“We embody what Americans are about — we can moan about it or we can get on with it.”

End of game update: USA wins 1-0 on a last-gasp Landon Donovan tap-in. If it’d come in the 50th minute, we’d all be saying “nice win.” Moments like this are not about the money.But the suspense, the thought of going home while Slovenia and England progressed, had to have been weighing on all the players, coaches and fans.

I won’t recap what everyone else is saying; instead I want to highlight a quote pulled from the outstanding NYT soccer blog that’s provided top-quality coverage and stats throughout the tourney: (Landon) “interviewed on the field by ESPN, and he’s almost overcome with emotion. He says,

“The ball fell to me and time kind of stopped. You can’t miss from there.”‘

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has written the book on Flow in sports. In the wikipedia post, flow has several components, including:

  1. Distorted sense of time, one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
  2. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
  3. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
  4. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)

For Donovan to feel time stopping indicates the state of mind he was in. He had run

Donovan, in the zone, reflecting on what he’s just accomplished.

about 70 yards after 92 minutes of incredible effort, yet he felt no fatigue — he’d reached it, but was not realizing it. He felt in control of the shot, and his finish was effortless: “you can’t miss from there.” Actually, you can miss from there, and his teammates had proved that several times before his fateful strike.

Every kid on the globe has kicked a ball against the wall to win a world cup game in his / her mind. Today Landon showed what it was like to do it for real, and his last quote from his on-field interview is the new title of this post.

*   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   **   *

40:00 in USA-Algeria, England is winning 1-0 and if nothing changes we go home.

This game always looked to me like Algeria’s inventiveness against USA’s strength and fitness. So far it’s holding to form; Algeria’s attackers are showing up the American defenders but can’t get close enough to trouble Timmy. The USA has more chances but lack of technical nous is causing the chances to go to waste.

Altidore soars. Great colors in the Algerian kit.

I like the team Bob Bradley’s put on the field, with Bocanegra in the middle instead of Onyewu. Maurice Edu is playing with composure and intelligence. Hercules Gómez gets his chance to show what he can do and has missed two great chances. On the plus side, he got into position; on the minus, he failed to finish.We’ll see if Bradley shows faith in him for the second half.

The Univision announcers remind us that the US has had excellent second halves in this tournament; we’ll have to repeat this if we want to keep playing after today.

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2 Responses to “We embody what Americans are about — we can moan about it or we can get on with it.”

  1. abroshar says:

    Beautiful work. Your writing has “flow” too.

    You can’t miss from here. :)

  2. Pingback: Iniesta felt it. Donovan felt it. | Jim's a keeper

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