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In which John delivers some news to people who might pay attention to different kinds of news--and also wonders how best to enjoy the 2018 World Cup.
(Yes, I know it should technically be For Whom Should We Root, or Whom Should We Root For, but language is alive and is in the clarity business, not the maintenance of rules business.)

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All: Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday!

John: Hank, you've just been greeted by the Project for Awesome donors who joined me this weekend to watch AFC Wimbledon's 2-1 victory over Oxford United–a critical win because in order for everyone's favorite third tier English soccer team not to become a fourth English soccer team, they need to finish in 20th or above. And that win took AFC Wimbledon up to the dizzying heights of 18th.

But anyway, my 27 hours in England reminded me of something weird about contemporary US life, which is that we're going through challenges that lots of Americans don't even know exist, right? Like, people get their news from such wildly divergent sources that we don't even hear the same stories, let alone agree on what they mean. And so even if something terrible happened say, back in October, many people won't have heard about it, which means that some of you are about to learn for the very first time that the US Men's National team did not qualify for the World Cup.

I know, right? How is this even possible, I mean the United States is the richest nation on Earth and FIFA is famously bribe-able. What went wrong!? Basically we lost to Costa Rica twice, and Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago. But you know the old saying, when God closes a door, how do you lose to Trinidad and Tobago. I think that's the old saying.

Okay but look, the United States was not the only country to fail the qualifier for the World Cup. Italy won't be there nor will the Netherlands, or Chile, or Canada, or China, or New Zealand, or lots of other countries. And for all of us in those countries, we have a problem - or possibly an opportunity. Who do we root for?

And also is there any way we can sell our support for charity of course -or possibly for our own enrichment - no, for charity, that's better. People of the one-hundred and seventy nine nations that did not qualify for the World Cup, we need to ban together as one bad-at-football world and find one or possibly a few countries to root for. And I'm talking about going all in - jerseys, face paint, learning some chants, weeping for joy and then sorrow and then joy, and then finally sorrow.

The obvious strategy would just be to auction off our love, some Nerdfighters and I did this back in 2014 and raised over ten thousand dollars for Sarcoma research. And that might still be the best way to go about it, but the big downside was that, of course the rich countries ended up donating the most which kinda took some of the fun out of it. So if you have any ideas on how to raise money while deciding who to root for, please leave them in comments, and if you don't have any ideas, please read the comments and vote for your favorite ideas.

You know who made it to the World Cup, by the way? Iceland. Which has a smaller population than that of Wichita, Kansas. Also, Costa Rice. Which just passed the US in life expectancy and obviously in soccer ability...but I'm on a tangent.

The Important thing here is that those of us without a rooting interest in the World CUp need to find one because otherwise we will be forced to gaze into the yawning abyss of meaninglessness. I'm not totally kidding about that, by the way.

Like, I know that a lot of you will say that you don't care about soccer, and that it's just people trying to get a spherical object into a net without using their hands, which is like, the stupidest human activity imaginable. And I get that, but the central mistake of your reasoning is that football is not actually about feet or balls, it's about community. Football matters because we share it, and we need to find big endeavours to share across geographic and cultural divides because they remind us that we are truly all in this together.

Of course sport isn't the only way to achieve that feeling, but achieving it in sport does help us elsewhere.

So I'm not kidding, I need to find a team to root for in the World Cup. We need to care about stuff! Caring is so underrated!

As Pope John Paul II put it, "of all of the unimportant things, football is the most important."

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.
(?~0:55)