02 July 2010

World Cup!

Okay, I know that my first official post of the actual Brazil Travel Seminar should be something with some deep theological meaning, but part of going to any new country is to experience the culture. This morning we did just that. For those of you Americans who might not be aware, football, or what we call soccer, is a very popular sport in many countries...just not so much in ours. There is World Cup fever in Brazil! When Brazil is playing a game, businesses close, the city basically stops. Everyone gathers in bars, houses, etc. to watch the game.

Rio was chosen to be one of the official FIFA fan fest locations throughout the world where people can gather to watch World Cup games on a giant TV screen. In Rio, it is on Copacobana Beach. We wanted to experience being in the crowd for the game, so our van dropped us off at the beach around 8:30 in the morning. The game started at 11, but we were not by any means the first people there. It was awesome! The energy was catching. I love crowds. I wanted to get as close as possible, to be in the mix where people are standing right on top of each other to see the game, like sardines, so Rebecca and I weaved our way closer. By the end of the game, we ended up only being about 15 people in from the front.

Watching the game with the crowd on the beach was an experience I'll never forget: the exuberant cheering when Brazil scored, the clapping for good plays, the booing when the Netherlands scored, the yelling at bad calls and poor kicks and sloppy play. As someone who played soccer growing up in an area that didn't care much about the game, being in a large crowd of people who care passionately about the game...well, it is hard to explain, but it was almost like coming home. Those of you who follow the World Cup know that Brazil lost, which was unfortunate, but for me, it was still an amazing experience.

I promise that next time my post will not be about soccer...

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