I've been watching a lot of the World Cup lately. I was reluctant to blog about it because I honestly am just a fair weather soccer fan who only gets excited about it every four years and, even then, watches the games with only a limited understanding. Also, I'm pretty sure none of my readers care. Still, I've realized the World Cup is a lot more fun in New York, no doubt because so many people here are from countries who actually care about soccer. There is such an energy to it. On Tuesday, I could tell the Brazilian team had won just by the raucousness of the party happening in the Brazilian restaurant near my apartment.
I remember the last World Cup, as it was the first one I really took notice of. I was working 10 hours a day at a dead end filing job in the summer before my junior year of college. The property tax place where I worked (6 days a week!) didn't allow us to stream videos, so we would "watch" the games by googling the scores and then constantly refreshing the window to see if they changed. It was so rare that the scores did change, that we would erupt in cheers when it finally happened. It was almost as exciting as actually seeing the goal. This should paint a picture of how bleak that summer was.
This time, due to the South African time difference, most of the games have again been watched during business hours, minused in the corner of my screen. (That I now work at an office job where streaming video is, at the very least, tolerated so long as the work gets done, to me represents how far I've come). Unforunately, this usually means I miss key goals because I'm, you know, actually doing my job. The only game I watched on my own time was the United States/England game on Saturday. I went to the beer garden in Astoria (one of Astoria's most cherished landmarks) for the occasion. I learned that U.S. soccer fans are really annoying. But it was thrilling, and I felt, dare I say, patriotic when England completely screwed up and we got a goal. Better lucky, than good, as one U.S. fan put it.
Before the World Cup started, I called Uruguay to win it. I didn't really know much about the stats, but I always like rooting for an underdog. Unfortunately, I entered a pool with friends who are not such underdog-rooters--they each picked: Argentina, Spain, and Brazil. It now looks like I'll be buying a round of drinks. Nevertheless, the only game I've watched with my team was the one in which they completely pummeled South Africa. I'll admit this was a little hard to watch. Not only do I have something of a soft spot for South Africa (and hate to see them get beaten in their own country's capital), but I felt Uruguay looked a little too much like the big-bad talented team, and not so much the scrappy underdog I'd hoped for. Ah well, I should have gone with my instinct and backed Cote d'Ivoire.
Go team! But try to stay humble in your successes.