El Mundial continues

3 07 2010

Keeping my head up after each Aussie game as a challenge, not – as you’d expect – from having lost , drawn or even won (leaving), or because it’s exhausting trying to remember to cheer, heckle and ask for chips in Spanish all while concentrating on the game.

After each game someone tried to lift my spirits, supposing I was down because of the outcome; which I’d all but forgotten within seconds. But after focussed attention on one understandable thing all of I sudden I find myself in a room of animated people speaking about all manner of things in small groups with enthusiasm and volume. And it’s just easier to tune out.

It doesn’t make it easier that the games starting at 8:30 finish close to 10:30 so it’s close to 1 by the time people think about going home, an I leave at 8 in the morning. Not the only workers…

We watched the second and third games in the local pub, and the Spanish games in pubs and pisos around Córdoba. The second game we sat in the pub, emptied for siesta. In South Africa the crowd was dominated by yellow but we managed to make our own little puddle of green here in Fatima.

The third game, I arrive to an all but empty pub showing the Germany/Ghana which was also showing on free to air TV (while the Oz game only appeared on cable game. After a little begging and given the only other people were leaving – they changed the tele for me. So I started the game alone in the pub, watching the OZ game. The next guy that came in scoffed at the game and expectantly asked for the channel change. The barmen looked at me – I stared him down – and hesitantly he asked the other guy if he was German, knowing full well he’s lived within a block all his life, then shrugged and looked my way. <<Yes! A win for Australia and the game has only just begun!>>

Within minutes Australia had it’s first goal. My friends (typically Latino) turned up through the first half. By the second half we had quite a crowd as well as the locals who’d filled out the bar, a great atmosphere, and a barmen who tooted the horn for Australia and kept our table full of tapas. Most people were smiling – except for the non-German who kept looking at me sideways. Everyone cheered with us, and understood our groans, and generally loosely became Aussie fans if only for the hour.

The Spanish wasn’t that hot through the 8s, but I made it faithfully to each game with my red top, yellow earrings and flag on my face. That won me no friends with the Honduran crew who supported OZ so faithfully and lamented my obvious partisanship in the Honduras/Spain game.

I had been painting my nails for each game – a bit of an effort having to swap between green and gold, and then the Spanish flag. And they drew a lot of attention in the street – I’d go to pay for something and find the attendant grabbing outstretched hand awaiting change, to show them to the others in the shop. I don’t know how that’s out there when people flag out their cars and carry Spanish team horns that they blow the whole day and night of the game.

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