Growing Up Screaming “GOOOOOL!”
By: Gelsey Brizo
With both the Euro Cup and the Copa America (two major soccer tournaments) being held this summer, I thought it appropriate to write about my favorite sport – soccer, or football as the rest of the world calls it. Similar to how American football is ingrained into American culture, soccer is an integral part of my heritage and the culture I grew up in. My mother and father are Peruvian and Honduran, respectively, and they both grew up surrounded by soccer. My father played soccer all his life, even in college, and he was the coach of the girls soccer team at my school for a few years. My mother can literally watch soccer all day. When Euro Cup and Copa America games were broadcast on the same day, she would watch all 5 games in a row and love them all. Mind you, soccer matches are 90 minutes plus whatever extra time the referee aolots. It’s no wonder that both of them share a passion and a love for the sport, and that love is definitely contagious.
My little sister and I both grew up watching soccer and we both played when we were in middle and high school. We absolutely love the sport and there is no way we would ever miss a major match, especially when our favorite teams are playing. But we don’t just love the sport. For my family, soccer is so much more. Soccer is family and a sense of community. When your team wins, you all cheer together, and if they lose, you all cry together, too.
I remember a few years ago when the World Cup was taking place, we had a little family viewing party for one of the major Brazil matches. We had some of my uncles, aunts, and cousins come over, as well as my grandmothers, and while we were eating and watching the game our cable went out. Everyone freaked out because it was in the middle of a Brazilian offensive attack and we were all trying to think of how we would be able to watch the rest of the game. For some reason, the cable hadn’t gone out in the living room television only the dinning room television and when my mother discovered this she called everyone over. We all migrated over to the living room to continue watching the game, but then it went out in the living room as well. From then on, most of the evening was filled with my family moving back and forth from the dinning room TV to the living room TV whenever the cable went out in one of them, like a little line of ducklings following behind their mother. My sister and I had realized we wouldn’t be able to watch the game well on the TV so we pulled out our handy dandy smart phones and started to watch the game on the ESPN app. If you thought the running back and forth from TV to TV was funny, imagine 5 to 6 adults crowding around your little iphone screen in order to watch a soccer game. It was a pretty hysterical night, to say the least, and it was made even better after Brazil, one of our favorite teams, won the match.
Much like people get together for Super Bowl Sunday, my family gets together for soccer season. It’s the prime time for good food, good company and good times. Even though my favorite team, Germany, already got eliminated from the Euro Cup, and I won’t be able to be home for the final, I know that this Sunday will still be full of cheering, multiple phone calls from my mom to comment on how the game is going, and getting to watch great players give it their all in the final game of this huge tournament. Even if family is far away, I can still feel the same spirit of community and passion when I watch soccer because I know they’re watching, too. All I have to do is give them a call to know what they think of the game and share in their joy or frustration about the outcome. But, of course, nothing really beats being there in person. Thankfully, with all the soccer games I’ve been forcing my roommates to watch with me this summer, they seem to have developed a liking for the sport rather than an annoyance for my constant yelling at the TV screen. Which is fantastic because all sports, in my opinion, are more fun to watch with multiple people. Even with people you don’t really know, getting to share in the enthusiasm of cheering for a team you both love is almost magical.
So this Sunday when the summer of soccer comes to a close with the Euro Cup final, which team will you be rooting for? Will Portugal pull off the upset against the host nation, France? Or will the French claim the honor of being able to lift the cup in their own home? Whoever ends up winning, it is sure to be a final that keeps everyone on edge and anxiously waiting for their team to make the winning goal. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what language you speak, no words can describe the elation and exhilaration you feel when your team manages to put the ball in the back of the net and the announcer screams, “GOOOOOOOOOL!” So, may the best team win.
About the Author:
Gelsey Brizo. A senior at the University of Florida pursuing a degree in English. Born and raised in Miami, Florida she speaks both English and Spanish fluently and loves to watch and play soccer. A book fanatic who enjoys to read and write, she can’t go a day without a cup of coffee, a good read or her favorite music.