Pinky Pie

The World Cup & Me

Posted on: June 14, 2010

This photo taken on that day, but possibly still in Austria or Lichtenstein shows me with a band of musical folks that we spotted one day. My dad's caption was, "Susan makes friends everywhere." I think this was a long suffering photo op, the kind I would definitely do to my kids.

It’s only been 44 years since I last paid attention to the World Cup.  I’ve been busy since then.

We happened to be in Europe (yes I was spoiled/lucky) in 1966 when the world’s biggest sporting event in the world was held in England. I think we were amused that outside of the United States, soccer was called football.

On July 30 1966, my mother’s trip diary showed we had been to four countries that day of the final match.

Here’s what she wrote:

4-Country day: new record – great day! Drove Zurich to Lichtenstein – run by Baron Von [she left this blank spot] – real promoter. Sue called him Baron Von  “Moneymaker” – tourist  shops, etc., us, too! Through Austria to spend night in Lindahl, lovely small German town! Got last room in town  – large, 16 x 16, 4 beds – real togetherness!!!  Hilarious – a real lark!“

Our family being Jewish and it being just two decades since the end of World War II, Mom never wanted to go into Germany, East or West.  Somehow, Dad talked her into this brief trip and then we had that getting-a-place-to-stay challenge. She was comfortable enough during that short visit that she was willing to g back for a longer visit to Germany the next year.

The next day, we were on our way back through Austria. Mom’s diary noted,

“Hurray! England won World Cup. Beat Germany 4-2 in overtime. Heard news in Germany – exulted quietly – til we were over the border!”

We also may have gone into Germany because we had some extra time on our hands. Five U.S. Airlines – United, Transworld, Northwest, Eastern and National – all went all on strike July 8 that year. We flew to Europe on PanAm and eventually got a flight back on Swiss Air.

I must say that we did enjoy watching soccer while we were there and the World Cup was going on. But the family of my youth in St. Louis was more interested in being Cardinals baseball fans and following my brother Andy’s high school basketball games.

When I had kids, sports did not stick much. Maggie loved and played tennis, but Michael was not interested.

We did introduce him to soccer as a 4 year old, but he told me, “I don’t want to quit soccer. I want to skip soccer.  The only kind of soccer I like is skip soccer.”

I understood why he felt that way. Michael went to a childcare center from the time he was a little guy. One of the most important messages that they gave kids was to share.

Sharing is not a soccer value. Players steal the ball and don’t take turns. Michael then and now has a strong sense of justice.

So am I watching the World Cup this year? I flipped the channel to it Saturday night, but didn’t stay with it. It simply wasn’t a lark.

But I’m happy that the USA tied its first match against England, which lives and breathes soccer. Clearly, the US and England learned sharing.

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