I have a confession.
I know almost nothing about soccer.
I know I should. I know as a diplomat, I will spend most of my career in places where football involves a round, black and white ball. So I should know more about it.
In my defense, there were no soccer teams where I grew up. No way to play it. No way to watch it. Football meant something else entirely.
I have been trying to learn more, as my colleagues have been so enthralled with the world cup. I have even watched a little, and have been trying to get my wife, who played the game as a kid, to explain something to me. But I am still not much further along than my cousin's explanation: ball. net. kick ball into net.
But today, I had a pretty awesome soccer moment.
My grants class (please give me pencils to poke out my eyes) let out at 11:30 for lunch, and I headed over the the FSI cafeteria to eat. The cafeteria was full, and all those TVs I thought only played BNET (the State Department channel) or CNN were on Univision.
All eyes were transfixed on the game, USA vs. Algeria.
I grabbed a soda and a seat figuring there was nothing else to do but watch too, since it was too hot to eat outside and no one was talking. It is the quietest I have ever seen the FSI cafeteria.
Except when Team USA was doing well, and you could hear the pitch rise a bit. Or when the Algerians did something we didn't like, when there was a sort of muttering in unison.
And then it happened.
Team USA scored the only goal of the game!
Everyone was on their feet as the cafeteria erupted in cheers.
And then, in unision, these folks who have all devoted their lives to the service of the country, started chanting: USA! USA!
Okay, except for the Arabic teachers from Algeria.
I admit I got a little teary eyed (I do at the national anthem too...what can I say?).
It was a pretty good place to be today.
Oh, and for you more junior officers out there, particularly the one taking cable writing today: if you miss a bit of class, just walk back in and say nothing. Your instructor will forget pretty quickly that you were late. But whatever you do, don't whisper to your instructor, who would have rather been watching the game, that USA won 1-0. He'll remember you, and that you were late, and not in a good way!