How the World Cup ruined me

How the World Cup ruined me

The last month ruined me.

Everywhere I went I saw colours: green, yellow, black, red, blue and white. I saw the flags flying from every other car, dwindling one by one. I heard the honking. The cheering. The boasting and smack-talking, mostly from behind a computer screen.

But worst of all was the dreaming. The hope that seems to grow from the tiniest seed, watered by equal parts skill and luck, gaining momentum as it rises up, taller than the rest.

For the last month, I rose and fell with a nation.

I watched every game. I raised the flag on my car. I dug the jersey up from it’s hiding spot.

Where the brazuca moved, my eyes followed. When the goalie leaped, my heart stopped. And when a player made that unmistakable run for the net, I got up out of my seat. To cheer, or to sit back down.

I cheered with a country. I cried with a country. We suffered together. We celebrated together. And through out this World Cup, if there is one thing I’ve finally encountered, it was my cultural identity as an Argentinian.

All of my life I grew up hearing stories of glory days come and gone, wanting nothing more than to see it with my own eyes. To catch a glimpse of the magic for myself. But something swelled within my heart that I never quite expected: pride.

Not the kind that is loud and rude. Not the kind that overcompensates or lives vicariously through someone else. The kind that stems from passion. And it made me proud. Not just my family. Me. Every time I wore the jersey, I bled blue and white.

After years of searching, it’s going to be very hard for that to disappear.

They told me soccer was a religion. And at the end of four weeks, I can’t help but believe.

Glory and failure

Glory and failure

I make it a priority not to run for buses. Or trains in this case.

Maybe it’s because I have a crippling fear of failure. Running leaves me exposed.  If I run and don’t make it on time, it would’ve all been for nothing.

All that hope and energy wasted.

Maybe it’s because running reveals what horrible shape I am in. Is there a worse image than a person keeled over, huffing and puffing as the bus glides away? The look of despair in their eyes. Disappointment in their gasping breath.
They tried and failed.

But today, I ran and won. I wont even bother to be ambiguous about what propelled me.

Soccer. If I caught this train, I could make it home in time to watch most of the game.

Maybe that’s the difference between an athlete running for the net and a person trying to catch a bus. An athlete upon seeing the goal line is fueled with every inch to persevere. The train-chaser too I suppose. What awaits the athlete on the other side of the pitch? Glory …and failure. But they never hesitate to run.

Drenched and gasping for breath, I never thought I could find glory on the inside of a train. But catching this train felt like a victory to me.

And I should also probably work out more.