Monday, June 14, 2010

At least they're both red white and blue

Almost as soon as our company left on Saturday another co-worker of my hubs phoned to see if we wanted to meet them at a nearby Irish pub to watch the World Cup. Now a few years ago I would have turned to my husband and said, "What is World Cup?" but I've lived in England and I know better now. Because in England life stands still for World Cup. Well in an insane flag covered, jersey wearing, song singing kind of standing still way. On the other side of the pond World Cup fever makes people slightly crazy.

Here's a little story-the first year we lived in the UK we went to a local Italian restaurant for dinner during World Cup. This particular restaurant was always loud and packed and very lively and so we were slightly surprised to walk in and discover we were the only people in the place. We saw all of the staff in a back corner huddled around a tiny little TV set they had rigged up so they could watch Italy play. We sat down and my daughter ordered some sort of pasta dish. The owner came over with her food and without removing his eyes from the TV screen for even a split second he asked if she'd like Parmesan cheese on her dish. She clearly replied, "No thank you" and again, without ever taking his eyes off of the TV he proceeded to grate out a literal mountain of cheese on top of her food. We all kind of sat there with our jaws dropped until hubs finally came to and said, 'Uh, that's plenty.' Note to selves-eat at home during World Cup. Or head to a pub that is showing the game but if you do be prepared for some singing and some beer splashing and a little trash talking. Or maybe a lot of trash talking. Oh it is fun! Think about it...practically the entire country is cheering for a single team. That's a lot of spirit.

So anyway, we met friends in the Irish Pub Saturday afternoon and the friend's wife is from England and hubs wore his England shirt. I declared it too hot and humid to wear mine so went like Switzerland and was neutral in navy and white. The pub was packed and about three quarters of the crowd was American and maybe one quarter hailed from the UK. The atmosphere was a lot like the pubs at home in that there were men in jerseys with their England flags wrapped around their shoulders, there was singing and there was beer splashing and there was more than a little trash talking. In fact, we hadn't been there five minutes when a charming American man came over to the table and mooned the Brits. Believe me, there is not enough beer in all of Great Britain to remove that image from my head. Not pretty. At all.

We were snatched up by the British tables when they saw hubs shirt and we were sorta rooting for England anyway because its so huge over there you kind of get caught up in it all. Plus I love how smooth the coach of the England team looks in his suit and ultra cool eye ware.

No sweatsuit and beer belly for Fabio Capello. With a name like that he was born to be a footballer. You may in fact be surprised to learn that I know who almost all the England players are and I might also know more than a little bit about their personal lives too. They are huge celebs in the UK and you read about them on a regular basis in every magazine and newspaper published. I've read details of Wayne Rooney's wedding, Ashely Cole's infidelities, Steven Gerrards arrest after a brawl in Liverpool, and Frank Lampards super high IQ test results. I couldn't tell you a single player on the US team.

Until Saturday.

That's when my daughter texted me (yes indeed my girls were watching World Cup play) to say that two of the US mid field players were from her teeny tiny university and that was kind of exiting so I wavered. I mean I never root for the US to lose...I just didn't want England to lose either. Sigh. I think I'm far too emotional for professional sports. What do you think?

Anyway, the match ended in a tie which just does not feel right. Imagine an NFL playoff game ending in a tie prior to the Superbowl. In World Cup play teams get 0 points for losing, 1 point for a tie, and 3 points for a win so the top team at the end of the whole tournament is the one with the most points. Once they get past this first group round of play ties will be settled with penalty shoot outs. And I'm sure FIFA officials are choking on their ale as they read my scoring summary but I'm breaking it down here for the masses who just want to understand how a huge match can end in a tie. At least I didn't call it a game. Match is the correct lingo. You're welcome. And also, I'm pretty sure FIFA officials aren't reading my blog.

While a tie does seem odd I was kind of thrilled because that cutie who scored the goal for USA is in fact one of the two players who attended my daughter's university so Go USA. Except Yay Eng-a-land too.

And in case you aren't confused enough, Clint Dempsey, the player who scored the goal for the US and plays on the US National Team? Yeah, well his regular club is Fulham. That's in England. A lot of the US team play for clubs in England. Or Germany. Or Spain. Or places other than the US. Like I said, it's complicated. But its exciting too. And sitting in an Irish Pub on a sunny Saturday afternoon surrounded by the England flag and the sounds of grown men singing Eng-a-land...well, we may just have felt right at home.


  1. Love that you say it was "a lot like the pubs at home."

  2. I know exactly how you feel... I think I was more invested in the Italia game today than the USA/ENG game! Having lived in Italy through the last world cup (AMAZING!) I feel more loyalty to them!

  3. We watched Paraguay play today against Italy and it ended a tie too. A little disappointing but at least they didn´t loose. Really exciting, this world cup stuff. You did a great summary of the rules!

  4. How fun. Since we were in the middle of a certain somebody's graduation we did not watch it but Mr. 18 DVR'd it, of course.
    We were in Europe during the '06 World Cup and had the pleasure/amusement of watching various matches in little pubs and cafes. It was a blast to be in Rome when Italy won and we were actually in Munich for the finals but only had so much time in the area and the kids voted on seeing Dachau instead. We don't regret that but the boys for sure want to go eventually in person!

  5. I know zip about any of this, but it does sound like you had a lotta fun!

  6. a tie is a happy medium (go england!)

  7. What a great time for you and hubs rooting a little for England and little for the good ole' U.S. My husband got a text from his best friend in the U.K. about the big game and Shawn told Phil, our friend, that he would get him a hot dog if England won. Phil texted back with the question of whether he would have to award Shawn with a car if the U.S. won because that's how unlikely it would be if they did. Funny guys!

  8. This is one of the few sports that I don't know anything about.....Glad that you stopped by...Have a good week

  9. giggles my friend, have a great day, Hugs Barbara