It is always interesting to me how soccer really helps to erase national borders (except in those cases where rampant nationalism causes soccer to reinforce imaginary boundaries*). My love of Spanish Footbal is just one example. There is just no feeling of us and them while watching Barcelona cream Real Madrid (ok, maybe Madrid and its CR7 are a little bit of “them,” but that is a special case and has nothing to do with borders).
However, I never imagined that the border erasing extended quite so far as what I heard on satellite radio this morning. The host, having just finished interviewing a player commented that “that” was what we needed to see more of in this country. The “that” the American host was referring to, of course, was a Canadian player on a Canadian team and his family. Because Canada is part of this country? I suppose it is if you are in Canada.
Anyway, no harm done at all, it’s just great to me the way that as fans we often forget about national borders – especially when we are talking about our favorite teams and players.
* Note: I will talk another time about the make-believe nationalism displayed by fans of the USMNT, and the damage I think it does to fans of soccer in the US (e.g. if you don’t “BELIEVE” that the US men’s team can win each and every competition, including the World Cup, then you aren’t American and you aren’t a fan of soccer – as if it is somehow patriotic and a national duty to be in absolute denial about where the level of play in the US stands compared to places in the world that actually enjoy soccer at a national level.) But that is a conversation for another day.