In the end, they spoke a language that all Americans can understand.
Futbol. Football. Soccer. Even the game they play can seem, at times, foreign.
But a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking spans translations.
Inspired by its previous frustrations and now perfectly focused, the U.S. women’s soccer team routed Japan 5-2 Sunday to win the World Cup.
In America, we love our team sports. We cheer for our pro teams, our colleges and the high school that our kids go to.
We all have our favorite individual athletes. One fan’s Tony Romo is another’s Drew Brees.
But whose picture is on the posters that adorn the walls of our daughters and granddaughters? Miley Cyrus? Rihanna? Some other entertainer?
Maybe Monday you’ll want to start looking for posters of Carli Lloyd. Or Hope Solo. Or Abby Wambach.
Or anybody else from the newest America’s Team.
Just before 8 o’clock Sunday night, Twitter began to explode with an avalanche of congratulations — from President Obama, from the first lady, and from baseball home run kings and NASCAR champions. The list of well-wishers spanned every corner of society and sport.
There is plenty of room on the U.S. women’s soccer bandwagon. Alas, there are still good seats available on the sport of soccer’s train as well.
As recently as last week, friend and local TV legend Dale Hansen finished his WFAA sportscast with so-called “highlights” of the day’s World Cup action. Instead of real footage, however, he replayed the YouTube clip from The Simpsons that poked fun at the — how shall I put this? — “more methodical” side of soccer. Homer Simpson summed up the scene by shouting, “Borrr-ing.”
OK, we get it. We get that you were out watching an exciting Rangers game Sunday, instead of the Women’s World Cup final. We know how exciting watching the Cowboys sign autographs at Whataburger can be.
Soccer may still be a niche sport in America, but the niche has expanded beyond its original knee-socked borders. Few families don’t have a youngster who plays or has played the American version of futbol.
Boring? There was no evidence of it Sunday.
If you follow sports, you had to be awed Sunday by the spectacle of a team that attacked confidently and ferociously from the opening whistle. The Japanese team was overwhelmed.
Four goals in the first 20 minutes is like an American football team ahead 40-0 after the first quarter.
Hopefully, you could see the teamwork and athleticism that the U.S. women have. It shouldn’t surprise you.
Women in sports have been climbing that mountain since Title IX became law in 1972.
The law reads, simply:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
It has taken years and lawsuits for its implementation in women’s sports to take shape. The NCAA itself once tried to have Title IX declared unconstitutional.
The law is about equal opportunity. Equal teams, equal scholarships.
That equality is what kept Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, and now Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach playing soccer.
It has given our daughters a new set of women — heroes of sport — to look up to.
And for a few days in July of 2015, it gave us a new team to root for.
Welcome to the bandwagon.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697