“Oh! It’s USA vs. Portugal!” he exclaimed, looking up at the dashboard and putting away the game he was playing on his phone. From the driver’s seat, I gave an internal sigh and retracted my hand from the search button on the radio.
If only I’d found something interesting before we got here. I could have stayed on the Mexican station. That music is kind of fun… even if I can’t understand the commercials. Was the country station really all that bad? Now I’m stuck listening to a soccer game? Groan.
As if reading my mind, he laughed and said, “Do you know what the only sport is more boring to listen to on the radio than baseball?”
“Soccer?” I asked.
“No! It’s golf!” And he dissolved into laughter. “Seriously. It is. Oh, hey!” He turned his attention back to the radio. “We’re tied! That’s awesome!”
I settled myself with the prospect of listening to a British guy and an Irish guy talk about players whose names I didn’t know running up and down the field and absolutely no goals scored. I’m not a
soccer football fan. I don’t dislike the sport – in fact, I enjoy watching it. I’m just not a fan. Then again, I’m not really a fan of any sport… except hockey.
Anyway, I was contemplating the possibilities of glazing over mentally and whether that would impact our safety since I was the driver, when the British and Irish guys started getting excited. I didn’t know who had the ball but obviously someone stood a chance of scoring. I didn’t expect it to actually happen but the excitement crescendo-ed and I realized that… someone… had just scored.
And a split second later, I figured out it was us.
My husband and I thrust our arms in the air and yelled, “GOAL!”
Suddenly, I was feeling the World Cup fever. I was excited. Our pastor, a major sports buff, had used the World Cup as the starting point for his sermon that morning. He had jokingly indicated that our chances of advancing were extremely slim.
I turned to my husband and said, “I guess our chances of advancing are a bit better than somewhere between 1 in a million and 1 in a hundred?” (This a reference to the sermon).
He smiled and we settled in to listen to the last 9 minutes of the game. The guys (I enjoyed listening to the Irish guy in particular) kept remarking on how Portugal looked like they had already given up. How great the American team looked. How it was already over and USA was locked into at least second place and thus advancing.
It was exciting. I remarked on the good fortune to turn to the game right before an exciting conclusion, instead of having to listen to nothing happening.
The ref then added 5 minutes to the clock as soccer refs are prone to do, estimating the stoppage of play throughout the game. I sighed but trusted my British and Irish eyes and ears. This game was all but over.
As an Oklahoma State Cowboys fan, I wasn’t relaxing, mind you. I have plenty of experience with teams losing it at the end. Still. There was maybe a minute left. I could hear the crowd chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”
And then those dang guys started to get excited again. And with a disbelieving tone. And then. And then.
Portugal scored a goal in the final seconds. That might happen a lot in basketball. And maybe even in American football. But soccer?
We both sat there stunned. We had lost.
Fifteen minutes ago, I hadn’t even known that the game was going on. Was no more than mildly interested in the outcome. And now I felt like someone had just stolen my ice cream cone.
We listened to commentary for a few more minutes and then I resumed my search for music.
“Well that sucked,” he said.
“Mmm-hmmm,” I replied, feeling down.
And, yeah, the loss kind of sucked. But it feels kind of special that we caught it. And got to be a part of it. I guess it was better than catching a good song. They play those on the radio all the time.