The octopus is now probably Spain's national animal...and calamares, the Netherlands' national dish.
Yep, I jumped on the World Cup bandwagon. And nope, it wasn't because of Ronaldo's abs. I think my heightened interest in sports over the last few years (tennis, basketball, disc, even rugby) also brought on a heightened interest in the Greatest Show on Earth. I never thought I could sit through 90 minutes (and then some) of football...but when the ball handling is masterful and you're munching on crispy pata (fried pork leg) with your husband while watching a match at some bar, it's actually pretty awesome.
Hamil and I spent a lot of late nights at various places because we didn't have Balls. (To non-locals, that's a cable channel!) I really don't enjoy staying out so late anymore, but we reasoned that this only happens every four years--a thought that helped me soldier through a few 2:30 AM games. I was rooting for Argentina, in large part because my brother's a hardcore fan, and Maradona's antics totally cracked me up. (My nephew is named after him.) I was stunned after that 4-0 loss to Germany. And I thus rooted for whoever dem Germans played against (har), eventually deciding that Spain really was my team. (My apologies to my relatives, who would actually watch Oranje matches at home in matching orange jerseys!)
We were bleary eyed as we waited for the 2:30 AM showdown. The finals match wasn't exactly beautiful; I am no football expert, but it didn't seem that well executed. The commentator's dry British humor kept me entertained though--I wish I had jotted down his gems! We were surrounded by people rooting for the Dutch boys. I stood up and yelled each time a goal was attempted. And then, as the sky started to take on a rosy hue--inky black darkness making way for the pinks and reds and oranges of sunrise--as the clock hit the 116th minute, Andres Iniesta made World Cup history.
Four more years til this happens again. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to make a trip of a lifetime to Brazil.