Yep its that time again. World Cup Soccer!
What can I say. Although never a good soccer player I've got to say soccer is a sport I've enjoyed since childhood.
I can as a yout remember watching the English and Italian leagues on Saturdays and Sundays on local TV cheering for men like John Barnes, when black folk were few and far between in the leagues. Watching Road to Wembely and cheering on Liverpool and Hotspurs when they had players like Ardilles and Archibald. Oh man I'm dating myself here.
But yea I remember watching football and playing a lot too. It was the one sport you could play basically from the time you were out of diapers. We all wanted to be Zico or Socrates or Rossi back in the days and every boy I know at one time or the other has tried to emulate Pele's famous bicycle kick. It was all about dribbling skill, trying to 'shift' or dribble around the defender and make him look stupid. We played some massive football games at lunchtime. Forget 11 guys a side I'm talking 50-60 odd people on the field at once. Crazy and lots and lots of fun. Yep there was just something about football.
And so now its World cup time. I can actually remember watching World cup games and getting emotional about them since maybe back in 1982. Emotion yep no sport worldwide promotes the range of emotions that soccer does especially when its world cup time.
Being in Toronto World Cup time is actually a really unique period. Being a city mainly of immigrants the flags, the colors, and the jerseys all come out when its World cup time. Actually World cup time is one of the few times here where white people stop being "white" and become ethnic showing massive support for their home countries. Ok that was kind of unfair. What I really meant was at World Cup time suddenly everyone connects with their origins and supports the place their forefathers came from. Naa actually I meant what I said at first.
And oh what celebrations we have in Toronto. Streets blocked with cheering celebrating fans when Italy or Portugal wins, calvacades of Germans and Serbs (and today Koreans), Samba dancers and Brazilian drummers when they win and this year we may even have a few feting Trinis.
Yep, this years world cup its all about the Soca Warriors for us Caribbean folk. I'm not Trini but I'm supporting those boys 100% so it was good to see them draw with Sweden. Actually brings to mind a little encounter I remember from 98 when Jamaica was in the World Cup. I was definitely supporting the Reggae Boyz but not really openly. IT wasn't like I was busting out the Jamaican colors or anything so or even talking about their games. Still one day I came to work and this one old cleaning lady who had never really said anything to me before started going off around me about how her country had beaten my country in the world cup yesterday. Tried to plead quite rightly that I actually wasn't Jamaican but she would have nothing of it and continued to pompasset (that means to show off) all day. I mean I was supporting Jamaica anyway and felt sorry they had lost but damn I was getting dissed for a country that wasn't even my own lol. Oh well as much as I try to be kind to the elderly if ever Jamaica or Trinidad or any Caribbean country ever beats her country in a soccer game I promise to google and find her 85 year old behind and belittle her country like there is no tomorrow. Even if she in the grave I going to show up at the cemetry with a flag in my hand jumping up and getting on bad on her tombstone then!
Oh did I mention that World cup also has an educational aspect. A geography lesson from sports. For example Friday, the first day of the cup, I saw a mini calvacade with this flag parading.
I man never seen this flag before in my life!
Turns out it was Ecuador. How many of you would have been able to name it? Not many I hazard a guess.
Then today I had a discussion about Togo. To who? Yea man sorry to say but I really wasn't sure where Togo was. If someone had asked me yesterday shamefully I would have said they were in the South pacific or something so.
And I also learned on Sunday that the Angolan Flag has a cutlass on it. Yep, a big sharp looking machete, a collins. I say to myself either them fellas planting some serious ground provisions or somebody head getting cut open down there. No wonder is serious war and thing that was going on down in that area.
Anyway all jokes aside this world cup seems to have started pretty well. Most of the games are a lot closer than I expected not only in score but in terms of skill level. My favorite world cup was actually 94 when Brazil with Bebeto and Romario won. Yea I know they say that was the weakest Brazilian team to win but I still preferred them to the 2002 champs. Of course like everyone else in/from the Caribbean I support Brazil. Got to love them!
Oh yea and I need a jersey. (Hint hint on the fathers day gifts.) Not sure which team yet because I already have a Brazilian jersey from long time gwan and there are some teams whose kit I just cant see myself wearing even if the jerseys look nice but I will solve that problem soon.
World cup outcome? Definitely supporting Brazil 100% but not sure they will win. Something about being overwhelming favorites makes me think they will screw up somewhere along the line. Oh well as long as the games are interesting I'll watch. Doesn't even matter who's playing. I just want to hear someone shout Goooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!