A Declaration of Pride
Walking around Crew Stadium on September 11, 2012 before the World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica was a surreal experience. After 9/11, MLS had sewn a patch onto every players jersey to remember the events of that fateful day. Exactly eleven years later and it’s impossible not reflect on what happened on that seemingly perfect September morning. Perhaps it was fitting that U.S. soccer decided to schedule a game on this day because they knew that people would put their American pride on full display. We all did and it was a spectacle.
A special tribute occurred from the 9′-11′ when fans were asked to stand (already doing so) and wave their flags given to us at the gates. It was an especially patriotic two minutes.
While this was not my first U.S. Men’s soccer game, the sheer sight of American jerseys, shirts, pants and flags in all directions made it a special night. Crew Stadium became the epicenter of an outspoken patriotism at its best with kids and adults alike sporting and chanting their love of America. Hearing speeches from our leaders is one thing, but seeing and hearing it from our friends, family and total strangers is when commitment and dedication to one’s country is shown and felt.
Checking out the merchandise tent is always a fun experience. One of the biggest grabs, a red and white horizontal striped jersey, was debuted earlier this year and remains extremely popular with fans today. To the casual eye, it does bear a striking resemblance to the shirt made famous by a constantly hidden gentleman who goes by the name “Waldo.” Before you judge though, take a look at what it looks like on a cute girl and your preconceived notions may take a full 180. It’s a sight alright.
Throughout the 90 + minutes, it was actually difficult not to look away from the action and take in the panoramic views of the stadium. Flags were waving, fans chanted, “USA-USA-USA!” and virtually nobody was sitting in their seats during either half. It was a textbook atmosphere for a game involving the U.S. Men’s soccer team. The ‘beautiful game’ had a beautiful environment.
In the 55th minute, Herculez Gomez made the atmosphere electric with a perfectly placed free kick. “Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!”
The Associated Press
During the second half, I peered to the row behind me that consisted of five girlfriends in matching striped jerseys (this is the ‘cute girl test’) and it truly is a cool shirt in a crowd. Not too much later, a screen shot on the scoreboard featured a man in the aforementioned jersey standing next to an American flag at a past game. Turning to the person next to me, I said, “Look at how cool that looks…the jersey next to the flag.” She replied, “Wow, that does look cool.” A eureka moment was born.
The U.S. Men’s National Team currently wears the red and white striped jersey. Assuming they qualify for the next round, I have a proposal for a new jersey.
Please design a dark blue jersey (same color as on the flag) decorated with white stars.
This way the two jerseys 1. Red and white horizontal stripes & 2. Dark blue with white stars would complement each other to form the American flag. The home and away jerseys would be called, “The Stars” and “The Stripes” respectively. Furthermore, during home games, sections of the stadium could be coordinated by the two jerseys to form an actual flag along each of the sidelines.
Forget the beauty pageant sash from 2010. Let’s not just play against our opponents in red, white and blue, but instead go to battle with Old Glory herself.
Just imagine our guys standing in “The Stars” or “The Stripes” singing,
O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?