In no particular order [AND NOW WITH ONE UPDATED BONUS THING]:
1. Vuvuzelas. Yup, that’s right. I’m a vuvuzela lover. Like every non-deaf person in the world, when I first heard the vuvuzalas, I was all, “What in the what?!…Is my TV on the fritz?” But the vuvuzelas quickly faded to background noise for me. Sort of like the sound of a fan at night. I honestly think I could sleep through a vuvuzela chorus now. Then, against all odds, I began to like vuvuzelas. I even bought some vuvuzelas. (I bought three! So, not only am I part of the vuvuzela solution, I’m part of the problem.) No, I don’t want them to infiltrate American sports. Yes, I agree they’d be annoying in person. But the vuvuzelas were an amusing part of the 2010 World Cup. I know that for the rest of my life, when I hear a vuvuzela I’ll be instantly transported back to the summer of ’10 in my mind. I like stuff like that, and I’ve had a good summer so far, so I think I’ll enjoy having an easy way to remember this year. Vuvuzela as time capsule.
2. The jerseys. Perhaps it’s just because I root for the Sabres, but I wouldn’t call myself a jersey watcher. (A Sabres fan who is obsessed with jerseys is in for a sad, sad time.) I have lots of basic opinions about hockey jerseys, but I don’t lose sleep over the bad ones, and I don’t have more than a basic appreciation for the good ones. Until soccer came along, I was pretty neutral on jerseys.
I’m not sure if it’s the simplicity of the uniform, but MAN did I enjoy noticing every little aspect of their outfits. And I chose my rooting interests accordingly.
And then there was Germany. These were BY FAR the worst uniforms in the World Cup. So many things to hate. I can forgive the Germans for World War I and II, but will never, ever, ever forgive them for having gold stripes on their shoulders and WHITE stripes on their shorts. Those mismatched stripes are so disgusting that the red piping in the shirt is nearly acceptable in comparison. Red piping! These uniforms make me angry.
3. The thighs. I’ll miss the thighs a lot.
4. Passionately cheering for/against a totally random country. I tend to be a, “Let peace begin with me,” kind of gal, so I actively shy away from issues of nationalism and politics. I get nervous about any big display of nationalism from any country. Perhaps this is why it I found it so amusing to be all, “Those filthy, cheating [insert the name of any country]-ians!” It turns out xenophobia is kind of hilarious when applied completely haphazardly to a sporting event I know almost nothing about.
On the flip side, I rooted VERY passionately for a few countries I’d never really thought much about before. For example, I cried when Ghana was eliminated. Actual tears of sadness and frustration slid down my pasty Minnesotan face when Ghana missed that penalty kick. If you’d told me a month ago that I would be passionately rooting for Ghana I would have said, “I’m, like, 99.99% sure that Ghana is somewhere in Africa.” And now, after watching the World Cup, I’m thinking that I must be at least half-Ghanaian. There just HAS to be at least a little Ghanaian blood in my ancestry somewhere.
5. Having an excuse to shut down my life and watch sports all day for a month. This perk of the World Cup cannot be overstated. I didn’t feel even remotely guilty watching up to three soccer games a day. In fact, I felt like I was becoming a part of the global community. Not only was I not wasting time, I was being worldly and sophisticated! I was learning about new cultures (kind of) and shedding my stodgy American sensibilities. Look. If 90% of the world thinks the World Cup is important enough to drink beer in the middle of the day over, well, who am I to argue? It’s my duty as a well-rounded citizen of the world to participate.
So, World Cup, I bid you a fond adieu. You’ve been a hoot and I’ll miss you very much.
Oh wait! I can’t believe I forgot this one. It’s a BONUS thing I’ll miss about the World Cup.
6. Paul the Octopus