Today when I walked into the cafeteria at Pascual Baburizza, I noticed immediately that something was different. Students weren’t lined up like usual; professors in their lunch room were silent; the typical din was replaced by one stereophonic sound from a few TVs: a commentator on the Germany – Costa Rica World Cup game. So it’s here—the 2006 World Cup. And I’m here—that is, in South America, a continent dominated by soccer fans. Everyone is glued to the results.
One professor asked me who the U.S. is playing next. I said I didn’t know and he scoffed. “You don’t really care much about soccer in the U.S., huh?” he asked. I told him that our sports attention was filled mostly with football, basketball, and baseball, but that many people did follow the World Cup. But what do I know—I’m not even in the U.S. right now. Maybe Cup fever is sweeping the country. In the meantime, I need to get caught up in the craze fast if I want to be able to talk to anyone in the new few months. Go U.S.! Boo Italy, Czech Republic, and Ghana!