[EDITORIALS]A lesson in how to cheer

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[EDITORIALS]A lesson in how to cheer

The match between the United States and South Korea in the World Cup on Monday gave Koreans two new possibilities. One is the bright future of Korea's soccer. The other is the Red Devils-type street cheering that enhanced both national integration and citizens' consciousness.

About one million people took to the streets and gathered in front of 81 huge television screens in major cities across the country, including the southern city of Daegu where the game was played. Despite the pouring rain, the crowds cheered with great enthusiasm and in perfect order. Even after the match ended in a tie, to the disappointment of many Koreans who had expected a victory, the cheering citizens cleaned up the streets, picking up rain-soaked trash around them. There were no incidents at all, especially no anti-U.S. protests that many had feared.

Such a mature street-cheering festival has become one of the best features of the World Cup and a pleasant surprise.

The world is surprised at the heated cheering that never paused throughout the 90-minute game. It is even more amazed that the cheering was spontaneous and voluntary. We ourselves are also surprised to find that the entire nation can unite over a soccer ball to such a great extent. The national enthusiasm and energy were not just mass madness or hysteria. They showed our dynamism and potential to achieve anything. Koreans have shown the whole world the mature potential that they can harness as social capital to lead the country to take another leap forward.

Therefore, we should not let the national fervor and energy peter out in ephemeral bubbles. Whether the Korean soccer squad will advance to the second round or not, the mature cheering culture should survive and be used as social capital even after the World Cup is over. The Red Devils-style of cheering may be a Korean cultural export. We should also add Koreans' enthusiastic fervor to the cheering culture to instill self-confidence and national pride and use it to upgrade the Korean economy by enhancing its transparency, productivity and international standing.

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