June 18, 2010

World Cup madness

It's the World Cup! Did you know? C and I sort of paid attention to it when we lived in Santa Cruz, mostly because we had friends from countries where the football is important. We'd go over to someone's house late at night, or to 99 Bottles (owned by a futbol fan) to watch games, but we didn't have that much invested. The US doesn't always qualify, the tournament is usually held far away, and we didn't grow up in a strong culture of soccer fandom. The US also doesn't often compete as a single entity in international sports events - there's the Olympics, but the World Cup isn't treated like a big deal, the Tour de France is more about the individuals than their national affiliations, and we're not even invited to Eurovision.

People here in HD are psyched, though. Every game in the tournament is on the public TV station, there are public viewings of Germany's games in parks and stadiums all over the country, and even in our sedate little suburby neighborhood there are flags on cars, hanging from windows, and temporarily tattooed on our kid (courtesy of a big kid at kindergarten).

I've been watching a lot of the games, and I feel like I'm not watching the way people here do. I want everyone to win! I'd be excited if the US team kept doing well (hey, I'm even wearing red, white and blue because of the game this afternoon), but mostly I want to see good teams play well, wherever they're from. This is in sharp contrast to how I would watch the World Series, by the way - growing up in Seattle, there are definitely teams I couldn't ever support (coughYankeescough). I'm going to take this "happy whatever happens" attitude about the World Cup as an unexpected advantage of being from a place where soccer success isn't a big part of my identity.

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