Les Bleus are currently playing a soccer match against Sweden. If France wins, they have a chance at the final 8 in the UEFA Euro 2012 championship…VIVE LA FRANCE!
I am literally watching the game live on my work computer. I know, I’m bad. I just wish I was at the game! Or the next best thing, watching the game at a crowded bar, as I did this past weekend.
My friend and I spent Sunday afternoon walking around Chelsea Market and after some yummy Taco Truck, we decided it was time for a beer. As we strolled down through The West Village, we heard loud cheering and remembered that there was a soccer game on. The bar with the noise seemed all wrong (let’s just say that the crowd was dressed for a polo match or golf tournament, not a soccer game). Luckily, I had another place in mind.
During a different soccer game a few weeks (or months) back, I had passed a very crowded bar in The East Village where the sound of excited screaming and clinking of beer mugs poured from the inside. If I had been with friends, I would have joined the party, but instead I made a mental note of the place for next time. Here was my “next time!”
The only problem was I didn’t exactly remember the street. I pride myself on having a keen sense of direction but I didn’t want to miss the game due to a wild goose chase moment. I got us to the area around St Mark’s place and hoped for the best. Before we knew it, we heard the cheers and saw people seeping from the bar onto the sidewalk to watch the game from outside. This was the place!
As we shuffled in, the first thing I noticed was the amount of kids lining the benches, eyes glued to the TV. At that moment I knew this place would be fun. It just felt so European to be packed in like sardines with a bunch of crazy Portuguese fans who brought their entire families out to watch the match on a Sunday afternoon. To a bar no less! When something good happened, everyone cheered and when it was a bad call, unidentifiable Portuguese insults were made. A true community effort.
Soccer, or more appropriately for this blog, football, has always been a sport I love. Almost every kid in my town grew up playing soccer for our township. It was just something that you did; you swam for the local swim team in the summer and played soccer in the fall. Then in college, many of my close friends played on the soccer teams (men’s and women’s) and going to their games was always something I prioritized. So when I lived in France last year, I was happy to be in a very soccer fanatic culture. There is nothing necessarily wrong with “American football” or baseball, but it’s safe to say that I am less enthusiastic about them compared to soccer. It must be my international heart that has created this soft spot for the sport since one thing I love about it is the very international appeal it has. Even when I traveled to Ethiopia, soccer was the link that allowed us to connect with the kids. Soccer to me is community and globalism.
My friend and I spent the rest of Sunday afternoon drinking and jumping with joy as Portugal defeated the Netherlands. It was the perfect way to watch a sports game. The perfect atmosphere for soccer in my opinion; since I couldn’t be at the game that is 🙂