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Win, Lose, Or Draw: How to Spin Your World Cup Tie

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2010: As the non-elimination group stage of the World Cup barrels along, it's not the wins or losses that are adding up, but instead the ties, an equalizing a stalemate whose fortunes depend entirely on which side you are on.

After last week's 1-1 tie between England and the US, the always patriotic New York Post had a favorable headline splashed across the sports page, as noticed by Mediaite, proving once again that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you spin the game.

The New York Post takes a, um, unique angle on [Saturday's] World Cup game between the U.S. and England that ended in a draw. And by unique, I mean, inaccurate. The U.S. did not actually win. To the best of my knowledge a 1-1 score in any game in not a win.

Nevertheless! The Post is not one the let technicalities get in the way of a good cover. Actually, my initial reaction when I saw the paper this morning was that the Post had somehow gone to press before the gamed ended and they were merely hoping that wanting the U.S. to win was enough to justify a cover stating they did. However, the game ended long before the print deadline.

So, perhaps the Post was speaking metaphorically? As in, the U.S. wins some World Cup respect?

1968: One of the most famous ties in collegiate athletics was capped with a similarly positive spin by the Harvard Crimson the day after the Harvard team scored sixteen points against Yale in the last forty-two seconds of the game: "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29." The Crimson lovingly marks the game at each of its anniversaries, here with at look back at the tenth.

An 11 year old boy sitting deep in the end zone stained the blue felt of his Yale pennant with tears of disbelief. Brain Dowling called it "the only game I ever lost at Yale." John Yovicsin said he never gave up on his team, while some players noted he had virtually conceded in the locker room at halftime. The Harvard Crimson held off the "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29" headline until the Monday edition. The Saturday extra after the game was curt--"Harvard, Yale Draw, 29-29." Life went on. The world began to spin again. 1968 closed quietly in comparison, and gave way to the softer tremors of 1969 and the '70s.

The Game also went on. Still in upper case letters, still each November entered into the microcosmic sporting tradition of the Harvards and the Yales. And as each Game passed, the distance grew between the oasis and the desert lined with generations of tailgate picnics.

29-29. It is a score that stands secure upon its own pedestal from now throughout eternity.

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