Being in a country when their world cup team is doing well is electrifying. The majority of the people are excited. They are happier than usual, and the feeling of hope and wonder is almost palpable. There is a huge growth of patriotism as everyone is sporting their country’s colors. They have face paintings of the flag, or flags hanging from all manner of personal homes, businesses, street lights, clothes lines, etc. The jersey of the team becomes one of the most sought commodities. People are out playing soccer between matches, and they easily converse with anyone who will listen about the team, its matches, and the prospects upcoming. The country will put on elaborate events to show the games and bring people together.
When in Italy as their team won the world cup, the circus maximus had three gargantuan screens set up, and it seemed that everyone in the city had come to watch the final game. As we got out of the subway, the entire crowd started chanting their theme song for the competition. The energy of the crowd and the air was amazing, and every play was met with gasps, cheers, jeers, and generally good-willed support for their heroes. After they won the match there were parties through the streets of the city and it was not until 4:00 the next morning that people finally stopped blowing their horns in jubilation. My friend described the cheer and swimming in the Trevi fountain. Similarly, in Costa Rica, parties abounded after the matches that they won. People became excited when you showed the slightest interest in the World Cup, and the jerseys went from an average of $10USD to $50 when I got one of the last ones at what someone said was a great deal. People opened their homes to me so that I could join them to watch the games. In each country, the good will and good feelings that came out of the excitement of their teams doing well created a very wonderful atmosphere. It brought out the best in the people, and the jerseys I have remind me of that while being great sports shirts.