“Campeoooones, campeoooones, olé olé olé!!!”
Last night my village went on fire. My tiny, little Spanish village turned into a hotspot for celebrating the Spanish World Cup victory with all the passion required. I believe I may even have turned Spanish for a minute or two.
My 5 year old daughter suddenly woke up after having asked seven million times “is it still zero – zero?” Once Iniesta scored she started singing “Españaaaa! whilst running to get her pencils to draw the Spanish flag. My football crazy 8 year old son was praising the players, talking about them as if they were close family members. My neighbour had by then turned euphoric in her cava induced celebrations and started passing grilled octopus from her roof top terrace to mine. In return I gave them some freshly baked chocolate cake, and there was enough fire works and party spirit to go around the block twenty times.
So I get it. Football is fun. It’s pure passion and it achieved what nothing else has managed to do during my six years as an expat. I felt it. The pride, the glory, the essence. We all felt it – even my Gibraltarian husband. And that says a lot for someone who’s been brought up to dislike everything Spain represents due to political tensions between Gibraltar and Spain. But yesterday was not about political tension. It was about talent and football. (Although I spent the first half wondering if Holland had made a mistake and put their rugby team on the pitch…)
Three minutes before the match culminated in penalty shoot outs we won. WE! Iniesta and his colleagues, the Queen of Spain who danced to the victory, the electricians down the road who have been hosting BBQ’s on their roof top during every Spanish match, the waiters at our local bar who’ve changed their white uniforms for Spanish strips, us guys in number 8 where the Spanish blood is limited to our two cats. And our wonderful neighbour won.
She has faced a serious illness in 2010. She’s suffered and spent lots of time in hospital. But yesterday she regained her vitality. She was the same old source of bubbliness and laughter as before the disease. So although I am still as far from a football fan as Columbus was from India when he believed to have found it, I praise Spain for last night’s victory. They deserved to win. My neighbour deserved to be obliviously happy. My kids deserved to feel Spanish. My husband deserved to forget the political burden, and I have taken a step closer to my new homeland because I have shared their passion. VIVA LA ROJA!
PS: Excuse the picture quality… they were shot with the only camera available at the time – my son’s green compact.