Everyone is obsessed. For months people have been concerned with whether they will get time off work, or at least a chance to watch the games at work. People are selling thematic wigs, hats, flags, and jerseys on the streets. Even many commercials have revolved around soccer and winning a trip to South Africa. In the upcomming days and weeks TV programs of every type have been covering preparation for the games. My favorite was a cheesy Jay-walking ripoff where Chileans were asked to point out South Africa on a map, or tell the camera who was Nelson Mandela. My boyfriend has been telling everyone we see about this show two days ago where some black South African women commented on how cute they thought the Chileans were, and then the camera focused on the group of Chileans nearby and they were apparently a mixture of old, really pudgy, and hairy. One proceeded to practically make out with one of the women, then turn to the camera and send greetings home to his wife and family. Then the program put on some pop music and got the women to dance with the men, and apparently the clash of dance styles was pretty funny as the Chileans were marching around as if it were cumbia.
I was kind of giggling thinking back on the US. I know many people are really excited about the games, though I think there is probably a large quantity of people who root for a favorite team other than the US. However, as a friend mentioned yesterday, a large percentage of people are probably completely oblivious that a tournament is going on at all. The US is not, as a whole, soccer-obsessed. I doubt there are too many people wearing thematic clothing or jerseys around town, and when its game time, I can only imagine society in general proceeds as normal.
Here, at 7:30 am kickoff this morning, people were outside in the rain chanting and blowing foghorns. When Chile scored the first goal just after 8, my house started literally vibrating from neighbors jumping up and down, and out my window I heard not only cheers, honking, and my neighbor screaming bloody murder out the window, but fireworks. Fireworks?!? At 8am in the rain?
This is not exactly ideal for sleeping in on my sick day... but in the end it doesn't matter. I wouldn't dare sleep through the game myself. ;-) Less than half the game remaining and we're ahead... Vamosss Chile!