Much to the shock of the spouse, who is the officially recognised sportsperson in the family, it was I who was the officially recognised football fan watching all the FIFA matches. Staying up at ungodly hours to do so, sacrificing precious snoring REM sleep and taking on the risk of morphing into Kung Fu Panda, the tummy (occasioned by the constant munching to accompany the game) and the dark circles (occasioned by much lack of sleep) and the sore voice that comes from shouting when goals have been made or blocked or corners gone askew or direct kicks to the chest, and stamping on players…I had a ball. And I didnt watch the match in any pub/restobar or any such like place. I had no atmosphere. I had to create my own atmosphere. Occasionally the spouse stepped in to make me a crowd. And boy can he shout loud enough to wake the dead. At others the child stayed awake bright tailed and bushy and wondering when the teams would actually start playing because to him playing meant kicking the ball into the goal and not pussyfooting around passing the ball from one half of the ground to the other. Which made absolute sense when I think of in retrospect.
So now that the World Cup is done and over with, here’s what I take away from it.
Batter fried octopus rings. Paul. I hate you for your predictions and the psychological pressure you put the losing team under. I hope you lose all your tentacles and can never pick up another mussel in your life.
Shakira, baby, I have Waka Waka playing in my head every moment and I would kill to have your kamar…alas, this kamara wont do your kind of moves without dislodging the floor tiles so will content myself with watching you move it the way only you can move it.
The amount of violence that has come into the game. At times I wondered if I was watching a world level professional football match or street level thuggery. Melo, Melo, Melo! Is that the way you treat a man who has fallen down? Shame on you. De Jong, this is footie, not Kung Fu. And what was that gherao of the referee. Whatever happened to sporting spirit?
Diego Forlan. Sigh. Moves like a golden haired angel with wings on his feet. Played like a man of honour. Never in a single match did I see Forlan doing any improper tackling or muscling around. He played with the kind of dignity that movies are made in honour of. And of course, he looks incredibly good. Move over Edward Cullen, I now have a flesh and blood object of desire. I’m fickle that way.
The duds of the series. Rooney? Who stole your pacifier? You sulked through every match you played and deserved a whupping. Kaka. I hate tears, Kaka. Not going to spill any on you. Messi. Whatever it is they said you had, you didnt show any of it on field. Ronaldo, your high point was the imminent birth of your son, I can understand why your mind was not on the game. Torres? Lucky you had a great team to fall back on.
And then there was the vuvuzela. ENT specialists must be minting money handing out hearing aids post the World Cup. I wonder how the players were able to concentrate and communicate with the incessant racket them vuvuzelas made to the exclusion of everything, even commentary. I read that a ban is on the cards, and seems absolutely practical a decision. Eh, what was that you said?
The ball. The Jabulani, and the Jo’bulani lent itself to many Sindhi jokes, with reference to the stinginess with which goals came by this series. Players and coaches complained about the unpredictability of the ball. Sour grapes? But well. It was a goodlooking ball. I am shallow like that.
And the exhilaration of watching beautiful goals, a high that stops your heart for a split second as you wonder whether the ball will make it past the goal keeper and into the net.
And for me, the moment that defined the entire tournament, the moment Spanish keeper Castillas broke down on field crying, after the winning goal was scored. He’s cried before on field. I like a man who is not afraid to cry on a public forum. Especially if said man has captained a team that wins championships. Phtooey to all you stiff lipped clenched jaws retrosexuals. It is good to see grown men cry.
I leave you with these images that epitomised the beauty of the game and the series for me: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jamespearce/2010/07/my_world_cup_in_pics.html
For those of who want the facts:
And for me, I need to find something else to keep me on a high. Err, tell me why we like a boring game like cricket in this country.