In Which We Remember Professional Sports Aren't All That Important

By Noah Davis 

Andy Najar has a decision to make. The young soccer phenom needs to pick between the United States and Honduras. Both countries are vying for the 17-year-old’s services.

But at least Najar has the ability to make a choice. The Yanks Are Coming’s Neil W. Blackmon writes a heartbreaking story about an Atlanta 18-year-old who’s an illegal immigrant and, therefore, can’t even play for his regional select team because he and his father are concerned he’ll be discovered while traveling.

“[Knowing the truth] was the hardest thing. I’m American. I like the same things most kids like – FIFA 2011 on Playstation, hip hop, going to the movies. When Landon scored against Algeria, I ran around my house screaming and hugging my cousins. It was like they scored for me, for my friends. I’m just like most my friends, except I’m not.”

There’s hope, but then it’s dashed.Specifically, Barack Obama’s D.R.E.A.M. bill would have given “Sergio” some options, but it was voted down. The teenager is all too aware.

“Five votes,” Sergio says, staring down at his now empty plate of eggs and bacon. “Five votes.” You can tell the moment of the vote is stuck with him, so I ask if he remembers where he was and what he was doing when he found out the vote failed in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives. He nods. “I was leaving soccer practice. My Uncle”, he pauses, “My Uncle is a citizen…he called. He spent days calling our congressmen and our Senator, urging them to vote for it. Both our Senators (Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson) voted no. So close, but so far. Five lousy votes.

Take 10 minutes and read the story. It certainly puts things in perspective.