Sunday, June 17, 2018
Germany V Mexico
As this post goes live, a few days hence from where I write now, the great Germany, co-favorite of this World Cup (with Brazil) will be getting dressed for their game with Mexico, who I really really hope are very good even as I suspect they're just pretty good, or even merely all right.
But this post isn't about that game, not exactly.
As an expression of my nearly fanatical interest in this World Cup, and too to provide a kind of distraction from the pain of returning to work after two blissful weeks in Rome with my wife, I undertook to put together a rather elaborate World Cup pool at my workplace, the library. This current group of my co-workers (an ever evolving equation) has an unusually strong interest in sports, and though these sports are mainly Baseball, Hockey, Women's Basketball, and Football (American), they have all quite taken to the World Cup spirit. My World Cup fever is much less lonely with co-workers taking an avid interest in the fortunes of Panama (good luck with that!), Switzerland (probably good luck with that again), Belgium (it could happen), and Brazil (oh hello!).
Nevertheless, with the former teen librarian on vacation in Iberia, all of these co-workers are very much at a remedial level of World Cup understanding. So far I am very much in the position of explaining the absolute basics of the tournament over and over as well as things like why someone was quite fortunate (possibly) to draw Uruguay, or I'm putting a brave face on as I gently explain what the chances are for the person who drew Nigeria, or Panama, Saudi Arabia, or Peru (notice how I don't mention Senegal here? Senegal is going to surprise everyone! Did I mention how I drew Senegal in the pool? Sadio Mane' for life. I am only sorry that they have to lose to a Messi hattrick in the finals).
So while all this pool stuff is going on, but just before the World Cup starts, we began training a group of new employees. Some of them were destined for other branches, some are training to be subs, and all of them are too late, alas, for my World Cup pool as it was all subscribed. But there was still a lot of fanfare as people were in the process then of ceremoniously picking their team in random draws.
On one of these days a new trainee walked into the break room. He was maybe in his thirties I guess, and it seems safe to say he is an immigrant from a soccer country in Africa. I explained all about our World Cup pool and we fell briefly into a soccer discussion.
He then commenced to give me a thoroughly informed 15 minute dissertation on the tactics and history of the German National Team.
I understood then how I must sound to everyone else.