Even though I haven’t slept in two days, going on three, with France making its debut at 2:30am tonight, I was so cheered up today (enough for all of us) to head downtown. It’s crazy how stupid things lift your spirit. At work, my boss being Brazilian and even more into this WC than I am, we blocked off a boardroom and turned the 80 inch OLED screen to TSN. Me, an Iranian girl named Eli (which I will bring sailing at some point), a guy from Turkey, my boss and two Russians. We marked the room as in-use, and spent an hour taping paper to the semi see-through glass walls.
My boss’s enthusiasm reminded me of when I watched my first WC (Mexico!), the one that introduced us to Pele, on a little mahogany B&W TV in our white house in Tehran. My dad was a semi pro player, there was no such thing as pro back then, so super into it: a very stoic watcher, quiet, but with sparse yet deep commentary.
Every 4 years I relive my childhood. You are young when you divide your life by 4. The glory of the past haunts you. I’d love to watch again one of those finals in their entirety, the long haired hippies of Holland, the doctor-players of Brazil, the proud Germans of the after-war years, Zidane and the African players in Europe, the changes in the world through this lens, the costumes, the closeups of handsome faces with fair hair, slanted eyes, charcoal shiny skin, people from countries that surprised you with their proportions or haircuts. It’s such an egalitarian game: rich countries don’t always win. You can be tall, short, good in the air, bad in the air, a wrestler or a gazelle, everything and everyone is good (or great). Yashin the cat I remember well, George Best too. Sometimes I wake up pronouncing a particularly hard to pronounce yet musical name: Azpilicueta, Lars Unnerstall, Szczesny, Zinedine Zidane, Nacho Monreal, Jerome Boateng, Ali Daei. And these are just the modern ones.
When people have nothing, they have this, this fairness, even though it’s unfair. You play well and you lose. You play badly for 94 minutes, then you kiss the ball before the foul kick and the Greek Gods take notice. There is such a thing as magic. Human Magic. But it is extremely weak. It takes eighty thousand people in a confined space to move a round object a few inches.