So I watched my first football game today, the last game of the World Cup. As every single one of you know, it was Italy v. France. I decided long before this game that I was cheering for Italy (and by long before I mean at least 2 days). Originally, having never watched a game, I was voting for Argentina. I decided on Italy for this round because of the anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti-semetic reputation France has earned of late. The second reason was that I live in a city with an enormous Italian population and two Little Italys, so I knew it would be a great day here if Italy won.
During the last World Cup, I was immersed in a summer of anatomy and physiology. I studied all summer in the university pub, so I could drink coffee and smoke cigarettes while I worked. The world cup was nothing but an unplanned irritation to contend with. Everytime there was a game, my studying and smoking was rudely interrupted. Back then I resented the World Cup.
This time around it didn't interfere with my schedule. In fact, I looked on amused at the spirit of the crowds of people spilling onto sidewalks, the myriads of flags hanging from cars (and not just the little car window flags, the lifesize flags strapped to car hoods). I found myself looking forward to this final game. I watched the whole thing.
So Italy won, which was bittersweet for me in the end, for a few reasons. First, from my very novice perspective, France appeared to have played a better game. Second, that guy that headed butted the other guy, came so close to winning the game for France only moments before that. This would have left him a hero at the end of his career. It kind of breaks my heart that instead he lost his temper and banged his head on that other guy's chest. I can imagine the guy probably said something terrible, and I know as a professional, he should have been able to control himself, but anyone with a taunting sibling knows what it's like to lose your shit momentarily. I felt so bad for him I wanted to cry.
Ok, I admit, I cried a little.
"That's ridiculous Rachel", one of my guy friends scoffed. "He knows better than to pull that shit. He deserves to be out."
Apparently only a "red card" would do, which means: leave.
The third reason was that black guy on France that the camera kept zooming into during the closing ceremony, you know, the guy with tears streaming down his face? It was very hard for me to watch a grown man sobbing and still be happy Italy won.
We went for a walk in Corso Italia after the game. The crowds were crazy! Exactly as I had imagined them, but every once in a while, I thought of those two French guys. I wondered if maybe I should have cheered for the French. It's not like they had anything to do with their government's policies...
Later that night I went home and watched Syriana, which made me feel...ambivalent...again.
Maybe I should stick to anatomy and physiology.