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After A Perfect Week Of Sports, Can The Universe Deliver Another Gift To American Soccer Fans?

Soccer player holds hands up to his face in nervousness
Image CreditFOX Soccer/YouTube

I don’t mean to sound grabby, but after last week I’ve seen what you can do. Any help to secure a World Cup victory is greatly appreciated.

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Dear Universe,

Thank you for last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. You have really outdone yourself this time; there’s no other way to put it. Before the hurly-burly of December begins, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude.

Can we level-set? Halley’s Comet is great but that comes, what, every 76 years? And solar eclipses are fine, but they summon eighth-grade metal-shop memories singed into my psyche of the danger of welding without protective eyewear. Last week, you set the table for something far greater. 

Set the table indeed! Invited family and friends made it safely to my home in Charlotte, North Carolina, from points near and far. The weather was fair, the fare sublime, and the hearth stayed aflame the entire time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I managed to get in two full pickup truck runs to the county dump the day before Thanksgiving, just before out-of-town guests began arriving. Through these sorties I was able to cast off over a year’s worth of accumulated household clutter, cathartically letting go in one costless, three-hour session of Irish-Catholic psychotherapy. This cleansing exercise left me in fine fettle for Bird Day. 

On Thursday, no politics were discussed, but much NFL Football — that most American of sports — was watched before and after the meal. On Friday afternoon, things somehow got even more patriotic when the U.S. faced England in the World Cup. While it’s said that soccer in America has been called the sport of the next 10 years for the last 50 years, Friday somehow felt different.

We played the country that invented the sport to a draw. England seemed stunned that we plucky former colonists came to play, but like a person who takes a fall down a staircase while wearing a virtual-reality headset, things got very real very fast for the boys in British boots.   

A scoreless tie, I realize, isn’t something normally celebrated in the land of Nathan Hale, George Patton, Herb Brooks, and Ricky Bobby. However, the English side was heavily favored, and not since 1781 in Yorktown have scrappy Americans so doggedly outperformed this particular opponent. It wasn’t quite Lake Placid’s miracle on ice, but it was a noble stand in the Qatari sand, and I’ll take it all day long.

Drifting off to sleep Friday evening, I thought to myself, “How much more happiness can one man reasonably expect to get from a single Thanksgiving holiday?” The universe’s answer — “hold my beer” — came loud and clear on Saturday.

Like a securities prospectus, the Michigan Wolverines made clear to the Ohio State Buckeyes that past football performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Sure, I’d have enjoyed a better Iron Bowl, or the Fighting Irish channeling wily Odysseus and outsmarting the Trojans of Southern Cal, but one must take the bitter with the better. And then, joy of joys on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers, my NFL home team, secured a much-needed win.

In summary, I don’t mean to sound grabby, but after last week I’ve seen what you can do. Any help to secure a World Cup victory for America over Iran today is greatly appreciated. Far be it from me to tell you how to do your job: a carrying wind under a Tim Weah cross, a favorable bounce in a Christian Pulisic shot-on-goal, whatever you can muster. If we win, we advance out of Group B to the final, single-elimination round of 16 teams. A U.S. loss to or tie with Iran sends us packing. It’s truly win or go home.

This Thanksgiving truly has been, as Jim Nantz likes to say, a win for the ages. Kindly finish what you’ve started, O Universe, and see this match through with victory for the boys in red, white, and blue.  

Sincerely,

A Thankful American


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