Unfortunately, my schedule won’t allow me to watch much of the World Cup this time around, but I’m trying to catch the highlights and pay attention to the results.

I was particularly fascinated by the rock, paper, scissors dynamic of the division of Germany, Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea. For those who missed it – Germany, the reigning championship team – did not make it to the next round. First, Mexico pulled a huge upset. But then managed to defeat Sweden. Both Mexicoย and Sweden defeated South Korea, and it was looking like a three-way tie as Sweden was handily defeating Mexico. I was curious about how the tie-break would work. But then the biggest upset of the tournament – South Korea defeated Germany in overtime! So Sweden and Mexico move on and Germany is out!

I think that was the most competitive of the divisions. I’m remembering when South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals of the Cup – the farthest any Asian team had made it in men’s competition up to that point – and the processing of Asher’s adoption was delayed because the government offices were closed for the game. I’m so proud of his soccer gamesmanship – both in terms of skill and sportsmanship. I wonder if he absorbed some of the spirit in Korea as an infant.

Lastly, commenting on the failure of the US men’s team to qualify for the tournament – I actually attribute it to something for which Americans should take national pride. My theory as to why the women are almost always seeded to win and make it to the finals while the men struggle to qualify and rarely make it out of the first round – Title IX. And while most of our best male athletes are drawn to the “big four” sports, soccer presents a rarer opportunity for women to make a living as an athlete. If we could only export one of our institutions to other countries, my choice would be Title IX, which as of about 20 years ago had resulted in an increase of female involvement in organized sports by 900 percent. Probably higher now.