wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dear FIFA-Coke Rankings,

First, I'm very flattered by all the attention, and why wouldn't I be? After all, your most recent set of rankings is nothing if not ego-inflating. It's great that you think of us as the fourth-best team in the world, behind only Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Holland. I mean, I was surprised when you put me fifth last month, but to move up a notch even after getting torched 4-1 in that friendly against Germany and drawing 1-1 at home against Jamaica--wow.

And when I think of all the hot national teams you prefer over me--Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal, Italy--I'm just really, really flattered. But the thing is, I'm not sure we're really on the same page with how we feel about each other. You're a great international sporting organization, and your rankings are so influential, don't get me wrong, but it just seems like you're much more into me than I am into you. I could accept a ranking of 11th or so (and would be excited to be in the top ten), but fourth just seems like a little too much, too fast.

The truth is--as much as it hurts to say--I just don't think you "get" me. If you did, you'd have me in a different place on the list, as it should be. And, to be honest, I think there is a ranking system with whom I have a better rapport. I'm sure you've heard of the World Football ELO Ratings, and it's no secret that both of you are ranking me, but when I see how they've got me around fourteenth, I just think, well, that makes more sense for me. I hope you'll understand.

Please don't take this all too hard. A lot of people think you're kind of crazy, but I think you basically make sense, and I don't want to sever ties entirely. I want you to keep ranking me, and I'll definitely keep coming to all your tournaments. It's just that--in the past few months especially, with being ranked fifth in March and all--things have been moving a little fast and I think it's better if they cool off a bit. I hope you'll understand. Your friend,



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