For the past few weeks I have been watching the World Cup with interest. What I enjoy the most isn’t so much the competition between two teams but rather the camera shots of the crowd. The fans in attendance appear to be having an absolute blast.
The World Cup is similar to the Olympic Games in that fans from many different countries arrive en mass to support their team. For 90 minutes the crowd screams, whistles, bang drums, and sing in one massive a cappella voice. They jump in unison and dance as if choreographed, all in the spur of the moment. They arrive to the stadium in vivid face paint and unique costumes complete with props. How they pack some of the costumes in their luggage is a mystery.
With all the drama in the world that tends to separate one human from another (including drama from FIFA), the World Cup games provide at least 90 minutes where people can come together for a common cause. Granted there are two teams, each with their own set of fans but there are times when even the opposing supporters come together as one, like when the crowd wave begins and circumnavigates the stadium.
I particularly enjoy listening to the play-by-play announcing teams. Because soccer is not as popular in the U.S. as in other countries, the team of announcers hail from outside the U.S. and do not seem to be burdened by the same constraints on what is considered politically correct speech. As such, they will pretty much say anything and at times this freedom leads to hysterically funny statements.
Without a doubt the players are talented. Each match is full of strategy, skill, and stamina. However, it is the diversity of the audience and the cultural pride usually on display that I find most entertaining. I do root for teams, usually the underdog in the match who is not supposed to win. Fortunately (or unfortunately) this is normally the U.S. team so it works out. But the truth is, it is the crowd I’m cheering for.