The last month at Love & Hope Children’s Home was filled with soccer. Soccer at the park, soccer in the yard, and of course, soccer on television. We had a blast watching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil together.
For those of you reading in the United States, think about how excited Americans are for the Olympics, Superbowl or the World Series. Then, multiply that excitement by about 100 and make it last for over a month. That is El Salvador during the World Cup. And to think, El Salvador didn’t even have a team represented in Brazil!
Love & Hope Children’s Home was no exception to the countrywide (more like worldwide) enthusiasm for futbol. On the day of the first match, the Love & Hope kids arrived home from school buzzing. They couldn’t wait to watch Brazil play Croatia. Their excitement was only matched by that of the caregivers, some who stayed after their shifts so that they wouldn’t lose time traveling home and miss the start of the match. We decorated the dining room with flags and the teams in each group and our neighbor restaurant, La Herradura, donated pizza for lunch. We also put up a world map to locate the country of each team. We asked the kids on one poster, “Who will be the world champion?” Someone wrote in “Jesus” first, and then everyone else filled in their predictions.
We continued to watch one match per day. The Love & Hope kids mainly cheered for Brazil and Argentina throughout the entire World Cup. Central America’s own Honduras and Costa Rica were our other favorites. The Americans at Love & Hope, of course, were very excited for every USA match, but the kids seemed to find some fun in ganging up against the “gringos” and cheering in favor of whichever team the United States was playing. Still, we were grateful that our friend, Kris, donated pizza for the first USA match.
The World Cup was everywhere. Jerseys and towels were sold on every street corner. Every item in the grocery store had some kind of World Cup advertisement ploy. Everywhere we went, people were sporting the jersey of their favorite team. Big screens, World Cup soccer ball displays and fuse-ball tables at the mall. Soccer competitions at school. Advertisements for FIFA all over the television. Shakira’s World Cup song, “La La La” blasting everywhere.
Last Sunday, we enjoyed watching the final match together: Argentina versus Germany. Almost everyone was in favor of Argentina; our kids love Lionel Messi. At the most crucial part of the game, our cable went out! Before we could get it the game back up, the restaurant across the street erupted in cheering. Many of the kids ran outside, craning their necks to see over our wall and get a look at the televisions across the street. They came back reporting that Germany had scored. We got the cable back on to see the rest of the game, but most of us were disappointed in the outcome. Next time, Argentina!
Experiencing the World Cup through the eyes of the Love & Hope kids was so fun. They loved every minute of it! Did your family watch the World Cup? Who did you cheer for?