So to catch up on events of last week (which was a terribly hectic week!), we wanted to tell you about our first World Cup experience.
As you probably know, most Americans don’t watch the World Cup. To be honest, I was like, “Isn’t that rugby or something?” (Whit and my new roomie Chris have started a quotebook of ridiculous Lindsay-isms on World Cup soccer. They either think it’s either hilarious or hilariously scary.)
I was never a soccer fan, though I did at one time in my youth have an awesome pink soccer ball, which I think I used as a basketball, my preferred sport. In high school, I went to a few games, but only for the eye candy, if you know what I mean.
So, needless to say, to be in a country where soccer is extremely popular and the World Cup is more than a 15-second news clip in the middle of the night, has really been eye-opening for me.
And, most surprisingly, I LOVE it. I never realized soccer was so fun to watch. I have gotten into every game I I have watched so far. I have rooted for the U.S. and dressed up in Korea gear to cheer for my adopted home.
Across the country, the Korea games are aired on huge outdoor big screens in parks, stadiums, restaurants, bars and city halls. We are lucky enough to live near (or I should say “squat” near) Gwangju’s World Cup Stadium, built for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. Normally, it’s a place where I go to shop, eat Dunkin Donuts, and go jogging, but last week, it transformed completely into the stadium it was meant to be.
Thousands, and I mean, literally, thousands, of red-clad fans piled into the stadium (free of charge, of course! This is Korea!) to watch the game on the big screen. They had already had a strong showing in their first game, and now they were up againsnt Argentina, one of the strongest in the World Cup.
So Whit and I bought some T-shirts, a little Korean flag, a scarf, and some devil horns (Korea “Red Devils”) to wear and headed on down to the stadium.
Needless to say, I walked into the most lively stadium I’ve seen in my whole life. Fans screaming, fireworks bursting overhead, and every seat in that stadium filled. I had goosebumps just experiencing it.
Korea didn’t win this game, but they did score a goal, which was reason enough for another round of fireworks.
I couldn’t believe it, but this was the most fun sporting event I had ever been to. And no one was even on the field (the PITCH, Whit and Chris say, correcting me).
Tonight Korea plays again, against Nigeria. It will be on at 3:30 in the morning. We’re currently out of town, traveling and enjoying life in and around our province. But we plan to try and get up and watch it.
Until next time, Dae Ha Min Guk!!! (Go Korea!)