Growing up I used to fake an interest in baseball. It was a necessity as I was born and raised in the Boston area. Not being a Red Sox fan was tantamount to telling your family that you hated everything they stood for. So, I pretended to like baseball, and I maintained this lie all the way up through University.
It took a lot of courage but I finally came out to my dad one evening over beers. “There’s something I have to tell you. It’s a pretty big secret and I’ve been holding it in for a long time. I can’t do this anymore.”
My father looked at me over the top of his glass with a squinty look of speculation. “What, you’re gay?”
This is the standard question my father asks anytime you have to unload a topic. “No, I’m not gay. But I am supportive of those who are gay,” which is my standard response and always merits an eye-roll. When he found out the best man at my wedding was my gay roommate he only responded with, “Way to ruin your special day for all the bridesmaids.” You can’t choose your family.
Returning back to the main point: “Ok, you’re not gay. What is it this time? You decided you like chick flicks more than comedies?”
Point of fact – I love chick flicks. I do. Anyway.
“I don’t like baseball. I like to play it, I like to have a good catch with my friends, but I don’t really care about following it. I enjoy watching if its on TV but aside from that I’m not a big baseball fan. To be completely honest, I like soccer. Soccer is by far my favorite sport to watch.”
“Wow. Is this because of your wife? She’s a fan of communist sports?”
I think it’s important to express that my father is a real old school Bostonian.
Now, with that backstory in place – This is the best time of the year! World Cup! All these amazing qualifier games, all of these teams and nations coming together and watching the games. I love it. Absolutely love it. There is a camaraderie you get when you watch World Cup games with friends and strangers at the bar. I’ve already made so many new memories with people that I otherwise wouldn’t chat with. Pride in your country, in your nation is an amazing thing. Some people feel it during the 4th of July or Memorial Day. I feel it during the World Cup.