I have always been a fan of sporting events. Attending games with my family and friends. From the insane fans to the dazzling theatrics, sports have always provided an exciting experience. It can bring people from varying regions, races, and creeds together for a common purpose. The United States has the Super Bowl, the World Series, March Madness, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup, and many other examples. I always thought that the United States embodied these moments better than any other country. Until now.
I recently had the pleasure of watching a 2014 World Cup match between Costa Rica and Uruguay with my tico friends and family this past Saturday, June 14. Uruguay is a team that has more experience than Costa Rica and is ranked higher according to the FIFA World Rankings. Should be interesting. So we decided to enjoy the futbol (soccer) match from a local bar in downtown Coco. Cervesa was flowing. Emotions were high. The game begins. Then came the lluvia (rain).
We experienced torrential downpour in a bar with no roof. Women ran for cover. Most men remained in place and stood stoically in the rain. The game was on…we were going nowhere. This forced the bar to open a venue downstairs. The rain, it would seem, ended up being a blessing in disguise. Downstairs included a satellite projection that was large enough to cover the entire wall. Far larger then the television we were using before. We were back in business. Drenched. Tipsy. With smiles all-around.
That’s when the miracle began. Costa Rica scored! GOAL! Inexhaustible cheers. Hugs. Kisses. Chanting. Enemies became friends. The entire country of Costa Rica became one. We began repeatedly chanting, “Ole…ole, ole, ole…ticos…ticos.” Pounding on tables. Many more cervesas consumed. A few mojitos. Shots were “forced” down exponentially. Everyone was simply embracing and savoring the moment. Chanting resumed. Most began to surpass the tipsy stage. This continued for two more goals until…VICTORY! Costa Rica, a small Central American nation with a minor World Cup pedigree came from behind to beat the 2010 World Cup semifinalist Uruguay 3–1. Unbelievable.
I cannot help but compare this experience to American sports. Sure we have some fierce rivalries and superb sporting events. None of them, however, measure up to the passion and sheer insanity of the World Cup. Especially when seen from a country (outside of the United States) that is deeply dedicated and emotionally invested in a team that is representing their homeland. Fighting for global honor and, ideally, eventual supremacy. I was be simply amazed. One of the best nights of my life.