June 20, 2006

World Cup Fever

My World Cup fever comes in bouts. It was at its peak a few days ago as Iran faced Portugal in a must win game, it cooled considerably after they lost, but now with the prospect of Ghana knocking out the US team, I am burning up again. Finally, an opportunity to be anti-American and not have to justify myself by saying, “ but I love the American people I just hate the government.”

Besides, living in Asia the game is everywhere. It is shown on giant screens in parking lots, at every bar and outdoor restaurant, and keep in mind that the earliest game starts at 9pm here, the latest game at 3am. Watching Iran play Portugal with about 150 people outdoors, screaming, eating and drinking could make anyone love the game.

That is the beauty of the World Cup, it allows us to look past global nuances and hide behind flags and cheer for our side. I realize that most Americans are constant patriots who pin little flags to their anchormen and women, but for those of us who live in a world that doesn’t really on jingoism as foreign policy, it is nice to be able to dumb down for a few weeks. I am normally an anti-nationalist, but the World Cup is a good excuse as any to draw up borders, hide behind a flag, and pretend that nations, flags and borders actually mean something.

Side note: I heard some guy on the daily say a few days ago that the world uses the World Cup as a metaphor for battling out age old rivalries, where as the US doesn’t need a metaphor, because they just fight real wars. I thought that sounded apt.

I don’t know much about football, so please don’t respond about how the American team is so much better than the Ghana team. I am a step away from women who pick teams based on the color of a uniform.

My allegiances fall like this:

Iran (Now that they are out, I am cheering for)
Any African team (Go Ghana and Angola!)
Any formerly colonized nation
Any third world nation
Everyone else

So as Ghana, a tiny West African nation, gets ready to knock out the biggest, most powerful nation on earth, albeit symbolically, I will be there cheering them on.

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