Love Story, Part 2

Big Daddy made it quite clear that there was a condition that had to be met before he moved into my one bedroom loft apartment after we were married. There was no doubt that I had to secure cable TV before he would even consider stepping foot over the threshold after reciting our vows. This was not a condition for marriage- just for postnuptial cohabitation. You see, the 2002 FIFA World Cup kicked off less than a week after we got married. Without some sort of cable TV he would marry me but would continue to live with his Uncle until the conclusion of the World Cup. Thinking that an odd way to start off a marriage I added cable to the list of bills paid each month.

Less clear to me initially was the fact that said World Cup was taking place in Korea and Japan. Let’s just say that the time difference between those locales and our happy home in Southern California did not promote both soccer watching pleasure and solid sleeping habits. Seeing as the U.S.A.’s first game kicked off at approximately 4:25am local time I quickly learned that give and take was required in a marriage. I had a few options to deal with this month long soccer extravaganza. I could have- 1) sent Big Daddy to his Uncle’s or friend’s place for the early morning wake up calls 2) purchased ear plugs and complained incessantly throughout the month about the TV being on at ungodly hours or 3) embraced the excitement and adventure that was the World Cup.

The fact that I have a Soccer Mom blog gives you an idea as to which option I chose. Yes, I decided to take on the adventure and opted to get up and watch many of the games with Big Daddy. I am not afraid to also admit that I attempted to sleep through some of them. I mean, really, who wants to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch Cameroon vs. Saudi Arabia? Thanks to a closed bedroom door and a box fan providing white noise I was usually successful in those sleeping efforts.

This was the first World Cup I paid any attention to so much of the drama and history that surrounded games was lost on me. For example a 1-0 Senegal victory over France to open the festivities seemed like a typical storyline out of a soccer match. The fact that France was the reigning champions had to be pointed out to me. Once Big Daddy filled in some of the gaps of my knowledge the intrigue began to build. Our early mornings were spent watching the games, chatting , eating breakfast and consuming mass quantities of coffee.

I will admit that by nature I am super competitive and I have always enjoyed watching all sorts of sports. This fact meant I quickly got wrapped up in the sounds, colors, competition and drama that was my first real World Cup experience. I was introduced to this new world and a massive crush was blossoming.

That budding crush exploded during the knockout rounds. The U.S. taking on Mexico in the round of 16 was a dramatic plot twist. Watching McBride of the U.S. score so early in the match had me reaching for pen and paper to write a note of apology to the tenants of the space below ours as our goal celebration may have been as loud as if we’d been at the stadium. Donovan’s goal just before the mid-way point of the second half again had me feeling guilty but I no longer cared. It was worth celebrating. A 2-0 lead on Mexico was an amazing score line and one that would hold thus propelling the Mexican squad out of the World Cup and the U.S.A. into the quarterfinals. Amazing..

It was in the quarterfinals that the U.S. squad took on the Germans. That morning my brother, who like me had little experience with soccer, joined us for breakfast and the early morning wake up call. Drama, build up, possibilities, emotion, energy and more drama. As in a new relationship this particular game felt like it would take you to untold heights, only to leave you stunned, heartbroken. The U.S. squad fought hard only to be denied. A handball on the goal line? Life , and soccer, can be cruel. Now over eleven years later I look back fondly on those early days of our marriage and my love of the game of soccer.

 

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