Well, this past week in my sports world has been an up and down roller coaster ride. First, there was the dramatic win last Wednesday for the Vanderbilt Commodores in the College World Series that secured the first ever national title for a men’s sport at the school.
I was not able to watch the game on TV, but I’m pretty sure I was yelling and screaming in the car as I drove home listening to it on the radio. It was an awesome moment, not just for the team, but for all of the fans. Every black and gold supporter had something to celebrate that night right along with the players.
It was made even sweeter for me knowing that Kyle Smith, who is a sophomore on the team, got to savor the moment. Smith was a member of a different black and gold clad team prior to committing to Vanderbilt – he was a Mt. Juliet Bear. It’s awesome to see anyone from my alma mater be rewarded for hard work. Even though he didn’t play in the series, he helped the team get there.
Then there was the World Cup.
Most people who know me know that I played soccer when I was younger, and even played on my high school team. I love the game. It tests every athlete’s endurance and values teamwork.
I’ll be the first to tell you that, while I loved to play, I wasn’t the greatest player to grace the field. Sure, I could get out there and run my heart out and do what I could to help the team win, but I wasn’t the sharpest ball handler, and I only once ever came anywhere close to scoring a goal.
That didn’t lessen my passion for the game in the slightest.
A lot of people over the last few weeks have talked about the United States’ team at the World Cup in Brazil.
Sportscasters across the country talked about how many more people were interested in this World Cup than the last appearance in 2010. Some of my Facebook friends were even talking about it throughout the week, and I didn’t even know they watched soccer. I’m guessing some of them didn’t.
I think it’s great that the sport is gaining more popularity nationally. After surviving the “Group of Death” as it was dubbed in the early rounds, and making their way to the Round of 16, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the team. People that you wouldn’t expect to ever watch a soccer game were tuning into the nearest TV to catch the action.
I was so pumped for Tuesday’s match against Belgium, as was the bulk of the nation. A lot of commentators called that match “the most important game in years” for the national squad. I can see why. There was so much more investment from the America public in this year’s games that I think even the novice soccer fan cared that we made it to the quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, that dream ended in an extra time loss.
I think the future of team USA is on the upswing however, seeing as the man who scored the U.S.’s loan goal was an 18-year-old making his first appearance in the game. How sweet must that have been? It’s not everyday you get to call your buddies back home and tell them you scored a goal in one of the biggest spectacles on the planet.
All in all, I was pleased with the performance even though I of course wish we had won. I would’ve liked to be watching us play Argentina. But, if we play our cards right at the next World Cup, I think the sky is the limit.
Kimberly Jordan is The Democrat’s general assignment reporter. Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.