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

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gatorade Commercial

I realize that the Gatorade commercial featuring the USMNT has been out for a few weeks now, so this post is somewhat stale. But I just saw the commercial for the first time, and I think it's brilliant. In just thirty seconds, it really manages to capture international soccer fans' passionate intensity, the truly hostile atmosphere that the nats often face when they play abroad (particularly in Latin America), and the courage it must take for our players to travel to and play in such venues. The rivalries and nationalism that pervade international soccer are, in my mind, a large part of what makes the sport so much fun to follow.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the Gatorade commercial is how it shows not only the hostility of opposing teams' fans toward the U.S., but also the U.S. players' reactions to the hostility. You see EJ, Deuce, and Donovan with looks of focused determination on their faces while listening to music, trying to tune it all out. And the look on Quaranta's face as he's sitting in the lockerroom and the fans are making so much noise that the ceiling tiles are bouncing up and down is priceless.

Finally, the goals and goal celebrations at the end are awesome in the way they capture the joy and exuberance of a critical goal. The rhythm of a soccer game, where both teams can struggle for an hour or more to score while the tension builds, only to be finally released when a goal is ultimately scored, is another part of what makes the game truly the beautiful game.

So hats off to Gatorade, for a terrific commercial. I hope they show it early and often in the WC.


Blogger SMELLRAT said...

Yeah, there's nothing more beautiful in soccer than its ties with knee-jerk nationalism. You're really on the ball, buddy. And you're so right, t does take so much "courage," as you pointed, to play soccer abroad, even in the snow! (My god, the horror, the horror!) And I really enjoyed the shot of the armed guards, though I suppose it might hint at a larger courage elsewhere, eh?

12:21 PM, May 21, 2006

Blogger DF said...

rat, have you seen the commercial mirarchi is talking about? there's national pride, but nothing like knee-jerk nationalism.

and as for courage, i'd say it takes more than a little to play on the road in concacaf where armed guards ring the pitch to keep the crazed fans in check, and opposing players have to dodge coins and bags of uring thrown b the crowd.

7:25 PM, May 21, 2006

Blogger mirarchi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:18 AM, May 22, 2006

Blogger mirarchi said...

Smellrat, do you really think the World Cup would be just as entertaining a spectacle if the fans were completely devoid of any kind of national pride? I suppose you'd prefer it if none of the fans wore their national colors, and if before and after the games, all the fans stood in a circle, held hands, and sang kumbaya?

12:20 AM, May 22, 2006

Blogger SMELLRAT said...

You're defending the beauty of nationalism, eh? (Ever read something called 'history'?) Hey I watch football for one thing: beautiful play. (Galeano: "Years have gone by and I've finally learned to acccept myself for who I am: a beggar for good soccer. I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums I plead: 'A pretty move, for the love of God.' And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don't give a damn which team or country performs it.")
In other words, I don't need or admire nationalistic jingo dished out to me by some corporate America sponsor trying to play on post 9-11 emotions in order to peddle glorified, green water. Look man if yall want to pretend a bunch of primadona athletes who've spent half their lives in soccer camps are brave, then have at it. Illusion's a beautiful thing, too, man. If you need nationalism to enjoy the World Cup I feel sorry for you. And if you're someone touched by corporate commercials then you're sad, sad, sad . . .

8:30 AM, May 22, 2006

Blogger mirarchi said...

You're of course right, rat, that nationalism doesn't have a particularly distinguished history, so I probably should have used the phrase "national pride" instead. Of course, national pride can also get out of hand and lead to all kinds of atrocities, but national pride can also be healthy and isn't always something to be ashamed of.

I also agree with you that there is something disturbing about corporations cynically trying to exploit national pride and post-9/11 emotions to sell things like glorified green water, as you put it. On the other hand, I think the Gatorade commercial is an attempt to sell not only the glorified green water, but also the sport of soccer. And if the commercial attracts more Americans to the sport, which I think it might, then I'm all for it. I guess I have no objection to corporations playing to people's national pride to sell international soccer in the U.S.

You write that "If you need nationalism to enjoy the World Cup I feel sorry for you." Where did anyone say anything about needing nationalism to enjoy the World Cup? All I said was that a large part of what I enjoy about the WC is the nationalism and national rivalries. But I would still enjoy the World Cup even if it were completely devoid of nationalism -- soccer is the beautiful game, and when played at the highest level, as it often is at the World Cup, it's an incredible spectacle, nationalism or no nationalism. To me, the nationalism just makes the spectacle all the more enjoyable, and adds a lot to the drama.

As for my being "someone touched by corporate commercials," I guess I wonder how you would know that the commercial was corporate, if the last few seconds of the commercial featuring the gatorade logo were removed. If that part of the commercial were excised, would it then by permissible for me to be touched by the commercial without feeling ashamed, or would it still be a corporate commercial? And if it still would be a corporate commercial, what distinguishes it from, say, a non-corporate soccer clip that a fan put together just for fun?

11:09 AM, May 22, 2006

Blogger SMELLRAT said...

The same reason you should hate a tearkjerker movie, because it's purely manipulative and appeals to base emotions.

Whichever team plays the most creative football and displays the least cynicism and the best sportsmanship, that's the team I root for. I could give a damn what country they come from.

I've probably been rude--I apologize--but nationalism is what I hate most about soccer, and it's what Gatorade is tweaking in that ad. (As to nationalism, look what's happening with the Polish hooligan right now in Germay.) And as to what you said about the ad as pure film (without the logo at the end) I think the footage itself is overly dramatic and rather depressing. I hate the soundtrack, and even the goals, the three headers, are far from spectacular.

I guess as an American I am going into the World Cup with my head hung, embarrassed at my country's behavior in the world, and so I find an commerical that tweaks at American's infamous nationalistic pride a bit aggravating. I didn't like the ad, but that's no cause to be rude, and I apologize.

12:10 PM, May 22, 2006

Blogger mirarchi said...

No worries, smellrat -- I understand your point. Like you, I'm also ashamed of what Bush has done with our foreign policy. We had so much international goodwill after 9/11, and Bush has gone and squandered it with startling efficiency.

So going into the WC, do you have a team who plays creative football with the most sportsmanship and the least cynicism? If so, let me know, as I'll adopt them as my second-favorite team (my favorite will always be the U.S., Bush's idiocy be damned).

5:48 PM, May 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:06 PM, May 26, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the 1994 commercial, I think it was by Miller Beer, in the run-up to the World Cup which showed various shots of Team USA in action, without audio or graphic commentary, set to the strains of Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner"? Now THAT was nationalistic. And I loved it. Perhaps int'l soccer is the only arena in which I allow myself to succumb to nationalistic sentiments, because it's the only area in which we Americans really ARE the underdogs we often imagine ourselves to be. Could you imagine celebrating when Team USA wins the gold in Olympic basketball? It would be like rooting for Microsoft. But I will celebrate if Team USA does well in Germany, and I won't feel at all guilty. God knows there are enough other things we can feel guilty about.

11:13 PM, May 26, 2006


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