When I was in 1st grade, my parents signed me up for soccer--because, you know, it’s American Law or something. For the whole season, I ran around cones during drills, learned that you were supposed to kick with the inside of your foot, and learned that the ultimate objective was to kick the ball into the net.
“Because the coach tells you to!” I answered my dad when he asked me why.
I didn’t touch the ball once during the season. I did, however, kick puffy dandelions like it was my job. I think I might have played right wing? I remember being told to stand on the circle. So I did. Era todo. Sue me--I’m not aggressive. Give me shiny objects, tap shoes, and music over competitive sports any day.
I still don’t know a damn thing about soccer. What I do know, however, is that I’ve absolutely loved being in Spain during the World Cup. Just like I loved watching my old music professor get all riled up at the beginning of classes, watching the entire town light up on the night of a match--and later that night following their win--was one of the most electric things that I could have experienced. I’ve actually gone out to watch every soccer game here. Do I know what’s happening? No. Do I know when they score?
OH MY GOSH YES I DO. Even if you’re not watching the screen (although I usually am, in a weak attempt to soak up any soccer knowledge I could gain over this almost-four-week period through osmosis), you know when Spain scores. The entire pub erupts into shouts and screams, stomps and applause, foghorns and noisemakers. Cars on the street begin all honking their horn in the same pattern (for the rhythmically inclined, it’s a 1, 2, 3+4, 1+2+, +4! rhythm that is totally from something that ends in “let’s go!”)
a batch of cookies to the first person to tell me what that’s from--it’s been bothering me ALL MONTH. And it’s not often it takes me this long to figure it out. But you can’t google “dun, dun, dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun--let’s go!” It doesn’t work.
Then the songs begin. A refrain consisting of nothing but ¡Olé! over and over again, or a rousing refrain of “Yo soy Español, Español, Español” gets the whole pub clapping and singing. It’s electric, and so exciting to watch--although I do feel like a bit of a poser if I sing that song, since it’s so blatantly obvious that I’m not Spanish (my roommate and I have taken to singing (no) soy Español instead, so we can still take part in the celebration without lying. Phew--that’s a load off my conscience!
Late into the night, the cars continue honking that exact same rhythm. Over. And. Over. And. Over. But it’s not obnoxious! There’s such an electricity in the air that it’s just incredible. I wrote a bit about this during my Granada post, but still. It’s two days later, and people are still celebrating.
Confession: I was asleep by 12:30. I know, it seems lame. I think we were also the only people who had to be doing anything by 9 a.m. the next day. And who also don’t get a siesta. Yes, I may be in Spain, but this school totally runs on an American schedule. I’m just sayin’. Don’t judge.
Oh, and if nothing else, I’m totally rooting for Spain every four years when the World Cup rolls around.
¡Olé, olé olé olé!