Whew. I never realized that being a sports fan could be such hard work.
I’ve followed all sorts of sports over the years when I’ve been able to – watched Wimbledon religiously, sat glued to the tv for even the most obscure Olympic sports, gotten up at odd hours to watch March Madness from halfway across the globe, sat on the edge of my seat while my team failed to make the Superbowl (again), cheered madly for the underdog at the World Series, danced in the streets as the local team won the European Cup, egged on rowdy hockey players, and cheered my adopted country on to victory in the other World Cup (rugby). I’ve even met friends to have a pint and watch the soccer before work during the last World Cup.
But I’ve never been as caught up in the sporting event fever as I have been here in SA. It’s almost impossible to ignore it, actually. Even friends who are avowed soccer haters have gotten into the spirit. We’ve taken the train into town with blowing vuvuzelas and joined the masses heading to the matches, staked out our spot with the rowdies at the fan parks, and spent numerous afternoons and evenings at sports pubs cheering loudly for our teams. As much as I love a big event, however, I must admit that it’s taking a lot out of me. It’s hard work having to go out and watch the games with friends every night, drinking a few pints and cheering loudly. I’m still watching all the games, but they’ve worn me down a bit. Maybe it’s the fact that all the teams I was cheering loudest for are out of the tournament already – it was heartbreaking to see Bafana Bafana lose, even though it wasn’t a surprise, and then the US’s loss last week – while I was happy that Ghana was able to keep the hopes of the continent alive and I’ll definitely be cheering for them in their match against Uruguay (my least favorite team), it was sad to see all the US supporters looking so dejected at the loss! But it’s actually been a bit of a relief not to have as much of a vested interest any more – now I can just sit back and enjoy the party! I’ll be ready when July 11 rolls around, though – the World Cup has really been all that anyone has been doing/talking about/watching for the last few weeks (actually, longer – the build up here in SA has been going on for at least a year). And unlike the tourists here visiting, we actually have to try and hold down our day jobs at the same time!
Ah, tough life, hey? Don’t you feel sorry for little ‘ole me? Ok, I’ll stop complaining. I have a match to watch tonight!