San Franciscans get the World Cup. At least, we get the World Cup in our own distinct fashion. We understand that the World Cup is the world’s biggest
sporting event month-long party. Sports? Dost thou kiddeth me? The San Franciscan World Cup consists of 30 days of parties and sampling food and beverages from around the planet. And now that the big screen has gone up at the Civic Center (a nice extra), you know where to find the party for the next few weeks.
Good thing, too. San Franciscans have embraced El Mundiale, especially those San Franciscans who have discovered to their great surprise that they have ancestors from all 32 countries and need to support every one of them:
“Boss! I can’t come to work today! It’s Ivory Coast-Japan! Gotta be there for my people!”
“Which ones are ‘your people?'”
“Both of them!”
“You said the same thing about Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
“They were my people too!”
“My people too! I came from all of them!”
“I did not know this, Mr. O’Reilly.”
The big screen is one nice little extra first introduced in the previous El Mundiale (however, the resolution is not great; you can’t read the score in the upper left). This year the City has upped its game, so to speak, and brought in even more extras. For example, you don’t have to just watch the game; you can play your own. Park and Rec dumped some old soccer balls onto the grassy areas (i.e., they don’t care if you take them home) and people have played among themselves. But if your preference runs to more organized events, you can join in some of the 4-on-4 street soccer games taking place opposite the big screen.
And behind the street soccer court? Five food trucks, offering goodies from around the world.
As you can see from the top photo, Nigeria-Iran did not attract more than a few hundred people. USA-Ghana followed, and that game drew rather more.
The crowd did not consist solely of American supporters.
Strangely enough, the City did not shut itself down for the games. Nor did our city’s citizens, who amazingly enough conducted their own business, even if that business consisted of a picnic stretching perhaps just a little bit longer than their regularly scheduled lunch hour.
And this couple! They got married during the games on 16 June!
Come on–where are their priorities?!
The USA-Ghana thriller ended just as I departed work, so I missed the exciting finish, but I caught some of the crowd.
And this picture comes from today’s Brazil-Mexico game. Notice anything different?
The fans are not segregated into sections and kept apart from each other. San Francisco has always had a huge mix of nationalities. There exists no good reason for disputing controversial referee calls with strangers because they might be your next door neighbors. The fact that the USA has arrived late on the international soccer scene probably has something to do with the peaceful scene.
And besides–it’s a party. Forget the squabbling and have some fun!
Vonn Scott Bair