Football in this sense is the "Beautiful Game," or soccer as we yanks call it, not the Friday Night Lights variety that pulses through the veins of every man, woman, and child 'round these parts.
I say it's lonely because there are only a handful of faithful who seem to have more than a passing interest in this game. While live shots show hundreds of thousands standing in a plaza in Mexico City watching their team, the Dallas local news can muster only a measley "color" spot about a few dozen fans that watched the US match at the local FC Dallas stadium.
I say lonely because there's barely an infrastructure in place to watch these matches. You can't simply walk into your local pub and join countless others who raise a glass and a cheer for their team.
I say lonely because the few of us who love this sport around here have to speak in hushed tones in the corner at parties dominated by discussions of pee-wee football and the NBA finals. "The World Cup? Yeah, I heard something about that, but I'd rather watch paint dry than watch soccer," one says.
I want to scream, "WAKE UP, MAN! THIS IS THE WORLD CUP!" This is an event bigger than the Olympics! One that makes the scope and appeal of the Super Bowl a joke by comparison. One that makes the moniker "World Series" laughable. Don't you get it? Our national pride is on the line! The world is watching!
And we couldn't care less as a nation.
This is a game where entire nations join in breathless anticipation as eleven of their own take the field against eleven others representing an equally breathless nation. Until, that is, the ball hits the back of the net in a glorious climax. And then every one of them from both sides are breathless for an entirely different reason after screaming their heads off either in joy or disappointment.
No, I say lonely because breathless Americans hanging on every kick, save, and foul of the World Cup are a rarity; a happy, thrilled, and passionate rarity.