Eileen Dahill/Minnesota

I could not get into a pub, bar, or movie theater to watch the USA team play Germany for the FIFA World Cup match. There was some fierce loyalty in German fans at the pub. Not everyone is rooting for team USA.


My pub, my local was packed in silence. Each booth a confessional. A bartender gave me a quiet nod. It was like watching a golf game or tennis match. The crowd gave subdued collective “Ewws” or “Ahhs”. The pub I love to step into in the maw of our long winter to thaw out suddenly seemed hot, muggy, and stifled. The owner asked me politely to move. (I thought I was wedged into a secure spot.) I left. Oddly, there were only 14 establishments in the city publicized as hosting the World Cup and one was across the street. I even had a stool and brought my mom. But suddenly at 4:00 p.m. the narrow bar flooded with people coming from work. I could see my mom felt nervous so off we trot to the neighborhood theater which was also hosting the game. There was just a few minutes left but admissions wanted us to pay the full price. I was foiled 3 times from watching the World Cup match and caught the replays online. I chat a bit on Facebook with my cousin’s wife (Helena) in Brisbane, Australia who gets up in the middle of the night to watch the matches.

In Minnesota we call it soccer. We have “soccer moms”. We wonder why EVERYONE cries. We don’t understand why athletes exchange jerseys at the end of the game. There are discussions on the lack of professional cheerleaders and mascots. (Professional cheerleaders in Minnesota have long hair, wear boots, and wave pom-poms for our teams.)

The image of men in professional team sports etched in our brains is one of Goliaths and not the lithe World Cup players. We have Norse demi-gods playing hockey, fierce gladiators tackling each other in football, and tall combatants playing basketball. That is our vision of a professional athlete. We have warrior names like the Vikings or Timberwolves.

My mom and I and only about other 10 people watch the Brazil-Columbia match the next day at the bar. It is a three day holiday weekend for the USA which includes our Independence Day. After surviving our harsh winter it seems everyone has left town to camp or visit a cabin ‘up north’. But is a cheery atmosphere in the bar as one woman is from Brazil and brought her husband and three children to the bar. We cheer when she cheers but we don’t cry when she is crying. She takes her three bored children home at half-time to “Calm down” and comes back and really lets it rip. I think she is saying “More passion! More passion!” Her hands are twisting her Brazil Jersey. She is standing and crying and her knees begin to buckle. We are a little worried about her in our subdued Minnesotan manner. Her husband assures us with a quick lift of his hand that this is the Brazilian norm of his attractive wife. We are so happy for her that Brazil wins. We cry tears of relief!