Last night, I was a spectator at the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals soccer match, where the U.S. battled Honduras, and Mexico faced off against Costa Rica. The experience was nothing short of exciting. The U.S. played first, and though the game was slow most of the way through, America managed to pull off two impressive goals to take the win 2-0. The Mexico/Costa Rica game was made infinitely better by the enthusiasm of the crowd. While neither team could manage to score until the very end of the game, the crowd kept spirits up with their shouts of encouragement, the wave, and chucking half full beer cups at the opposing players. It was a nice little taste of what I'll be seeing a year from now in South Africa at the World Cup.
I will be the first to admit that I am not exactly a soccer enthusiast. I appreciate the sport--hell my 50-year-old dad still plays every Sunday--and I enjoy a good match just as much as the next person. Needless to say, my soccer-crazed friends are extremely jealous of my fortune in getting to witness a World Cup, and are probably justified in their angered emotions that someone who barely knows the rules of the game gets this privilege. But nonetheless, I am off to South Africa in less than a year, and I can't wait!
The soccer game last night just sparked a fire in me, and next June cannot come soon enough. It won't just be the soccer games that I'll be anxious to see, but I'll be venturing to a country, a continent, I've never visited. There is so much to see and do, and I only have a couple weeks to accomplish it all. Going to the beaches in Durban--the city we're staying in,--going on a safari in the desert, visiting Victoria Falls, treking through the rainforests, etc. The list goes on and I'm sure it will only grow. What is truly exciting is to be in the host country where such an exciting tournament that brings the whole world together will be played. The atmosphere alone is enough to get even the most lathargic person up off their couches and dancing in the streets--or bars.
If the fans at last night's match were any indication of what's to come, I am sure in for a wild time in Africa.