I was at the neighborhood market today and everyone who worked there wanted to talk to me about the World Cup. Folks at the market know that I am from the US, so this is a natural topic of conversation. The US tied their hardest match in an otherwise easy (relatively of course) group. And since the US historically has been so pathetic in football, it is the one sphere in which I sometimes root for the imperium.
I will be leaving for the US next week and my only regret is not being able to be in a football-mad country for the rest of the tournament. Even if, as in the case of Egypt, they themselves did not qualify. I guess to be in a country that not only cared, but was also playing would be ideal.
Part of this is self-interest because, like having a baby, football is ready-made conversation piece. It provides endless opportunities to practice my Arabic. The city is the water cooler, and everyone wants to talk about whatever matches were played the day before.