World Cup started today, and Toronto is already electric. On my way to lunch today, we passed a sports bar filled with people watching the Germany vs. Costa Rica match on TV. People of all different races and cultures were bunched up on the sidewalk outside the windows, craning their necks, and trying to get a glimpse of the score. 4-2 Germany, last time we looked. Cars sped by with various country's flags, waving joyously in the wind. Trinidad & Tobago! Brazil! A couple of Brits walked by, kicking an imaginary soccer ball and slagging the German team. I love this energy. It's one of the most beautiful things about living in a city as multicultural as Toronto.
I must admit though, that I don't know much about the game itself, outside of what I learned in my Sociology of Sport class in university. Sport is class based, race based, and soccer is an arena where class and race biases are played out all over the world...blah blah blah. I'm not sure if this is still true, but back then, seating arrangements in poorer South American countries mirrored class distinctions. "Higher" class people would get the best seats, closest to the field, and "lower" class people would get the seats further away. They would proceed to piss on the people below them. What better example of sociological dialogue in action through sport than that?!
Aside from those little tidbits, my exposure to soccer is limited to watching Bend It Like Beckham, and listening to my dad yelling and screaming over the phone, during the last World Cup in South Korea. I must admit, that my heart was racing right along with my dad's! But mostly because I was worried about my dad's high blood pressure. He gets so excited, his face turning red, jumping around like he has ants in his pants. I did not want him to explode!
I've entered a Soccer Pool here at work, and based my picks on gut instinct. I know. I should hang my head in shame. Of course, I had to put South Korea in (don't laugh) somewhere. I've got to support my own people, but ultimately I chose Brazil, Portugal, and Italy. Will someone who knows something about soccer please tell me how I did?