I love the World Cup.
As a rule, Americans don’t care much about soccer, although that appears to be changing. I don’t see how it can not change when so many kids have grown up playing soccer.
But the guys who work in the cafes around campus are all from Mexico, and passionate about soccer, and then we have a lot of graduate students from Europe who, for some reason or another, are spending the summer here and they are passionate about soccer.
This was England v. Uruguay. As I got my hot chocolate this afternoon I hung out to watch the end of the game, when Suarez scored the winning goal for Uruguay. As I stood there, a guy came in and asked the cafe guys who’d scored the goal. “Suarez?” “Yes, Suarez.” Then another guy came in and started talking with a student sitting in the cafe who was watching the game. The sitting student, who I believe might have been from Iran, wondered where the other guy, who said he was supporting England, was from. He was Swedish, and for some reason was hoping Bosnia did well, because Sweden didn’t qualify. They both agreed that it was a very high level of play this time around.
There’s something very neighborly about it — it causes people who might not otherwise have any reason to talk to each other to have detailed conversations.