Monday, July 12, 2010
Since the invention of soccer, Spain has never won the World Cup. Generations have come and gone without Spain so much as getting past the quarter finals. Finally, almost 150 years later, Spain has finally gotten it right.
Being American, I really don't give a shit about soccer-which is also why I use the term "soccer" as "football" is another sport entirely to me (and, strangely enough, the english, who invented modern soccer, also came up with the term "soccer", but they'll get violent over it's use from foreigners.)- but it's hard not to get caught up in the whole madness, if only a little bit, especially since I'm in Spain. But,out of respect for the historic win, I'll use the spanish term "futbol".
We're not talking about a city that goes ballistic over winning a trophy, we're talking about an entire country going crazy at the same moment. Last night, during the game, I went out to see what it was like in the streets and it was a ghost town. I walked down several streets just to look into the bars and saw every one packed with people watching the televised game. After a while, I got back upstairs, because whether they won or lost, I knew there would still be madness in the streets.
Once safely back at home, I didn't watch the game, but about an hour later, I knew when a goal was scored in favor of Spain because I heard outside and in the apartments all around me a simultaneous cheer. It was deafening and went on for a while. As it turns out, that one goal was the winning one. And that's when the madness started. Fireworks, firecrackers, helicopters flying around and just non stop noise, all night long.
Like I said, I'm no futbol fan, but every spanish person here is-mostly every one, especially the old people who have never experienced a World Cup win. After being in Spain for a while, I now realize the major difference in spanish people is which futbol club they're devoted too, and it's passed on to their children. I went out this afternoon and, walking the streets of Madrid, it was hilarious to see how shitfaced everyone still was. Store owners, sanitation workers, newstand owners, all red faced, to go along with the red and gold spanish shirts that everyone was wearing. People in the streets still reeked of beer. I went into a dry cleaners and the owner smelled like he'd just stepped out of a bar. I congratulated him on Spain's historic win and he immediately launched into telling me, in spanish, how tough the Holland team was, "throwing elbows, kicking, tripping."
Knowing Spain like I do, this ain't gonna be no one day party. This joint is gonna last a while and I'm gonna be in it a little. There won't be any escape from it because this is a futbol country. I'll visit a bar later this week just to hang out and I'm sure that's all that'll be talked about. But that's cool, too. I can deal with it now that I've witnessed history and know how important this win is for so many people. Enhorabuena, Espana.
It's too bad Franco never saw Spain win a world cup. Serves the bastard right, too.