With the start of this year’s World Cup I’ve started to feel better and worse. As a Caribbean and South American Woman; it’s such an exciting time for us. The idea of the World Cup being hosted so close to home, in a continent where almost every country plays the sport (we have 9 national teams that were competing in the qualifiers with 5 teams making it to the World Cup this year) makes my heart so glad as I know how much these things mean to countries that are smaller or not as well known. To be this close to “greatness” makes us all so proud of Brazil but you can’t help but be angry as well.
If you’ve been paying attention; right before the start of the World Cup a few days ago there was a slew of news articles highlighting the plight of the impoverished in Brazil; not necessarily because they were poor but because the government of Brazil; (like so many countries that host international events) decided that the real image of their country wasn’t the one that they wanted broadcast the world over and displaced a lot of residents in areas near the new stadiums. The terror of what they did to a lot of those communities are real and the issue is that life will never return to normal for those that were moved, houses torn down or even those that were teargas-ed to insure they leave.
It’s a hollow happiness for me.
I’m rooting for my teams, wearing my colors (Brazil, Argentina and Spain; not in any order) and watching the games but this is just exciting and almost superficial in comparison to what I knew I could have felt had there been no controversy and scandal around this event.
As a soccer fan, stranded in America this is our February 29th, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa….World Cup is everything. It’s bragging rights for three years, it’s growth, its watching players get better and sharing in their wins and losses and thinking; they’re just like me, they come from a similar place.
I get why Americans don’t really like soccer; you’re not particularly good at it (but yo’re getting better yay! Women’s National Team is the best though!) but you’ll start to like it as you get better I’m sure. This World Cup; I’m just trying to make it to July 13 without being too depressed for how our collective joy has impacted this country in both a negative and positive way.
Who are you rooting for?