surprised me that so many patriotic American sports fans ignored a chance to root for America, preferring to sing to each other whoopy versions of the anthem between hot dog bites, at the onset of sedentary baseball games. Soccer offered the chance to show the world the American spirit. It was unpatriotic not to get behind the national team. In the distance, I could see Uncle Sam’s Army of fans behind the goal. They were ecstatic with American fervor.

The tipping point came mid-way through the second half. The USA scored their second goal, breaking the tie, and I found myself bursting the air with bombs of delight. Besides me was an Honduran kid, no more than ten years old, his face painted in the colors. He looked at me with disappointment in his eyes.

Already, I had a passport. But documents mean nothing. You can buy them. What makes you American? For me, it was the old glory of a goal.

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2 Responses to “American Immigrant”

  1. Erin June 10, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    Hi Alan,
    I stumbled upon this post looking for the sheild logo for a cake. I’m making something fun for the USA v. England game on June 12th. We were supposed to be in SA but the airfare price gouging eliminated the possibility.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for such a moving post. I am a native Coloradoan-American (not Native-American) and I can honestly say that I never cried during the National Anthem until I heard the whole stadium in Columbus sing at the top of their lungs when we beat Mexico for the ’06 cup qualifier. And again in Germany against Czech.

    We are not a perfect country but we have pride and spirit!

  2. Alan Black June 10, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Hi Erin,
    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I consider America to be one of my homes, and when you are home, it is beautiful.

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