It is another one of those timeless clichés, “it’s not if you win or lose, it is how you play the game”. At this moment in time, no one personifies that more than Tim Howard. Granted, his “fame” in mainstream American consciousness might be fleeting, but when you are trending on Twitter and have sparked some classic internet memes, you might just have some staying power. #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave has been awesome! It was not the record-setting 16 stops in a World Cup match, rather it is how he played and what he has said post game that makes all the difference.
There is no question, even to this marginal at best soccer fan, that Tim Howard’s performance on the pitch was nothing short of amazing. He was a pleasure to watch, both in his skill and his level of committment and passion. The guy gave his all in every match, setting an example for his teammates and earning the respect of opponents and fans throughout the world. The guy is a professional. He plays fulltime in the English Premier League, even I know enough to recognize that he is a world-class athlete. The EPL is the top of the football world, and Tim Howard has perfected his trade in that crucible.
In all his post game interviews and on the morning infotainment circuit, he has been a class act. He has praised his teammates, coaches, and opponents. He has shown a level of committment to the team that has been refreshing. He is a worker, the type of guy who quite literally plays hurt. He is about the greater good, the team, the sport. Just as the San Antonio Spurs were the epitome of team and class last month, so it is Tim Howard this month.
Our culture has become so championship, “win at all costs”, “do whatever it takes” focused, that it has been refreshing to see someone at the top of their profession live up to that classic cliché. The US Men’s Soccer team was eliminated, but what will be remembered is how Tim Howard played the game. Not often we get a chance to see such a thing. Hope that memory lasts a bit longer than a just the tweets.