Four years ago, I made a remark that I would save up and go to Brazil for the World Cup.
I’m still here.
I’m not sad about this. Life is different. Four years ago, I was single. Four years ago, I was not a mom. Four years ago, I was playing a hundred soccer games a month because, well, it kept me busy.
So, are you excited for the World Cup? Do you even know which cup we’re talking about here?
It’s now been 20 years since the U.S. hosted. Twenty years since Roberto Baggio (Italy’s young hero), launched his PK sky high and lost the final game to Brazil. Twenty years since each of my siblings and I chose another country to cheer for because we knew that, really, the U.S. wasn’t going to win much. Twenty years since they thought soccer had finally arrived in the U.S. and promised to start a professional soccer league. Twenty years since we re-purposed NFL stadiums to host the Cup games. Twenty years since I began cheering for the Dutch team.
Do you remember the 1994 World Cup?
World Cups since then have been memorable in their own way. I never hinted at going to Korea in 2002. I was only 18 for France hosting in 1998. Germany hosted in 2006 and I thought, briefly, I might make that trip happen. I didn’t actually set up a savings specifically for my dream World Cup vacation, though. Perhaps in 32 years, I can talk about such things again. Perhaps in 32 years, they will pick a better host than Qatar (see video below).
Until then, I will likely have my World Cup standings to track online or on a piece of paper. When the women’s Cup was hosted in the US in 1999, I always carried the standings, printed up, in my back pocket. And then I went to that final and watched Brandi Chastain whip off her shirt when they won after penalty kicks. A few rows above me, President Clinton was cheering as well.
Will you watch any of the World Cup games this year? Will you cheer for the U.S. team?