Thy name is Michael Owen. Who needs King Beckham of the Metrosexuals when you have MO…
World Cup Soccer is once again upon us and proving once again that betting on sports is the one things that unites the working folk… das office is doing another pool à la March Madness. I think we all know who the old girl will be rooting for in Group B… Merry Olde England of course. They have a pretty good chance of making it past the first round. Not that that would make any difference as to whether I would pick them to do so, but there you have it.
Now, people out West, and I should know because I was once one of them, really don’t follow World Cup Soccer all that much. I think we may have some vague inkling as to when it is on, but only in so far as that pubs tend to be a bit more crowded on a Tuesday than they usually are. But other than that, soccer fever is pretty much non-existent. Imagine my shock when I moved to Toronto in 2004 just as that year’s tournie was kicking off (OMG, I’ve been here 2 years… my how time flies… Happy Anniversary to me). I also just so happened to have moved into a predominantly Portuguese neighbourhood, and for those people living in cities where not a large population of ex-pat Portuguese exists, there are no people who love their ‘football’ more…
Let me take you back to 2004 if I may. T’wasn’t into the whole tournament so much. I was mostly jumping from couch to couch until the loft was ready and looking for a job. You know, fun things of that nature, but when I did finally move into da’ hood I noticed the jubilant nature of the folks living therein. “What a happy bunch” I remembered thinking. Happy indeed for Portugal was kicking in the tournament and one could scarcely come or go in the evening without seeing everyone and their dog sitting outside on their front porches waving flags or hugging their neighbours. Also impossible to miss was the honking of flag-adorned cars around our little block after a victorious Portugal vs. whatever losing team. This was my first introduction into the world of the Portuguese football fans… Needless to say when away I went for the Canada Day long weekend with no access to a TV or radio to hear the outcome of the Portugal vs. Greece final, I was anxious to get home to see whether or not I would be able to sleep that night. I did not need to wait until I returned home to find out what the outcome had been.
For just as the triumphant Portuguese fans would stream out into the streets when their team was victorious, so too would they react when not. I am hear to tell you folks that I still have yet to recover from the complete and utter display of sadness and melancholy… the disappointment people, that had befallen my hitherto jubilant friends. People were sitting on their porches, heads hanging down, shaking in disbelief…Neighbours were comforting other neighbours, some crying, some not…There was no need to rush back home to hear the outcome, it was there in plain site. Oh, the humanity. Needless to say over on the Greek side of town, known as The Danforth, where I discovered that my life had been incomplete until I tasted Saganaki… oh, the wonder of fried cheese… the mood was decidedly more euphoric.
Cut to this year and while I am in the midst of a move, and possibly looking for new employment… meaning that sadly not much has changed in two years… that still does not mean that I don’t give a care… and of course, when there is money involved, I can give a care about just about anything… And give a care I do.
Want to know a few other things I give a care about?
2) Rooting for England the World Cup as they may have a chance to make it past the second round
3) Not having to root for England in the aforementioned predominantly Portuguese neighbourhood where a) there is nowhere to actually watch any games except those little speak easies that most crack-whores will not even enter and b) if there were any respectable establishments in which to watch the matches the fact that I am NOT rooting for Portugal would most decidedly cause me no small degree of bodily harm
4) I work next door to what is the place to go for English football… at any time if the year. I never knew that a place like this existed, but it’s the sort of establishment that opens itself up to hard-core ex-pat British football fans up 6am on a Saturday morning so that those fans, who, being British after all, have more than likely been out drinking until the wee hours of the morning but STILL will wake up at 5am in order to get there early to make sure that get a seat… and a beer… for 6am… on a Saturday. Anyway, so I work right next door… It’s perfect.
5) Soccer Hotties. Second only to… hmmm… actually, soccer players are second to no one. Soccer Hotties.
Bea “Hooligan in disguise” Petty