Saturday, June 17, 2006

we are all outlaws in the eyes of america

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.


Anonymous said...

it really is sad how no one in the US cares about the world cup! there is no world cup spirit here. maybe if the US team was any good then the people would start to support football, but until then i guess i'll have to get into the spirit with my international friends. go brazil!!

Anonymous said...

You know damn well that the only sport anyone gives a f*** about in youngstown is football.

You would have a better chance of setting up a big screen and showing local high school games and getting a better attendence then if it was world cup.

Janko said...

I agree that football is the most popular sport in Ytown, but the goal is building an atmosphere downtown, not competing with high school football.

There are 700,000 people living in the area. I think if you have some refreshments and outside seating in the summer, a few hundred people may show up.

We tend to forget that not every person that lives in Youngstown is from Youngstown. Thousands of people born in other countries(many of them are soccer fans) call this place home and it would be nice to have something other than POTP downtown.