One Game Changes Everything
Every newspaper you open has feature sections on it. Am I talking about the Detroit Tigers season so far? Nope, it’s the World Cup, and it’s everywhere you look! At least outside of the United States, here in Hong Kong.
The game is simple, 22 players, 11 on each team, try to kick a ball into a net repeatedly over the course of 90 minutes. The entire world, subtract the U.S.A., goes absolutely crazy for this game. Coverage in the newspapers, on TV, and around the town has really painted the picture of just how big of an event this thing is. Our hotel lobby even has a score breakdown poster for it. Everywhere you go, any time of day, the matches are on TV, live. Whether it’s on a huge screen in a shopping district, or on the LCDs down in the subway, people are always standing and watching.
People here in China complain about the World Cup. They love it; don’t get me wrong. But their team failed to qualify. In a country of more than 1.3 billion people, the Chinese complain how they can’t recruit 11 players to field a decent team, yet somehow North Korea was able to do it. Regardless, China is full of fans. They range from rooting for the Germans, to the Spanish, even to the U.S.A.
During our time at CCTV we watched as the crew sat up the huge studio for the special World Cup show. Simply turning on the TV at any time of the day, one can witness World Cup news. Would you ever get this in the United States? I don’t think so. Granted, this year’s World Cup started while I was over here.
The coolest part of being here in Hong Kong for the cup is seeing the huge amount of foreign fans from all parts of the world. Dominic and I went down to the local pub, actually a street full of sports bars, to watch the latest U.S.A. game. Walking into an American 60’s-themed bar we looked up at the screen confused as the U.S. was not displayed. “Your game’s on over there,” a women shouts pointing across the street. Inside the bar across the way was pandemonium. In one section was the England v. Slovenia game, another the
U.S. v. Algeria game. England supports rallied behind their team cheering them on to victory. On the other side of the pub, people of all backgrounds were watchingthe Americans play. We meet some other students studying here in Hong Kong, a businessman from the east coast, and someone from Ohio! Cheering loudly, the place got tense as the U.S. entered overtime 0-0. Soon the U.S. scored a goal in the 91st minute to win it, the place went absolutely nuts. People emptied from pubs up and down the street, horns going off, high fives everywhere. Chats of U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A. went up and down the block. This was by far a great experience for a U.S.A. fan, one that I hope the entire nation will share with us, soon.
P.S. If you get some time, watch the U.S.A. play Ghana on Sunday the 27th at 2:30 PM our time, or 2:30 AM back home! Let’s go USA!