Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Landon Donovan situation in 1:21

I was all ready to unfurl a lengthy piece about Donovan's absence and its inopportune timing as the boys take shrapnel hits in the trenches while Donovan walks his dog. I'll leave that up to newly minted NYT global soccer writer Sam Borden.

Instead, in a succinct 1:21, is an illustration that cuts deep to my point. What you're watching is a clip toward the end of the HBO series Band of Brothers. David Webster, the lad hopping on the back of the Jeep, was pegged by machine gun fire in Holland and left Easy Company for the hospital. Unfortunately for Webster (or fortunately, depending on your vantage), his absence forced him to miss the Siege of Bastogne, one of the toughest periods of the war for the 101st Airborne. The group suffered untold losses and its share of grief while Webster was laid up in a hospital bed. When Webster returns, he faces a group changed by the battle and cold to a soldier they felt somewhat abandoned by.

Without making light of war, the parallels between Webster and Donovan are obvious. If this period now isn't the USMNT's Battle of the Bulge, I don't know what is.


Let me add that I don't think Donovan owes fans anything. After the last 10+ years, I don't necessarily think he owes the team anything either. For better or worse, though, I think the coldness shown Webster here is part of the reality of going missing when the heat gets highest. There is a level of camaraderie amongst teammates involved simply with being there that cannot be replicated, and it cannot be shared with outsiders. For the rest of his career, Donovan will have at least a hint of Webster's taint. Whether he deserves it or not.

- Will Parchman


Matt said...

Shoot. In the locker room...he'll need to provide a lot of heroics before his teammates look at him the same again.

Not to mention the irony after the criticisms he levelled at Beckham. And way to have JK's back after Juergen went out on a limb for LD at Bayern...though that seems to have strained their relationship somehow.

I do like Alexi's take on this one; it's not a burden being the face of American soccer, it's an honor.

Tony M said...

"Dunivant, who has spoken with Donovan frequently, believes Donovan has done just that. “I’ve never seen him happier,” he said. “He’s in a better place, there’s no doubt. He’s relaxed.”"

I'm willing to be this translates into a new focus for him. I think he finishes the year with the Galaxy and goes back to Everton. Then plays the 2014 WC and plays a part time role in 2018 qualifying (at least).

dikranovich said...

looks like dempsey might have the armband, i guess he is starting friday night. we have good firepower to bring off the bench if needed.

Unknown said...

All Donovan has to do is jump into Berlin and cut off Hitler's mustache, then he will be right a rain. Langdon that is not Hitler

Wideboy said...

After the bonding experience the team had last night, I think the example from Band of Brothers is even more prescient.