Do you love soccer? Are you in an institution?

If you answered yes to the former and no to the latter, take out a beer bottle, smash it on a countertop and proceed to gouge tattoos in your arms. If you answered yes to the former and latter, wiggle out of your straightjacket and punch out the remaining teeth in your mouth.

This is not, mind you, because you are crazy for loving this game – quite the contrary. It is because you are not crazy enough.

Come and gone from the American hive mind is the U.S. men’s soccer team’s stunning 2-0 upset of Spain June 24. From halfway around the world, in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, USA soccer defeated the world’s No. 1-ranked national team that hadn’t lost in 35 matches and had won 15 straight games. On the fields in South Africa that will be used next year to host the World Cup, the naïve lunkheads from the States found a way to put two balls past a Spanish team that hadn’t yet allowed a goal in the tournament.

Yes, the game will show up on ESPN’s highlight reel of great games at the end of the year, eliciting either an “oh, yeah, I remember that” or a “was that the game where that woman ripped off her shirt and showed her bra? Sweet.”

But here’s the problem with American soccer.

I count myself as an example of the normal, casual American soccer fan. I love the pageantry and mania that comes with the beautiful game – I love watching the World Cup, I love football fandom when living in or visiting other countries – but I am disdainful of the actual game on the field and how it is played. Let’s be honest: it’s dull, it’s refereed atrociously and most unforgivably of all, it’s a game of flopping, diving, play-acting and whiny, pathetic complaining.

All are attributes incompatible with America. For a country that cares deeply about fairness in our society – we abolished the hereditary aristocracies of our forefathers and fight wars all over the globe in the name of one-voice-one-vote democracy – and in our sports (just look at the recent explosion of frame-by-frame instant replay in college and professional sports to ensure that the call is just right), soccer’s longstanding arbitrariness, athletic theatre and subjectivity have rightly stunted its growth in the United States for years.

I suggest we need a change in perspective. I’ll daresay that to be a true soccer fan, you must be quite insane. Soccer is pretty awful as a game, but as a communal athletic and cultural experience, it can’t be beat. This is how we must view the game. One need look no further than the rabid followings of club and national teams in almost every country in the world to see that football fandom is not merely a sporting hobby or passing interest but an all-consuming, utterly crazy chemical imbalance.

But what kind of crazy?

Look to the heyday of English hooliganism in the ’70s and ’80s where citywide brawls would accompany any match. Look at the neo-Nazi and Aryan bent of many Eastern European football “firms” whose support of their team is as much about ethnic or sectional ferocity as it is about athletic competition. Look at the murder of Colombian national team defender Andrés Escobar after his-own goal in the 1994 World Cup sent the team home in disgrace.

So here’s the rub: casual American fans won’t do – the game’s too dull and too incompatible Stateside for that – but neither will the super-crazy. There should be some middle ground that the United States can plow to redefine soccer fandom in equally intense but less destructive terms. Riding the wave of recreational and school teams flooding local fields every night of the week and, despite the monumentally underwhelming twilight career of David Beckham, the continuing play of Major League Soccer (now in its 14th season), soccer in America is here to stay.

U.S. soccer must up the ante of feverish support – how else could someone be asked to endure two hours of watching soccer – without degenerating into the ugly mania commonly seen beyond our borders.

On the field, the American win against Spain could be a fluke or the beginning of a larger trend, but in the stands, the American influence on soccer support must be powerful and longstanding.