Monday, June 16, 2014

Let's Go USA! (A Long Love Letter to The World Cup)

Where we have, "Forca Portugal," "Forza Azzurri," and "Come On England," I don't know the rallying cry for the US National Men's Team.  I've cheered the former three on quite a bit in my football fandom, but never the latter, as a real Benedict Arnold.  But, in my defense, the rest of the country never cares much about them unless it's a World Cup year.

Well, dear blog reader, I must share this about myself: I am a devoted footie.  I have been enamored with football (sorry, soccer) since 1994, the hottest summer in Diamond Bar, sweating out the final penalty kicks with everyone else in the world, eyes on the divine Roberto Baggio at the Rose Bowl.  Roberto Baggio was my first football love.  I think I learned Italian because of him.  After that, I would make weekly trips to Borders to find issues of La Gazzetta dello Sport in hopes of reading Baggio tidbits in that iconic pink paper.

The years after that were pretty difficult.  I used internet dial-up to try and access international football news on something called the World Wide Web.  I remember how it took 30 minutes for one JPEG to load.  That was so sad.  My family was cheap back then, so we never had any premium sports channels.  My burgeoning football interest was helped by a trip to Europe, and I would hoard scarves, kits, and posters from street vendors.  I even have a Roberto Baggio wallet.  That fervor then cooled as I gave up hope, and the 2002 World Cup was a kind of blowout with none of my pet countries in the mix.  But I was in Europe for that World Cup and I delighted in skipping class to catch a game.  As everyone else did, with businesses closed and small cathode ray tube TVs lining the streets.  Wonderful, but after that I distanced myself from football again, more a lack of access issue.

But then... 2006.  An epic, wonderful year.  I was working by then and took delicious long lunches watching my beloved Italy make it all the way to the top.  I had done enough homework to feel a kinship with each and every player on Squadra Azzurra.  I remembered the brutal 1994 loss and was happy that I could understand how meaningful the 2006 win was for Italia.  It feels just as real when I watch that penalty shootout on YouTube, when all the players scatter across the field in pure, jubilant joy.

Even more significant than that, I was introduced to the phenomenal, mesmerizing talents of one Cristiano Ronaldo.  And then I was back in full footie effect.  I could now subscribe to Setanta/FSC and watch the English Premier League.  I knew everything about Manchester United and watched every game until Ronaldo won his first premiership.  I thought of Sir Alex Ferguson as my dad.  I got to understand the Champions League and was overjoyed in 2007 when United won that trophy, again with Ronaldo.  And then, Beckham came to the Galaxy, and I was right there every game with my season tickets.

Oh yes, indeed, I am a football fan.  Well, here we are in another year and I'm happy to have it all start again.  Today, I had no intention of doing so, but ended up wearing our red, white, and blue just in time for US vs. Ghana game.  I admit full band wagoner status in suddenly being a fan of our national team.  It should come so natural, but I just spent a ton of time outlining the above and the US just didn't play that much of a part.  (Except that I have seen Landon Donovan play more than any other player.)  And yet, I was down in our work bar today for the last bit of the game.  And the US delivered.  And the cheers and shouting that erupted in Brooks' winning goal for that game, brought back all the delight I have missed in these intervening World Cup years.

Oh, but this is a blog about clothes.  So anyway, here I am wearing red, white, and blue.  And very fittingly, because - Let's Go, USA!

Sorry about this long missive, by the way.  But I kinda had to get it all out.


Top: Joie
Pants: J.Crew Factory
Shoes: KG Kurt Geiger
Cardigan: Club Monaco

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