The World Cup Next
Door & From Far Afield
Brace yourself for withdrawal symptoms; it’ll be all over in just a few days. Even after all agony, nail biting till none was left, and much cursing at the TV, one can’t help it but start anticipating the crush of the end, which is nigh. The World Cup has spoiled us rot.
It may not have been the same since Team USA bowed out. It’ll be hard to see the whole U.S. so completely taken again by the explosion of cheers, jeers and untimely heartbreak, flags galore and packed bars all around. But we’re not quite done yet.
What a difference a few cups have made. From 1990, when the sole network showing the games would break, American football style, for commercials, to now, when U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was rumored for a possible renaming of the Reagan Airport, in Washington, DC, it feels almost like another country.
The Super Bowl would never command such an arrested crowd, but this is nothing new around the world. Even in the middle of sparsely populated regions, in public plazas and shantytowns, by desert nomads and war refugees, people still found the time to watch the games.
In Europe, such gathering by the thousands rivaled in numbers big mass rallies, but the comparison must stop right there: while those taking the streets to demand social change may get beaten, football fans risked only disappointment. Thank goodness, no hooligans to report so far. Good riddance too.
For sure, not all is like a sweet block party, plenty of cake and no guns allowed. While those are now rare in America, the World Cup still feels like an extended holiday. Disgracefully, our team won’t be at the final, but even if yours will, you’re unlikely to be spared from feeling empty either, coming Monday morning.
Thus enjoy it while it lasts. Heaven knows that people in Bagdad, in Gaza, in Damascus, and in Mogadishu, could use some cheerful release and a few shouts of Gooooaaalllll, just for a change. Since the rest of us have had plenty, let’s lend them a hand and do the screaming ourselves, even if the other team scores.
Well, that will never happen. Nevertheless, we’re all so very spoiled, anyway, so why let the chance for a good collective laugh pass us by unscathed? You’d better believe it, you will feel like there’s a bottomless pit (another one) in our gut, when suddenly you won’t see people dressed up and face-painted and so consumed by such a silly game.
For it is, indeed, all so very silly. Then again, so is our drive to get rich fast, and find the ultimately high, and buy the very latest gadget out there. At least, we’re not carrying posters or shouting slogans or getting gassed up for some corrupt politician or religious messiah, promising us the world, but taking even the little we’ve got.
Sorry to grossly and so gratuitously attack people’s obsession with following something or someone, and going to morally obscene lengths, to get the thrill that any banal ball game can offer, at not that high of a price. And sorry for so unceremoniously getting completely whacked out of the subject.
Where were we again? Oh, that’s right, the game of football, the World Cup, and the need to enjoy it before it’s over and all that. But you know what? Just look at the pictures and go meet your friends at the nearest pub and be a jolly sport for a change. And if you’re really up to it, by all means, once again, all together: Gooooaaaalllllll!
* Twisted Legs