101713_boydterrence_ap_ap312663069167 Arnulfo Franco/AP Images
The World Cup

We Respect Terrence Boyd For Respecting Panama

Mexico’s World Cup jubilation is counterbalanced by Panama’s devastation. ASN Contributing Editor Jon Arnold saw the above photo, and wanted to write about it. So we let him.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
October 18, 2013
12:42 PM
“RESPECT PANAMA.” That's all Terrence Boyd had to say on Instagram when he shared Associated Press photographer Arnulfo Franco's photo of the American forward hugging Panama captain Felipe Baloy. (See above.) Boyd and the U.S. had just eliminated the Central American country from the World Cup with two stoppage-time goals.

Boyd doesn't know what it feels like to be eliminated from the World Cup just minutes before feeling confident he qualified. He's never been on an international team that wasn't bound for football's biggest stage. A decade Baloy's junior, Boyd doesn't have to worry about being 37 when the next World Cup rolls around, either.

As great as Baloy has been throughout his career, and he has been great, that night he sat on the field of Estadio Rommel Fernandez feeling failure. He failed to take his country to its first World Cup. He couldn't achieve a dream he's held for the majority of his life.

Maybe Boyd saw some of that in the expression on Baloy's face Tuesday night when he bent down to console him. Maybe seeing a hulking man, easily one of the most intimidating figures in the region, reduced to tears by the cruelty of the game he loves, the game he's made his career in, brought Boyd to his knees as well.

Perhaps he's had that feeling too. One of utter helplessness as the task you've nearly completed slips away from you. Boyd knows the feeling of crushing defeat. We all do. We could all feel some level of Baloy's sorrow as he fell to the pitch. Everyone has experienced loss. Boyd may have been commiserating, remembering a similarly difficult defeat. Or perhaps he was just doing the right thing by recognizing a man who had tried his best, had a prize snatched from him, and was in need of a hug.

Whatever was running through the young forward's mind, it provided a moment that reminds me why I love and hate sports. A man hugging another man as he weeps, colleagues only by happenstance, reminds me why I love people. There's beauty in Boyd's willingness to set aside the expectations we have for him and other athletes and allow his humanity to come through. Other players did so as well Tuesday night and do so on a regular basis. But they weren't captured by Franco's lens. Boyd was.

Respect Panama. Respect the game. Respect each other. Respect Terrence Boyd.

What do you think of all of this? And the photograph above? Tell us in the Comments below.

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