Saturday, June 12, 2010

pass the vuvuzela

As a fan of college basketball teams like the Salukis and Hawkeyes who rarely make it past the first round of the NCAA's, I am used to the idea that "who do you like best?" and "who do you think will win?" are two separate questions. For some of my students, however, they are indistinguishable. The idea is to pick a good team, one that has a chance, and stick with it all the way to the end. In that spirit I've picked Argentina, though I think they'll have their hardest time today; but, remember, I'm also going for USA, who also may have a rough day (god forbid) and of course I'm a longstanding fan of the African teams, and was especially impressed by South Africa itself.

That said, I have a number of observations based on what I've already seen. I saw a bit of the Mexico-South Africa match at the Student Center bowling place; a lone Mexican family was watching with me. The woman was nursing a baby who was literally getting World Cup with her mother's milk. Mexican fans, of whom there are many in this town, were disappointed at the result, no doubt, but Mexico was in a tough position, playing the hosts and all (here I'll point out that all the commentary you hear is British, so you would say, Mexico were..., or, as they said, "Mexico are trying to be the pah-ty peu-pah he-ah"...

So it was gracious of Mexico to grant a tie to the hosts, to put them in good spirits, ride them through the week, and allow the world to hear these wild horns that must be exported a.s.a.p. along with some of the language, and, to be sure, Miriam Makeba, though she's dead. The France-Uruguay match, however, left me with a different feeling. First, a 0-0 draw is an impotent kind of result; they both came out losers in my book. My colleague told me I could watch it streaming-live on Univision (in Spanish) which I did, but offered other streaming options; I did vocabulary exercises and schoolwork anyway, and it was just as well, nothing happened. I lose big on the office pool; I'm not used to picking draws; it leaves me wondering how many there will actually be. My colleague says, generally you need a win and a draw to advance (it was news to me that you got 3 pts. for a win, not 2)...shows what a novice I am, I guess.

Speaking of novices, I have one more comment. Nobody seems to deem it necessary to distinguish which team is white, and which is blue, as if the entire world already recognizes the French stars just by their face. Here's one guy who doesn't. Both France and Uruguay looked very racially mixed; the white team had red, white and blue stripes; I was at a loss to figure out which was which. The names on their uniforms were illegible and didn't sound French or Spanish; besides using culturist assumptions that French teams will have French-sounding names doesn't strike me as cool. So give us a break! Give us a hand here. I know this from showing baseball to internationals...although a local here would take half a second to recognize Cardinal-red, it wouldn't mean thing to an outsider...



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