Soccer (er futbol) and I have a complicated relationship. I never grew up playing the sport. My parents never watched it or followed it. It wasn’t until I was 19, in 1996-1997, while studying abroad in Chile, that I began to appreciate not just the sport but the fervor surrounding it. I would listen to local matches on the radio with my roommates, other college students. I even picked my own local team to get behind (Colo Colo). Back in the United States, the first World Cup I sort of followed was the 2002 South Korea one. But to be honest, my relationship with soccer has been tied up with whoever I’m in a relationship with.
When I was living with baby daddy #2, el Chileno, soccer had a pretty strong place in our shared lives. He would often go to Flushing Meadow Park, along with so many other Latino Americanos and play with his friends, predominantly Colombians. We would often go with these Colombians to people’s houses or when we had cable they would come to our tiny ass apartment to watch different matches. There were also trips to bars and restaurants to watch games, even with our kids. Even now that we are not together anymore, futbol has a place in how we deal with each other. El Chileno is going to Brazil for two weeks, coinciding with the time our daughter usually goes to New York City to visit him. While he isn’t specifically going to see any of the matches (tickets are expensive and hard to come by), he will be amidst all the celebration and protest.
When I moved to Los Angeles, my pareja, an Ecua-Guatemalan, was into soccer but not in the same way as el Chileno. In the weeks leading up to the world cup, he would share articles with me about the protests happening in Brazil and the corruption inside FIFA. Occasionally we would watch a game.
But tomorrow is the start of the World Cup and everything has changed. This morning when I checked our shared Google calendar, I noticed that every single World Cup match was put in. Since the kids are off from school, we were supposed to go to the zoo together but those plans were abruptly changed when my pareja realized that tomorrow was the opening match. Instead of going to the zoo, we are hosting his best friend from high school.
I want to say it’s coincidence that the antenna was fixed so we can get local broadcast channels but really I know it’s so that we can watch the World Cup.
Let the games begin!
Are you watching the World Cup? Will it be at home in a bar? Who do you think will win?