I'm currently immersed with the World Cup; along with the rest of the world. Each morning I get up and quickly turn on the tv to catch the first game of the day, all the while ignoring The Princess's plea to turn it to PBS Kids. She's catching on though, yesterday over breakfast she provided commentary on the uniforms of the two teams playing.
My brother and I have been exchanging heated emails and shouting phone calls during and after the games and I've even been treated to his almost daily "Game Day Rundowns". It's brought back all of the fun, excitement and adrenaline overload we wallowed in the last time the "beautiful game" came onto the world's stage. Before that...I was sadly unaware of what was going on - a travesty, I know.
And then...Tuesday morning I was watching the Cote d'Ivoire/Portugal game and reading an email from my brother. He was responding to my lament over the fact that in 1994 it had been held in the US and I was both completely unaware and obviously not in attendance. Brother replied that since we were both poor college students and he was in Egypt we had legitimate excuses. And then I remembered...In 1994 I was IN Cote d'Ivoire!
Yes, I clearly remember being there, I'm not that brain dead! (yet...give me a couple more weeks when I'm counting down DAYS until this baby arrives and then I can't be held responsible what I do and don't remember!)
However, what suddenly popped into my head was the memory of living out in the mountains, away from the city, the lights and the noise. When the World Cup games started each night all of the tv's were tuned in and everyone gathered around them to cheer on their favorite teams. Each night as I headed to bed I could look out my window and see flickering lights on various hilltops from the houses and bars that actually had TVs. The quiet night, full of soft greetings as neighbors walked by and the sound of frogs and crickets periodically exploded with shouts and cries; victorious or agonized depending on referee calls and final outcomes. The entire town could follow the progress of the game, whether they had a TV in the house or not.
We watch our games alone in our houses here. And though the game is growing in popularity it still isn't so universal that you can find conversations and opinions around every corner and the chance to connect with a fellow fan, fanatic or otherwise. So I feverishly call Brother, email a rant or rave, or make a quick and often cryptic comment on facebook and enjoy a small moment of connection before going back to my personal World Cup bubble. But, I think nostalgically of the community excitement and the drowsy awakenings to the middle of the night cheers in my mountain village in Africa.