"I'm just gutted."
That was the response I read from an England fan after another disasterous England loss sometime ago. I always thought that was a good way to describe the feeling after a loss. What loss? Well any kind of sporting loss really - playing, coaching, watching, it doesn't matter - I feel like someone took an ice cream scooper and scooped out my insides. I got nothing left.
Man did we stink. The worst of it is we're really not that bad - American fans have a permanent inferiority complex when it comes to this sport. We really did suck, for decades - but the U.S. has really improved in the recent past, beat Portugal in the last World Cup and came damn close to beating the Germans - today proved we still have a ways to go. It didn't help that we didn't have anyone to match their 8 foot tall forwards (I'm exaggerating, but they were tall).
So today's start for the U.S. is pretty much Worst-Case-Scenario. We now have to beat Italy on Saturday to have any chance of going through to the next round. I'm not holding my breath.
I used to get really emotionally invested in these games. No really - nowadays it's harder to be like that when you're watching the game while building towers out of blocks for your son to knock down with his Thomas the Train. It helped to talk to older brother on the phone at different times throughout the match - it always helps to have someone else feel your pain.
Which brings me to my Top 5 Most Gutted After a Loss (as a fan). My day was completely ruined by watching the following games:
5. 1993 Notre Dame vs. Boston College, college football. The Irish were one game away from playing for a National Championship. I admit, I went into this game cocky. Irish fall behind by 24 points - I briefly consider laying down in front of traffic. Then the Irish come back, take the lead, then lose the game on a last second field goal.
4. 1986 World Cup Quarter-Finals - England vs. Argentina. Back then I thought Argentina's first goal had been a crime (Maradona had punched it in!) to allow - Life isn't fair! Now is realize Argentina really was the better team that day, even if Maradona was a cheating bastard. Oh, and life still isn't fair.
3. 1998 World Cup 1st Round - U.S. vs. Germany. I didn't really think we'd win, but I wanted a decent showing. I had the game on in the classroom. What really sucked was having to listen to this German exchange student tell me, "see Mister K, vee just know dee game bet-tor..." The beginning of a crappy World Cup.
2. 1994 World Cup Qualifying, England vs. Holland. Watched this game in the dorms, where shouting and cussing wasn't uncommon. England loses and fails to qualify for the World Cup. I don't go out that night.
1. 2005 Notre Dame vs. USC, college football. USC was supposed to be unbeatable. Watched this game with new neighbors, so I started the game on my best behavior. Notre Dame plays unbelieveably well, but still loses in the last seconds. I end the game sprawled on the neighbor's carpet, pounding the floor.