I’ve never been very into televised sports (Olympics obviously exempted), but in the summer of 2014, the stars aligned and I became intensely invested in the World Cup. That was the summer that Liz and Mallory and I were having a Senegal reunion, and I was annoyed by how often our text planning devolved into the two of them talking about soccer. In a desperate attempt to fit in, I agreed to watch the USA vs. Portugal match. I knew a girl I follow on tumblr was fanatical about “her son” Christiano Ronaldo, so I rooted for Portugal. Although they lost, I was hooked on the game.
It was a perfect setup. Liz was the soccer aficionado who could explain offside rules and eloquently describe the beauty of the long choreography that led to a goal. Mallory was the man appreciator who responded “YESSS” to my texts of “take off your shirt!!” I was particularly in love with Ronaldo (albeit briefly because of Portugal’s loss) and Mesut Ozil, who someone described as a big-eyed orphan boy, and my heart was gone.
I nannied a lot during that month, which meant soccer on a working TV (mine was missing the red color aspect, so everything was shades of green and blue)! During the weeks where two games were shown per day, the kids fell asleep while I gleefully screamed at their big screen. Of particular fun was the day we painted our faces in support of USA when Tim Howard grew fifty tentacles and saved a million goals.
And then there was the weekend whose planning had led to my obsession. Liz and Mallory and I planned our lakeside excursions around the France vs. Germany game. Mallory was all in for Germany from the beginning. My love for Mesut predisposed me to love Germany, but France had a lot of players with great hair and great butts, so I rooted for them both. Liz was appalled by my shallowness, but isn’t part of appreciating a sport appreciating the people who play it?
Not knowing I would fall hard for the 2014 World Cup, I had scheduled a flight to St. Maarten for Sunday, the World Cup final. When I realized this, I was horrified. Lindsay, who was not interested in soccer, refused to cancel our trip. Unprepared, I had no idea how flights and time zones worked between Dallas and the Caribbean, so I rushed Lindsay to a taxi and sprinted to our room as soon as we checked into the resort. We arrived five minutes before the game started, which is as close to a miracle as I have experienced in this life. We changed into beachwear and hung out at an oceanside bar to watch Germany (and Mesut!) win the 2014 World Cup.
Although my love for soccer is currently dormant (although I perk up at any mention of Christiano Ronaldo and nod appreciatively at gifs of fancy soccer footwork) I like to think that it is lying in wait. For what? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.