Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup Fever in My Neighborhood

Anyone who lives in any town that is ethnically diverse would have to be living under a rock to not know that the World Cup is fully underway. In my neighborhood, I have observed first-hand the "euphoria mixed with madness" of these soccer fans. I knew right away when it took me half an hour to make the measly left turn onto my street after work...

This phenomena was very amusing to watch from my car so I just had to go out with my camera and get some footage of the mayhem later in the evening. My goal was also to gain some insight into this event. Here's what makes this story so interesting. It is currently Round ONE and there is a huge victory parade going on in my neighborhood because Italy has won their FIRST game. They have beaten Ghana, who is in their World Cup debut. In other words then, Ghana has NEVER taken part in the World Cup...yet a victory over them is cause for MAJOR celebration here. In fact, this celebration has been going on since the game ended, at what I can gather was about 4:30, and I'm told will continue into the night. I was also told by two young girls on the street that this will happen even if Italy loses. You gotta love that! (P.S. Just went out to my balcony at 10pm, still some horn-honking, but it has now died down considerably compared to earlier at 9pm)

There are cars draped with flags, people draped with flags, some of them with no shirts on and running down the street, everyone honking their horns and going up and down this one main street of my little neighborhood.

There's a small Honda civic that has made it's way around about 3 times from what I can tell. This car, I swear, has had about 20 kids piled in and ON it, from the hood to the trunk. This kid's sideview mirror apparently got knocked off, was dangling and threatening to come off completely. He then made all the other kids get off his car. Get this: He looked a little ticked about the situation. Ummmmm, yeah, when you've got 20 kids draped on your car, with flag poles coming out from the inside, left, right and center, some damage is bound to occur... Einstein. It's your fault for happily allowing it, so get over it. Besides, a little Duct Tape and you're good as new. They even make invisible Duct Tape now. Try it. I have, and it works great, especially in the summer.

There are crazy fans who stop any car that drives by with a flag from another country. And by "stop", I mean, they have a car, generally a very long pickup truck of some sort, waiting in one of the side parking lots pull out and block the intersection. They mock them, fake moon them - i.e. pants don't come down (what's with the fake moon?) and I also observed one guy who spilled beer on one of these cars. Now, you can argue both sides of this situation:

Take the man sitting beside me on the bench for example (both of us with camera in hand, i.e. observers, not par-takers), his opinion was: "They shoulda hava fun, but thatsa too much. Itsa okay to hava fun, but thatsa too much."

I say, "True, but anyone who drives through here should be smart enough to know within seconds what's going on and maybe they should TAKE DOWN THEIR FLAG temporarily. In my opinion, they're just asking for it." It would be the equivalent of going to a Philadelphia Eagles game, in Philly, with a Dallas Cowboys jersey and your face painted that ugly navy Blue and Silver. YOU JUST DON'T DO THAT...unless you wish to provoke some trouble (in which case, your wish will be granted...especially in Philly or apparently, any World Cup Soccer celebration too!!) - P.S. I'm an Eagles Fan.

At about 8:45pm two cops drive down the street, no siren, but they have their lights flashing. I think, okay, maybe the horn-honking will stop. NO, it continues. Apparently, the cops were there only to observe the mayhem too.

To close off, here's one of the very few things I like about living in Toronto. There is a lot of ethnic pride here. And here's what I love about living in my particular neighborhood in Toronto: These people are crazy, yes, they're a bit over the top, yes, but who doesn't love their roots? I love to watch that kind of pride. Although I am not Italian, I can identify with the sheer joy of being proud of one's heritage. I am proud of mine. And if we ever even make it to the World Cup, I will be buying a flag, draping it on my car and honking my horn too (just not in this neighborhood, of course)!! I might not do it in ROUND ONE...but nonetheless, I would do it. Because why not be happy about something regarding the country where you came from? - most of us came from somewhere, right? ... and also, it's fun.

The other thing I love is that my neighborhood is quaint. And it's not quaint because it's trying to be quaint. It just is. There's a donut shop across the street, called "The Donut Shop" (how creative), and it has a liquor license. I think their main sales come from the sale of beer, not donuts, but whatever. That's what makes it interesting. The sidewalks are made of brick, and they are uneven, the Drug store is not a brand name drug store. There is a small barber shop down the street, where little old men hang out in the front. The thing is a shack, but as you drive by, you can tell that this is a place where people congregate and pass their days and tell stories. The barber may likely not make a lot of money, but he has made a life that he enjoys (and really, what's more important?)

There are so many other things I like about the neighborhood where I live, but don't let me bore you with that. At the end of the day, I think that no matter where you live, what your life entails, what trauma you went through today, last year, or anytime in the past, there are always things that you can look at and say, "Wow, that part about it was great, wasn't it?"

Like the Italy soccer fans who will celebrate........ even when they lose.


Post a Comment

<< Home