The Daily Wave: What July 4th Means To Me & The USA

Bart Young

Other than the usual reasons to celebrate the birth of our nation. What July 4th means to me and how the USA might have gone a little off the rails in celebrating the occasion.

The sporting events on July 4th include Major League Baseball, the Nathans hot dog eating contest, and most importantly a Colorado Rapids match at home which has been the case every year of their existence. While the reasons I will watch the hot dog eating contest are- A. I want to see a (WARNING) "reversal of fortune" and B. to see American Joey Chestnut get all the glory of a record 7th mustard belt in a row. With a side of an angry Takeru Kobayashi cursing Chestnut under his hot dog smelling breath.

If we had a vote of which international competition was more important for an American to win it has to be the hot dog eating contest right? It can be reasoned that Joey Chestnut is a more popular and somehow favorable spokesman material for a company over toxic Lance Armstrong. This is the society that we created. We care more about competitive eating than a bonifide sport that people would actually let their kid be apart of. To boil it down to the smallest denominator it's eating over exercise.

While the Hot dog contest has really only recently seen national recognition on July 4th. The MLS has been around since I was 12 years old. I remember the John Spencer hat-trick (2001). The loss last year reminded me of how I felt when the Denver Nuggets only won 11 games in 1997-98. I thought the franchise was lost and had no direction. My favorite July 4th moment was a Marcelo Balboa golden goal against the Chicago Fire.

I vividly remember the Rapids having just signed with Kappa to produce their jerseys. So the Rapids wore the same style as the Italian national team for that day only. Colorado played behind most of the second half before equalizing with a minute to go. Then in overtime Balboa scored and I understood why people were addicted to this sport. The stadium exploded with cheers. It was great to fill MIle High Stadium even for one game a year. Fifty thousand plus regularly attended the July 4th Rapids game. I have only felt the same atmosphere at a sporting event a few times and that includes the Colorado Rockies winning the play-in game to go to the playoffs in 2007 and when the U.S.A. played Costa Rica in March of this year in a blizzard.

I can best describe it as sometimes you get a feeling that you're watching something special. Balboa scoring that goal was exactly the same as Matt Holliday scraping his face on the plate. While the Holliday run was at best arguable that he touched home plate. The Balboa goal a no doubt about it golden goal. I had the same feeling on March 22nd when the United States played Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Clint Dempsey took advantage of the weather and the Central Americans froze. Hopefully the Rapids have a reversal of fortune of recent July 4th matches and give me that special feeling on our nations birthday this week. Go America.

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