Monday, July 18, 2011

Well Played & Well Earned

If one believed in Hollywood endings, then one likely viewed the result of the Women's World Cup Final as a disappointment.  As someone rooting hard for Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and their mates to win, I was disappointed.  Yet, the nice thing about Hollywood endings is that a drama can have more than one satisfactory final scene.  Do not feel compelled to take my word for it.  Check out how many first-run movies hit the DVD market with "alternate endings". 

Such it was in Germany on Sunday.  The American women played hard and at times played exceedingly well.  But the Japanese played equally hard, matching our national side - whose conditioning seems unmatched in every contest - stride for stride.  And when two opportunities presented themselves to the Japanese team - courtesy of excruciatingly bad play by the Americans - they capitalized.  The fact that those opportunities presented themselves first with about ten minutes left in the second half and then - after the US scored in the first 15 minute overtime session to seemingly win the game - with but three minutes to go in the second overtime only added to the drama of a game chock full of drama. 

In any athletic competition there can be but one winner.  And while those of us in these United States - or most of us anyway - who expressed a rooting interest in the Women's World Cup were root, root, rooting for the home team, it was impossible (it was for me anyway) to view this as an "us vs. them" affair.  After all, is there anyone who has not been rendered heartsick by the imagery that has come out of Japan since March when the Japanese suffered a particularly vicious one-two punch from Mother Nature? 

Sport cannot solve the ills of the world.  It can though provide a diversion.  And sometimes a diversion is just what is needed.  It is just what is needed to give good people who have felt as if the weight of the world has been firmly applied downward onto their collective throats for what seems like forever the break they need.  Mojo is a fickle thing.  And if what a group of determined women did on a Sunday evening in Germany to win the world's championship in their sport can return it to their country, then it is hard to argue that what one witnessed Sunday was not indeed a Hollywood ending.


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