Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Tim Howard...Quite a Hero

The Shoals area not being a hotbed of English football fans, we'll identify the player in our photograph. Tim Howard excels in several sports, but he's chosen soccer for a career. In fact Tim is so good he once played for Manchester United. Now he's goalie for the U.S. team. That's more than fitting since Tim is in fact all American, born in New Jersey.

On Saturday, the U.S. team played Mexico in a Gold Cup match. The game was played in the Rose Bowl, and you can't get much more American than that. Unfortunately for our team, Mexico won 4-2, and after the game Howard had quite a bit to say, even using some colorful language to boot. Was Howard lamenting the U.S.'s loss?


Let's pretend we're viewing an avant-garde motion picture and dramatically switch scenes. It's the Seventeenth Century and your Huguenot ancestor has just arrived in North America; what's one of the first things he did? It's now mid-Eighteenth Century and your German ancestor just docked in Philadelphia; what did he do almost immediately? Perhaps your ancestor was a Johnny-come-lately who arrived from Italy at the end of the Nineteenth Century; what did he hasten to do?

We hope you answered that your ancestors learned English almost immediately. Or perhaps for those who arrived after the Revolution, they immediately sought to be citizens. It's called assimilation, and until the latter part of the Twentieth Century, it was something all immigrants did to the best of their ability. Think it's still that way? Think again.


Tim Howard looked into the stands Saturday and saw rows upon rows of Mexican flags--flags held by American citizens of Mexican lineage. Then Howard heard the boos. That's right, the "good Americans" who were rooting for Mexico were also booing the U.S. team. Howard later stated that these cat calls were not unanticipated.

After the U.S. loss, Howard was prepared to congratulate the winning team...until...he heard the first words of the awards ceremony. These words were in Spanish. That's when Tim, shall we say, lost his cool. The following is a direct quote from Howard, with just a tad of censoring for one over-used expletive.

'[tournament organisers] CONCACAF should be ashamed of themselves. I think it was a [expletive] disgrace that the entire post match ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your ass that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English.'

What did one Mexican fan have to say about the fans' behavior?

'I didn't have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.'

This 37 year-old man didn't have a choice? Perhaps he means it was his parents' choice. Well, he certainly has a choice now...and he can go back to Mexico...and take quite a few more with him. Is that dogmatic? Perhaps, but most of us who feel that way have arrived at that decision because of the actions of those south of the border immigrants. If you don't see a problem, you aren't looking at the facts.

Viva la Tim Howard!