Let me tell you about the life of a World Cup fan. 30 hours from the time I finish writing this I will either be happy, ecstatic, or miserable. The World Cup has captured the attention of people everywhere. While countries with teams in the tournament have the most at stake when following the results, there are those among us with split loyalties. It so happens that I am one of those people, as my loyalties coming in were not only split, they were split 3 ways.
In a tournament that is played every day, situations with various teams are always changing. If I had written this 7 days ago, all my favorite countries would still be playing. 30 hours from now, all three may have been eliminated. Be that as it may, I am going to share which teams I support, and why, as well as tell you what would be not only my dream final-if it is even possible in the brackets-and why I rank my teams as I do.
I was born in the United States to Dutch parents. My first soccer memory, while faint, is of Holland losing in the final of the World Cup to Germany in 1974 by a score of 2-1. When I was 14 I started 4 years of High School in London. I was once married to an Argentinian, and Argentina was the second team to beat Holland in a World Cup final in 1978, in a game I felt Argentina manipulated unfairly. While some people think my desire to beat the Argentinians is connected to having an ex wife from there, that is not the case. It doesn’t help their cause, but it is more about 1978. If you want to know more about that game I suggest that you go on You Tube.
While I was berated by some, lovingly of course, for wanting the Netherlands to defeat the U.S. last week, Holland is my number one team. It’s not about loyalty or patriotism, it’s about emotional investment. However, I do admit that if the U.S. had won, while I would not have been as happy as I am, I would still have been happy. And last weeks victory for Holland set up what will be a very intense, potentially remarkable next 30 hours. In one hour Holland will play Argentina in the quarterfinal, 24 hours before England will play France. What makes this next day or so potentially even more speoial, is that should Holland and England win, and then go one to win one more game each, they would face each other in the World Cup final, an event that would be my personal ultimate in sports joy.
There is one final twist to all of this wonderful drama. My father, who passed away 15 1/2 years ago at the age of 87, was an enormous fan. Back in the day when it was not easy to call overseas, if you would call my father in the middle of a game he would immediately say, “Call me back. I am watching football”. Naturally, as a man born and raised in Holland, his favorite team was the Dutch national team. Because of the fact that this World Cup is being played in Qatar, for the first time ever the final is not taking place in the summer. If Holland is to win their first ever World Cup, it will happen on December 18th. A day that also happens to have been my father’s birthday.
The stars are all aligned for the perfect ending. Of course 3 1/2 hours from now that dream might be over, but whatever happens, the great thing about sports is that it is wonderful to dream.
Hup Holland! (You understand that if you are Dutch or a fan).
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