Apparently there’s some or other soccer tournament thingie happening in Brazil right now, I dunno I don’t really watch soccer. I do know the following: the game is played with a round ball, which is lucky because the players have to use the foot (quite possibly the clumsiest part of the body) to maneuver said ball. It is a very popular sport, possibly the most popular of all sports. Some of the poorest countries in the world while hardly being able to feed their populations, have national soccer teams that partake in games against teams from other countries, including this current competition happening in Brazil. I think it’s the World Cup, or something along those lines of importance. It happens every four years, which is why (I think) people seem to be quite beside themselves about it. Every four years though, England (by contrast a relatively wealthy country, with a thriving league) make what is usually nothing more than a nominal appearence at this tournament. Also, a recent finding is that some of the best players like to take a real bite out of the opposition. I know these things about soccer, or football, or soccer-football 🙂 as some call it because I’m a guy and these are minimal salient points that ought to at the very least keep me in the loop in conversation at any braai or bar if that ever need be.
So I haven’t been following really. What I have and always do pay a lot of attention to, and unashamedly declare myself an armchair expert in, is the oval ball game, rugby. One of the first things I did when I found out I was coming down to Port Elizabeth was check if the there would be any games potentially good enough to go and watch at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Indeed the Springboks were due to play against Scotland, just a few weeks after my arrival. I booked my tickets, way in advance! 😀
Friday 27 June I was on call at the hospital again, I finished work at about 11am on Saturday and went back to the flat to get a couple of hours of sleep. At 4pm my phone rang, I answered, it was my friend Bennie “Mr Mukenge we’re downstairs” I was ecstatic (amped, even), but not quite ready, as is often the case with me. I got my things together and rushed down. Bennie, his wife Kim, and their daughter Serena were there to pick me up. Off we went the game!
There is something about going to see a live game. Perhaps it is the fact that every weekend (when I’m not on call that is ) we watch these guys, world class athletes on the television; we read about them in the newspaper; we go online and read the sports blogs and, now at a live game we get a chance to see them doing what they do in the flesh. Is that what it is? Yes, but no, not quite. Perhaps it is the atmosphere, and the fact that you’re with your friends and thousands of other people you don’t know but at least half of whom have your team in common with you? Perhaps it is the way your team makes you feel when they’re doing well, or when their backs are against the wall and they manage to get back into the game? Or when they don’t do well. Those raw emotions that one goes through are amplified when it is a live experience. It is a combination of all of the above I imagine…
This little city really knows how to turn up, it was a capacity crowd, just about. And it was a good game despite being somewhat one-sided in favour of South Africa. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I know. We stood proudly for the singing of the national anthem. All of us except Bennie, who was outside in the queue for beer. A man must have his priorities… 😛 The game got under way and Kim asked with a very earnest expression on her face “Why can’t I hear the commentators?” I had a good giggle at that! At one point I stood up with my hands in the air to add my contribution to the passing Mexican wave, and sat down to find that yet another try had been scored by the Boks, and I had missed it! I have since decided to forgo that frivolous distraction of an activity. Why do they call it a ‘Mexican’ wave anyway..?
55-6 is not a score line to be scoffed at methinks. We walked out of the stadium with the rest of the PE faithful quite satisfied with the result.
We made our way to Stanley street and had sushi at Fushin. I’m not very keen on sushi but Bennie and Serena are, they were in their element! I’m also not really one to take pictures of food but there you are..!
Good times, good people! Oh yeah and, what’s happening in Brazil again?!