America has never been this excited about a World Cup. While this is our biggest reaction to the world event, it’s not our first. So is America’s passion for soccer real or fad? The World Cup took off in America this year in part because we are more desperate than ever to be discussing the same topic at the same time.

+ We crashed the party for a while, but now it’s down to the semifinals. As the NYT’s George Vecsey explains, this stage of the tournament remains an inner sanctum until further notice.

+ He was born deaf. He lost his sight as a teen. So now he has to sense the World Cup.