Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scotland's Bitter Eurocup Defeat

I haven't been able to do anything all weekend because like this young Scottish football fan....and so many others all over the world... I was gutted by this loss.

They had their hearts broken only for them to be patched up. Then, with seconds to go and hope springing eternal, those same brave hearts were broken again and tears flowed at Hampden.

Scotland's fans did their country proud before, during and after the devastating 2-1 defeat by Italy, whether among the throng at Hampden Park or clustered around TV sets from the deserts of Afghanistan to the sports bars of New York

But even though I was bitterly disappointed...and angry about how we were robbed by the ref... I was also really moved by the way the Scottish people and the Tartan Army reacted. Before and after the game.

My friends tell me they've never seen so many blue and white or yellow and red flags flying everywhere. Or so much pride. Or so much good behaviour in a place like Glasgow. Even after the bitter loss.

Sebastien tried to console me by saying it's just a game. But of course...just like his own's a little more complex than that.

It's about regaining your pride and self confidence... centuries of history and bad blood. And about standing up for who you are.

So when I heard the fans at Glasgow's Hampden Park singing "Flower of Scotland" before the game my heart soared across the Atlantic.

Here's a version of the same song sung in the same park...

O flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again

Now it's a soccer anthem.

With that kind of pride awakened.

One day it will be the anthem of an independent country...

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