Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The World Cup Begins: Who Cares?

An email was recently distributed at my office from the building's facilities management regarding "World Cup coverage" during the games.  But because it was tucked between emails about the hot water taps in the kitchen being "very hot" and the carpet cleaning schedule for the remaining days of June, I paid no attention - until today, when I was attempting to clean out my inbox after receiving my 1,000th email informing me that my inbox has "exceeded one or more size limits set by your administrator" and I will no longer be able to "send or receive new mail until you reduce your mailbox size."  So naturally, I clicked on the World Cup email with my finger poised over the delete button.  But before sending it to my Deleted Items box (why doesn't Outlook just call it "Trash"?  It's so much more satisfying to move work emails to an icon labeled "Trash" rather than "Deleted Items"), I considered this email thoughtfully.  'Only in England,' I thought to myself, 'would facilities management offer to "set up a projector and screen in the restaurant to broadcast the game should England get through to the second or subsequent rounds"'.  And only in England would you be given permission by your line manager to go down to the said restaurant to watch this game.  And possibly, only in England (with the exception of maybe France, because they're all into workers' rights and stuff there), would they broadcast other games in which England is not playing in the office and allow workers to watch these games.

When I go home to the States, people almost always ask me the same question (along with a myriad of the usual questions about where I live, such as, "Doesn't British food SUCK?" and "Doesn't it rain, like, ALL THE TIME, in London?" or "Don't British people have the worst teeth EVER?"), which is, "Don't y'all watch a lot of soccer over there?"  If "y'all" refers to me, then no.  But "over there", yes, people watch a lot of football here.  I don't mind it, and I sure as hell don't find it as obnoxious and irritating as that other version of football, which involves pig-skin tossing, beer guzzling and "tailgate" partying (British friends, I'll explain later), but I sure as hell don't CARE.  It may be the biggest sport in England and most of Europe, but I just can't get into it enough to give a flying turkey.

Four years ago, whenever the last World Cup happened, John bought me an England shirt and sent it to me in the US.  I wore it a couple times to bed, deemed it not-as-breathable-as-cotton and politely retired it to the back of my closet.  When England lost, he called me.  "It's because you didn't wear your England shirt!" he moaned.  I resisted the urge to reply, "No, it's because you've got a crap team" and responded with, "Oh noooooooooooo ... sorrrryyyyyyyyy," instead.

Last night, John said, "I can't decide what time to leave for Leicester this weekend."  "Why?" I asked.  "What's the problem?  We can either go Friday after work or Saturday morning."  "I know, but the World Cup is starting and I don't want to miss any of it," he said, forlornly.  Um, yeah, no sympathy from me there.  Eye roll.

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