Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup Nostalgia

This week seems to be going quite quickly. That's not such a bad thing though. I'd rather the week go quickly than the weekend although I've yet to have a weekend that passes too slowly.

Work was actually quite fun today. Since we have cable television, a couple of my coworkers and I decided to go work in our training lab so we could watch the World Cup on television. We knew we'd be allowed since during March Madness basketball, the men in our office all got to sit and watch basketball and work.

Strangely, enough, I managed to get quite a bit of work done and cheer for England at the same time. Since we could only watch one match at a time, we flipped between the England match and the U.S. match. Luckily, both teams one and will advance on out. I'm a little nervous since England now has to play Germany which rarely goes well but, all the same, I'm excited for my team.

I'm not really a very sporty person, generally. I think I like the competition of sports more than the actual sport itself. I do watch American football now although I don't feel compelled to watch every game. If I'm really in the mood, basketball doesn't offend me. I can't watch baseball because, well,'s boring to watch. Mostly, I'm not really big on sports. Yet there's something about the World Cup that I always find addictive. Every four years, I learn the England squad and keep my fingers crossed that this is their cup, that this time they will win. I've never seen it in my lifetime but I live in hope.

I've actually been into the World Cup since when I was young. Living in England and playing with the kids on my street made us into football (ok, fine, soccer) fans. I remember the first world cup I can remember, back in the days when Pele played for Brazil and Diego Maradonna played for Argentina. We'd play on the green in front of our houses, always wanted to be our favourite player. I always got stuck being Kevin Keegan who was an England player at the time. My friend, Glen, would be Maradonna and his little brother, Stuart, would be Pele. We played a lot around World Cup time.

We also played Wimbledon a lot during Wimbledon season. We never had a tennis net so we'd play tennis on the path (sidewalk) in front of my house, drawing a line for the net in chalk. We'd enjoy ourselves but occasionally get carried away and hit the ball too hard. It only was an issue when it'd go in the neighbours back garden and we sheepishly had to ask for our ball back. Sometimes, we lost the ball and couldn't play. We got to the point where we'd all try to have a supply of tennis balls. My favourite tennis partner was my next-door neighbour, Darren. My dad had put up a high fence to keep the afghan hounds in. We used to play Tennis-Over-The-Fence and try to play over the high fence. We were pretty good at it but that's usually when we'd lose the balls the most. One time, we lost our only ball and in desperation, tried to make one. We actually made a newspaper ball filled with little rocks and taped it up. Needless to say, it was a disaster. We soon realized it had no bounce.

Clearly, physics was not my speciality. In my defence, it wasn't Darren's either.

These days, especially around the World Cup and Wimbledon time of year, I often think back to how the sporting events go on even though life changes. I have no idea what happened to Darren, Glen, Stuart or any of the other kids we used to play with regularly on the street outside in the summer evenings. I sometimes wish I did, just because we such a part of each other's childhood. We fought together and against one another, made up games, fell off bikes, climbed trees (or, in my case, tried to climb trees), and swapped comic books. Times like this, watching the World Cup, thousands of miles where I grew up, take me back to those summer days. Even though my memory has become horrible with age, I still remember the details of my youth.

I'm sure the World Cup will continue every four years for the rest of my life. Each time, I know it'll trigger my memories and make me nostalgic for the more simplistic days of my youth, even though I like where I am now in life.

I just hope England wins one soon though.

Happy Thursday!

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