When I started this blog, one of the topics that I thought I would be discussing was politics. While I have from time to time discussed LGBT issues, I have generally steered clear of the larger political scene usually in favor of sports (specifically football.) I have often wondered if I should write more about the world around us, but today I got a reminder about why I do not. By now everyone knows about the horrific bombing and shooting that happened today in Norway. It is a terrible tragedy, and the fact that people are capable of such cruelty is beyond my comprehension.
Ultimately my blog is way for me to process and comment on the world as I see it. Often I am critical, far more than I am positive. There are a few reasons for that. The first is that it is easier to be critical. The second is that it is usually more fun (and satisfying) to read someone’s criticisms than their raves. For example, one of my most popular posts was a call for the end of Bob Bradley’s tenure as national team coach. Third, being critical requires more thought than just being positive. You have to explain why something is wrong and how you want to see it changed. Finally, when one is critical, it usually means one has something to say. Criticism, at least as I try to do it, comes from frustrated idealism. I have an idea how things should be, and when they are not, I vent. Sometimes I am right, sometimes not.
It is far easier to write critically about sport because there is less at stake in sport. I doubt that Pele, Jose Mourinho, Bob Bradley, Sunil Gulati, Claudio Reyna, Jemele Hill, Grant Wahl, or anyone else I have criticized will ever come across this blog, and if they do, they won’t care what I say. But that’s okay because that affects my life as little as my words affects theirs. Screaming and ranting is fun, and it gives me a chance to be smugly superior when I turn out to be right because I know more than the experts (or more likely I could see the obvious when they refused to.)
Politics is different though. My screaming and ranting and stating the obvious may not matter to those in power, but now my life is affected. Smug superiority is worth little if I have to suffer alone the way. Hearing about the tragedy in Norway or the suicidal path that Congressional Republicans are taking with regard to the American (and world) economy is depressing to the point of paralyzation, so I try to think as little about it as little as possible. Therefore, I avoid writing about it, critically or no.
It’s just easier to stick to sport. Although there are those who treat sport (football especially) as a matter of life and death, I am not one of them. Thank goodness.
On an unrelated note, Carolina Morace resigned as coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team. The resignation was coming, it was just a matter of time. Given Canada’s lower than expected performance at the World Cup (16th of 16 teams) and Morace’s long running problems with the Canadian Soccer Association, this was no doubt the desired result by all parties involved. Maybe not the Canadian players.
Morace deserves a share of the blame, but not the lion’s share. The deep structural issues in Canadian football are well-known. That’s why the Canadian men’s team are atrocious in CONCACAF qualification. The women’s team ranked near the elite because, like the US and the Scandinavian countries, it got a head start due to a relatively egalitarian approach to sport. However, as was shown many times this past World Cup, the world caught up the early starters. The US, for all the (legitimate and illegitimate) complaints about the program, is still one of the world’s best.* In theory, Canada too should be able to be competitive, but the CSA mismanagement has been disastrous. Morace tried to restructure everything, but her vision takes time to implement, far more than one World Cup cycle. Now the CSA has its work cut out for it. If it’s not careful, Canada could be humiliated in four years when the World Cup is on its own soil. That would be a nightmare.
It’s a shame too. Canada has produced some excellent players, such as Christine Sinclair. That however, is simply not enough to cover the gaping flaws in a program that is more structural than on the pitch. One hopes that Canada will be able to reform itself, but I fear that the Canadian Women’s Team will not just become another Norway, a faded star. I fear they will become another Canadian Men’s Team
In terms of skill and ability, I suspect that US Women’s National Team is actually superior to the 1991-1999 teams despite not having won a World Cup. Frankly, the US would have to be to stay at the top of the world. In terms of dominance, legend, history, accomplishment, and legacy, the US teams of the 1990’s are unmatched.