2002 Tokyo experiencing my first World Cup (in the host country, no less!)
This week (this month, really) the LOVE is all about the World Cup. It's like waking up to the best birthday ever, every day.
These are a few of my favorite things:
- the exchanging of the shirts at the end of the game. Not so much because of all the hot shirtless men (though I'm not opposed), but because I adore the spirit of sportsmanship. That feeling of hey, we just shared an event we'll remember the rest of our lives, let's acknowledge and show respect for each other.
- the England team. I also love Japan and Germany, but England is the first team I ever supported when I was introduced to the world of football, and they will always claim the top spot in my heart. It is a little hard to see familiar faces from World Cups past replaced by less familiar players, but at least Beckham is still there (albeit as an honorary bench-warmer/cheerleader). England hasn't won a World Cup since 1966, but each time there is a feeling of maybe, just maybe...
- all the different kits (uniforms) -- colorful jerseys, knee-high socks, neon shoes, a sometimes inadvertent resemblance to Charlie Brown or the Lollipop Guild...
I want socks like these!
- DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. There is always some controversy or upset to keep things spicy -- this time we have the EPIC meltdown and subsequent sending-home-early of France; the inability of last time's champions, Italy, to make it past the first round; referees making bizarre calls and disallowing perfectly valid goals; and complaints about the design of the football itself. Never a dull moment.
- GOALS! So hard to come by, so glorious when they do happen. Favorites so far include the U.S.'s Landon Donovan's extremely last-minute, life-saving goal against Algeria, both Honda and Endo's effervescent free kicks that gave Japan the lead against Denmark (the first free kicks that actually scored in the World Cup so far), and Özil's über-clean, textbook strike that gave Germany the win over Ghana. The accompanying celebrating and dancing is always good fun too.
#8, Tshabalala, has possibly the best name EVER
Are you watching the games? Who are you rooting for?