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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup 2010 and Growing Up Latina

(Posted on the Huffington Post yesterday)

How many of you have been watching the World Cup? I have surprised myself with the recent realization that I am a World Cup fanatic. I love futbol (soccer)!

The other day I was eating my soup and salad combo at the Olive Garden when I overheard a group of guys next to me talking about the World Cup. There was only one self-identified Latino and the rest of the guys seemed to defer to him and his soccer expertise, even though he candidly admitted that he was more of a baseball guy himself, being Dominican. Yet, the others were very interested in his opinion as a Latino; and as he spoke I realized that I knew as much, if not more than him, about each of the teams and the players. That's when I came to terms with the fact that I am an undisputed World Cup fanatic.

This might have something to do with my upbringing as a second generation American. Every weekend I took comfort in the fantastic sound of "Gooooooooooooooal" emerging from the TV without fail. Like an old friend I counted on the announcers pronouncement and now as an adult I remember it with a certain nostalgia- with it come memories of my mom's home cooked meals and games shared with my dad.

My love for soccer might also have something to do with the fact that everywhere I've lived, my life has been touched by the sport. When I lived in Mexico for six months as a ten year old, it was the sport of choice. When I lived in Brasil as a teenager, everyone talked nonstop about soccer. And when I lived in China in the nineties, I remember after a few months of hearing no Spanish, a bit of English and mostly Chinese, being woken up one morning by the sound of Ricky Martin's Copa de la Vida.

I love the sport. I find it beautiful, graceful, exciting and fun. Though my number one pick this year is the USA, since I was born in said country, I am also rooting for Mexico, the country of my father's birth; France, another one of my ancestral countries; Brasil, the country where I left my heart as a fifteen year old; and Italy because I love how they play.

Now I have to run. The Mexico vs Uruguay game is about to start.

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