Thursday, June 24, 2010

Soccer Fever

The seas of people keep us warm in the bitter cold. It was about 20 degrees last night... and I was warmer in the crowd than in my house. Yet I was never uncomfortable or inappropriately touched, etc. There was one near-instance of a creepy drunk guy one night last week, but I didn't even have to say anything - some guy I'd never seen or met sent him away, with a simple turn, smile, nod from me as a thank you... before I went on celebrating with the multitudes of others around me. Can you imagine that - from a guy who wasn't even interested in anything but general comfort in the crowd. (and he wasn't the security guard - I'd already made friends with her, ha)

The fan parks are a world in and of themselves. We went the night of the USA-England opener. Soccer is one of those few places/times I feel I can proudly proclaim I am an American - especially on foreign soil. I (we - my roommates and I) proudly sang our national anthem at the top of our lungs with the few faithful around me (surrounded by England fans prepared to cheer against us). As we did so, people literally lined up to take photos of us singing. One guy said I was helping him fulfill his goal: He wants photos of fans from every country entered in the World Cup. Knowing all the words to a national anthem is a pretty sure sign we weren't lying about where we are from, even if many argued with me because I don't have (as thick of) an American accent, like my roommates do. I guess my accent has changed more than I thought?

Its a beautiful thing, isn't it? The World Cup? I have connected with so many friends from all over the world because of it, and met countless more while out and about. Even if temporary, this is exactly the start of community I was hoping and praying for one month ago. I am less lonely when I get to meet people, feel like I'm alive, dance to my heart's content, watch soccer more than I've been able to in my entire life (I watched at least part of every game the first week… and have done my best to keep up since then, though life must also move on...).

The days are full of energy and excitement, and the nights are COLD but kept warm with Soccer FEVER! With no insulation and no indoor heat here in good ‘ol RSA, its kind of like camping when its 20 degrees outside - every night - without a campfire! woot!

This only adds to why I like to go out as much as possible. It is warmer outside than in (really - unless its terribly windy), and the crowds make it even warmer! AND - the one place we can find a heater is in the car. so I like it there.

There have been more adventures relating to the World Cup than I can count. Perhaps I will have a chance to recount some of them here. But until then… I hope you are watching and may the best team win! That being said… GO USA!!!! (this photo was taken immediately following Donovan's AMAZING goal in the 95th minute of game 3!)
...can YOU feel it?

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