Friday, June 09, 2006

The Beautiful Game

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?


Buffy said...

World Cup fever has gripped us all.

Whether we wanted it to or not.


Furtheron said...

What do you need to know about football. Well it's a game of two halves, the lads done good, at the end of the day..... etc. etc. The English game is so full of cliched expressions it's unbelievable.

My wife went out on Sat afternoon when the England Paraquay game was on. She'd never known it so quiet - she drove across town in about 10 mins - normally only poissible at 3am normally on a Sat would take you anything up to an hour.

England is awash with St. George's flags, houses, clubs, pubs, cars..... About half the country has bought an England team shirt in the last week I think. Sad that we only get this passionate about our country at these times I feel.

EM said...

Shaun woke up at 5:30 on Sat morning to catch the first England game. I had a nice long snooze in the king sized bed all to myself - WOOHOO!!!!

I know what you mean about the energy...we were on Commerical Drive in Vancouver on Sunday during the Mexico/Iran game and there were flags flying, people was awesome.

And the only thing I know about soccer is Bend it like Beckham!! HA HA HA HA... Brazil is #1 I think.

David said...

It's so weird. All around the world, everyone is pumped for the World Cup, but here in the U.S., well, not so much. I mean, dont get me wrong, we have a few soccer enthusiasts around here (my friend Madelaine being one of them) but I dont understand why this country doesnt get all into it...hmmmm.

hattigrace said...

Life is a crap shoot, ultimately. When we are in the middle with loyalties to certain teams, it grips the heart. But along the periphy, it is just another toss of the dice. Hope "your" team wins with dignity and grace!!

Furtheron said...

I think the fact that the USA got beat 3-0 by the Czech Republic maybe one reason the USA doesn't get "into it" :-)

I've a friend here in UK who is Czech - she was really excited last night. She lives in a flat above a load of Russians - so had consider it prudent to leave the huge Czech flag inside her flat over her sofa rather than hang it out the window and start WWIII!

Furtheron said...

I hope your Dad is okay after S Korea's first World Cup victory on foreign soil.

Shellz said...

Buffy: From your comment, I take it you are someone who has NOT been gripped by World Cup fever!

Furtheron: You might as well be speaking another language! Sports speak is beyond me...and thanks, my dad is doing okay, thus far...although he sounded quite excited when I talked to him on the phone last night! He's planning on staying awake until 4AM to catch the next game!! This is a big deal, since he's usually fast asleep by 9PM.

EM: Ha Ha....yeah, Bend it Like Beckham is a good one. I have since found out that Brazil IS the team to beat!

David: I agree with Furtheron. No offence to you Americans, but you tend to get excited by the stuff your the best at...given that soccer domination is not yours, I'm not surprised that there's not much interest....

Hattigrace: Fortunately, I'm not really loyal to any team, (well except's in my blood!) so it really is a toss of the dice in this case!