Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday evening


I know, I said more pictures than words … but this slipped through the net.

My French friend J held a World Cup Final party. She and I and her English husband, her grown-up children, another French friend, an Australian, and a Polish couple and their two little girls all squeezed into J’s small living room. We sat in front of the television - some in chairs, some on the floor - and drank wine or fruit juice and nibbled on pate, cheese, French bread and a Polish speciality brought by Irina, as we watched the game.

We were of one mind that Italy were the better side because they played as a team, but we weren’t able to warm to them. We were aghast at Zidane's head butt (the captain, his last match before retirement, oh no ….), we agreed that the referee did an excellent job, we commiserated with Thierry Henry who for much of the game was brilliant but unsupported by his team-mates, and felt for Lilian Thuram’s tearful sadness in defeat. Thanks to the action replays and the input of my fellow guests I now have a better grasp of the offside rule. We discussed whether we would rather be the goalkeeper or the striker in penalty shootouts. I said the goalkeeper had the worst of it, but I was in the minority.

On the way home there were small clusters of jubilant Italians partying in the street, some waving at the passing traffic. As the bus waited for a red light to change I caught myself smiling.

Contrary perhaps to my expectations the evening had been an enjoyable one. Talking. Making human connections.


Blogger Stray said...

Mary - I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis!

I have been passionate about football since I was a small child, encouraged by a liberal and forward thinking daddy who was visibly proud of my ability to explain the offside rule (and it has changed a bit over the years, so don't be confused if you see an older clip and it's not as you currently understand it).

As you say, it's not always, or even mostly, about the actual physical skill and physics of the game, but about connection to other people. Tribalism. I am red and so are you and that brings us together.

Of course with the addition of large quantities of alcohol or too much testosterone it all turns out rather ugly, but at home, with friends, is a wonderful place to experience the rollercoaster.

I often feel too that football is about daring to care despite the risk of loss. If you're really a fan, it hurts when you lose, and the way the leagues function, the best teams win a lot, and the majority don't - so it's a lot of disappointment going round. It is an acceptance of pain as part of the process - fits in very well with the stuff I have been blogging about recently I think, so thank you, I'd forgotten that I do know how to love despite the inevitability of loss.

I'm going to the charity shield match in August. We will be wearing blue - not my colour but my flatmate's and as she is providing tickets it would be rude not to ally with her. It is a long way to drive to have your heart broken!

8:58 am  
Blogger Sky said...

Great fun! I miss some of those days when I lived in Atlanta and the Braves were shining! Good food, good company, good chatter, and jovial entertainment.

11:17 am  
Blogger rdl said...

Sounds like fun!

12:44 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

That is what makes the game so much fun. The opportunity to share. Share ideas, share smiles, share arguments, food, drink and the love that comes with being human. It adds to the bond that we need in this fragile world. Thank you for sharing your day.
I know I have spent similar days like yours and a smile comes to my face.

1:09 pm  
Blogger MB said...

Having missed the whole thing, I am glad to read this report. I must say, though, that this is my favorite sentence:
As the bus waited for a red light to change I caught myself smiling.

Happy clearing!

6:45 pm  
Anonymous Jess said...

Great to have such a pleasant break from the process of moving! Hope it's going along well for you, Mary.

10:52 pm  
Blogger g said...

I don't know why but afterwards i found your final words echoing in memory. talking. making human connections. there are so many ways to connect, aren't there?

12:48 am  
Blogger Brenda said...

A beautiful, warm way to spend the day, and then the shared experience of the final game with the city! Flag-waving cars sped around here all evening too!

5:14 am  
Blogger chuck said...

The game is global-universal, pretty easy to understand, and increasingly subtle the more you watch it.

AND, it does make a great pretext for getting together with others in easy socializing...as you point out, Mary.

6:49 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you all. What interested me most about Sunday was as much what happened to me and those around me as much as what happened on the pitch.

Stray: Great comment - many thanks. I never understood the earlier offside rule so I have nothing to confuse me now! Strip away the crap around the game and it can be a delight. And I would watch any game that Thierry H played in ...he turns it into an art form.

Sky: Exactly so! :-)

Rdl: It was indeed ....

Dave: It was a pleasure to share. Thank you for your response.

MB: So good to "see" you again ...

Jess; I know you've been there!

Oh g, yes there are. Including the internet ....

Brenda: It would be good to carry some of the warmth into non-football days .... it's got me thinking.

Chuck: Normally these type of gatherings without a focus make me a little nervous. This one, I forgot my shyness completely. As you say, easy socialising. Thanks for dropping by.

6:56 pm  
Blogger LJ said...

I love this kind of story...especially the very end. Witnessing without feeling disconnected (the Italians, I mean)...
And I entirely empathize with the last paragraph.
Good to hear your voice...and glad you find time to write.

11:59 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you, LJ....

2:56 pm  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Hi, Mary: Best of all on this post I loved "making human connections"! That was so cool! This is what life is really about, isn't it? lol!

6:18 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

Mary, can't say I am 'into' football. However, can completely understand the "connection". A good way to be with friends and relax Huh?
The Italians in Oz full of joy!
For me it's Rugby and friends!

11:35 pm  

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