I thought more about my upcoming trip to Brazil. I realise that I will be able to do something special: enjoy the thrill of the World Cup while living in three different countries, in five phases, each of which is passionate about football, some of which will have teams in the fist. I will start watching games next week in Jamaica: our horse fell before it got into the stalls. I will pass through England, then move to France and watch the games for about 10 days there: French football is middling in European standards, with PSG starting to give one of their club teams a decent look at major international championships. But, I was brought up in the days of Platini and St. Etienne. I loved it that France managed to find a blend for its players of European and African origin to play a style of football that was creative and exciting and win the 1998 World Cup on home soil: I loved the team but had my favourities–Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Didier Deschamps (Captain, Juventus), Marcel Desailly (AC Milan), Zinedine Zidane (Juventus), Robert Pirès (Metz), Thierry Henry (AS Monaco), Fabien Barthez (AS Monaco), Frank Lebœuf (Chelsea). Formidable win over Brazil, 3-0. That’s ironic: old deposed by new. Enjoy the highlights, again.
I will be soaking up French-style football watching, and all the time zone differences, with wine, cognac, mussels, baguettes, mergez sausage, etc. (even though I don’t drink alcohol, anymore).
Allez les Bleus! I will be chanting La Marseillaise.
Then, I go to the motherland of the game, England, and will get to watch footy in Lon’on, with some mates. That could be fun. I will meet an old school friend, whom I first got to know when I went to England in 1961, and with whom I have managed to reconnect. We are planning to eat some serious pie and mash. My 10 year-old daughter may go into serious food shock after that. But, it will be in a good cause, as we go back to the area where Daddy went to infant school and see the places he used to walk and play, including the home of QPR (Loftus Road). I may stay with a friend whose home is right next door to Arsenal’s former home, Highbury. I will also be with cousins, who have lived in England all their lives, being born in London. They will be rooting for whom? England, I think, with the likes of Sterling and Sturridge raising the Flag of St. George and the black, gold, and green in their veins. It would be great to find myself in a pub when England play Costa Rica and have the raucousness of English fans as my background.
My 10 year-old may really wonder if her Dad has gone off his rocker. I will not do what I used to, have a good few pints of beer to go with the match, but will be taking something a bit simpy like tonic water. I may have to give up this teetotal kick. Pie, a pint, a bag of crisps: the props of good football watching.
Then, I will head back to sunny Kingston. I do not have any venue that seems right for the watching, except my own home, but I can go crazy in my own space. I will be back in the land of the waggonists and it will be interesting to see how they position themselves in the later rounds of the finals. It could be tears if Brazil are struggling at that point. The knockout stages will be starting about the time I get back to Jamaica.
It’s a fun set of options sitting out there. It’s world cup, after all, so I better see how the world treats it.