Sunday, July 18, 2010

World Cup 2010!

The World Cup 2010 has been big news this year - at least as far as I can tell.  I've never been much of a follower of soccer/futbol until I moved to a country where there is no other sport that comes close.  This year FC Barcelona won the national championship of Spain.  Not only did they win the national title, but they beat Real Madrid which is like a Red Sox/Yankees playoff.  There were people singing and dancing in the streets, wearing their Barca shirts as capes, hanging out car windows, and more.  Placa Catalunya I heard had thousands upon thousands of people cheering and celebrating the title win!

So now we fast forward to the World Cup.  My understanding is that the Barcelonians (is that what we call people from Barcelona?  I have no idea) were not as big into this because of the controversy between Spain and Catalunya which is a province of Spain that wants their independence.  So they aren't big on rooting on anything that's for Spain as a country.  However, personally I can't help but be enthusiastic.  The USA was out of the tourney relatively early on.  And this being my "second" home it seemed natural to root for Spain. 

Surprisingly to me, Spain was considered unlikely to win.  I always thought they were a huge futbol country as far as skills go.  The kids here start playing futbol around the time they learn to walk.  Aidan plays at school every day but doesn't want to be on the team because he's intimidated by their skill set, even at his age. 

So when I found out that Spain was going to the finals, we were all excited.  And they were playing the Netherlands who had never made it this far either.  What wasn't so exciting though was that our flight from Paris was going to be during the game!  However, that didn't prohibit fans from watching or listening to the game.  As we sat in Orly airport - all of a sudden a group gathers over by the tv.  Yes, the World Cup is on!  Everyone watches the screen like a hawk... the score is tied 0-0... they call the flight.

Now you would think that it's the end - we won't know the results til we get back home.  But oh no, the pilot is a big World Cup fan as well and on a regular basis on the hour and 15 min flight back to Barcelona, he puts the game on the speakers.  The passengers continuously cheer and I assume things are going well for Spain (since I have no idea what they actually said over the speaker).  As we come in for a landing, and it's a slightly turbulant landing, one more time the loudspeaker comes on and we find out that Spain has won the World Cup.  Huge screams and cheers on the plane as we come in for our landing. 

We get our cab to go home and the driver asks if it is ok to take us around Placa Espana so that we won't be held up in traffic due to the celebrations.  So we take a slightly longer route home but see people cheering in the streets and constantly beeping their horns.  Tonight was a night to celebrate everywhere in the city!


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