So tonight is the big rematch of US vs Ghana in the World Cup. It sure brings back memories!
Four years ago, I was in London, watching several World Cup games with my good friend Chris. That included watching the US lose to Ghana.
Now I’m not a big soccer (futebol over here in Moz) fan so I wasn’t too bummed about the US losing. It’s not like it was my Chargers or anything!
And two things made it even easier.
1. Being a long-time resident of Africa, one thing I love is that in spite of certain wars and hostilities, there is a great sense of Africans being one together. As mentioned, there are enough wars and violence to contradict that statement, but in day to day life, Africans feel much more solidarity than, say, Europeans. In my humble opinion.
Case in point – The English busting out the anti-German WWII songs in the pub when they were having their turn at one another. And the widespread view that if one’s own country couldn’t win the Cup, they certainly didn’t want another European country to win it!
But with Ghana, it seemed like all of Africa was pulling for them! They were the last African team in the race (as per my often faulty memory of four years ago!) and all the other African nations wanted them to win. As a semi-Mozambican after all these years, I was kinda pulling for them myself for the same reason!
2. On the way back to Chris’ place after watching the US lose to Ghana at the pub, we were in Waterloo station I believe and came across a young man looking very similar to the man in the photo above (that I stole off the internet to give you a visual!). He was standing looking at the overhead train schedule with his country’s flag draped down his back.
I went up to him and congratulated him on his country’s win. He asked if I was American and of course I said yes. He kinda teared up and shook my hand and said he was so sorry for my loss. He was so humble but boy could you see he was bursting with pride! I will never forget the image of him standing there with his flag.
I do love sports and the unique way they have of bringing perfect strangers together. But, it’s four years later, the young man in the flag is no where around to arouse my sentimentality.
Go Team USA! It’s payback time!