world cup fever baby!
Had the chance to make it out to Germany this week for one of the USA World Cup matches. Click here and here to see some pre-game video. After licking our wounds from the 3-0 thrashing by the Czech Republic (Boze moi!), our group of 23 buddies found some solace in schnitzel and hefeweizen. The match was in Gelsenkirchen, kinda like the Youngstown of Germany because of its industrial heritage.
Our group even represented a good mix of cultures: Ohio, Iowa, Idaho, California, New Mexico, Tennessee, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, El Salvador, France, Germany – people would just come up to us, asking to have their picture taken with us. “Where are you from?” they asked, and we could just say, “well, from all over the place really”.
A poll on the Youngstown Vindicator’s website, the local newspaper of record, asked its readers how much they were interested the world cup. The results:
Yes, I am really interested: 9%
Umm, I am moderately interested: 7%
No, I could care less about the damn thing: 84%
In cities around the world, people are meeting in public places to watch these matches, even if their country is not represented. From shopping malls in Hong Kong to militia strongholds in Somalia to a campo in Patagonia (thanks CNN international for the story this morning)
I hope tonight we fare better. I have an Italian roommate, who has many Italian friends coming over to watch the match. If it is a rout, the living conditions may become unbearable.
But one last Youngstown kick: these matches will going on every week until mid-July. Is there any chance of putting a big projection screen somewhere downtown so the public can come together to watch these games?
Maybe the international community will come out in full force in addition to other futbol fans. Maybe coaches can bring their soccer teams, who will come with their families. Maybe high school teams can join as well. The final match is Sunday July 9th.