Even footbal haters like myself, we can’t get past it : The mundial is almost starting.
In Belgium Footbal is the national sport, everyone plays or at least, watches it. The fact that Belgium plays really bad does not seem to matter at all. At every mundial or every UEFA, Belgians seem to think the Red Devils (that is how they are called) will make it to the finals. Only once in Belgian history they made it to the quarter finals. Mexico 1986. (Even I know that date). When there is football on TV, everyone watches it. At least all the men do. It is the only time in the year that the men will not loose hold of the remote. National games, international games, Belgium playing or Belgium not playing. It does not matter. And if belgium is out, they get themselves another favourite. But this is nothing compared to what is going on here in Argentina.
I am very non-Belgian in this, and having a husband who is not interested either, I really know nothing about football. So when my ‘personal’ (i.e. personal trainer) asked me a few months ago if Belgium is participating in this mundial, I couldn’t answer him. I didn’t even know there was a mundial coming. He looked at me in disbelief. When I asked him where the mundial will take place, he was even more surprised. Fortunately for me, I could not read his mind at that moment.
Here it seems ever present, it is mentioned everywhere; and it seems like all the adds in the streets have changed into something that has to do with the mundial. I saw the crasiest things. You can even buy a certain TV, and if Argentina wins the mundial you get your money back! If you don’t already own a TV, this is defenitely the time to buy one! Even products that have nothing to do with the mundial now use it in their adds.
So when I started noticing the adds in the streets, all related to this footbal-mania, I realised the big day was approaching, so I asked the expert (my ‘personal’) when it will start, and he answered without hesitating “in 9 days”. OMG! Is he actually counting the days!!!???!! I could not believe my ears, but it was not until a few days later when I was watching the news in a restaurant (we have no TV), that I saw that there is a countdown on the screen! The Argentines are defenitely more footbalcrasy then the Belgians, and probably the most crasy in the world. But why is that so??
Is it ‘something cultural’? Is it, as the Frenchman said : “ils ne jouent pas avec ses jambes, ils jouent avec le coeur, avec le coeur!” (They don’t play with their legs, they play with their heart.)?
There is definitely something more to it, as it seems that by law, every Argentine is alowed to watch the games in which Argentina plays, even during working hours. Kids don’t have class. Everyone has a right to watch Argentina play. Will this mean that all public life stops when Argentina is on?
Argentina plays this Saturday against Nigeria. I am almost sorry I will be out of town. Will try to keep you posted though!