June 12th, 2014 – Pedernales
Today the group chose to carpe diem (not Spanish…) and exploit the obvious fact that we were in South America during the World Cup: Brasil 2014 by travelling to the far off town of Pedernales to watch the worshiped sport that evening. Up to this point, I hadn’t developed much of an interest in the world’s most popular game. Or any sport for that matter. But in the moments leading up to the game, I vicariously viewed all the fans and witnessed the sheer dedication plastered upon their faces as they whole-heartedly cheered for their team. It made me wish that I could have been there for the first game, raging in the stands and donating every fiber of my existence to the noise that would be lost in the roar of the crowd. The identity of the Brazilian and Croatian fans would cease to matter as the excitement for the kick-off piqued. And then they began.
Now to be completely honest, I fell asleep during this game. But it was only because of unrelated reasons that were due to my own personal sleep deprivation combined with the all-too-cozy warmth of the equator that lulled my mind into a peaceful slumber. I did, however, maintain my consciousness enough to view all four goals scored during the game. Each goal increased the fanaticism of every single patron of the restaurant, as if they had each personally scored the goal themselves. Their souls were completely committed to sharing the excitement and disappointment of their South American brethren (let’s be honest, all of Ecuador was cheering for one side). I couldn’t help but be whisked into all of it. I even took part in some of the jeering and bashing of the opposing team. “Brazil is so good that they had to score the other team’s goal for them,” I yelled across the over-anxious sea of people who came to this bar. I now understand why fútbol is the number one sport of the world. This is something I just might carry home with me.