What do you think, feel and do around these days those of us who don’t like soccer?
The Soccer World Cup has begun and, according to estimates, almost half of the world population, nearly 3 thousand million people will be following it in body and soul.
Among them my neighboring Ildelisa joins in. Yesterday, when I walked down her front door it was half opened, she was staring at her television as if her life depended on watching the screen.
She was so absent-minded that I knocked, pushed the door, and she only realized I was there when she heard the cracking of the armchair where I sat next to her.
- Oh, my friend!, that was her greeting accompanied with a deep sigh.
- What happened, did your team lose?
- What team?
- The soccer team dummy; the game just ended now.
- Ah, yes?
- But Ildeliza, weren’t you watching the game?
- Nooo, I was looking at the goalkeeper; that is, both of them, and I could not decide which one was hotter.
In fact, what attracts my neighbor is by far the main motive of fans or simply followers of what has been called, understandable, the sport of crowds.
Undoubtedly this is one of those unique opportunities, just like the Olympic Games that is worthwhile enjoying although no team from Cuba is on the field.
But what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And in more than a Cuban home, conflicts because of the World Cup have erupted.
The soap operas, Pánfilo and other coinciding show in schedule with the games broadcast, pit together loving couples, mothers against children, grandparents against the most loving grandsons.
It’s also worth talking about those whom soccer doesn't move them inside not even a twitch, neither for those uninterested in it about that sport - because there are some.
Those who don’t like it, these days usually feel a secret sense of guilt that makes them step aside, like keeping a low profile from the groups where people comment passionately of a given game.
If they can’t help it but joining the debate - because any other way would be drawing much attention - they do it as a mirror, repeating what louder voices have said, or, ultimately, nodding agreement over and over, like the little toy dogs that were in fashion on car dashboards in the Cuban streets for a while.
Around these days, and until July 15th with the great finale, not knowing of soccer is like having bad breath... or something worse.
And if you are a man and know nothing of goals, balls, and fans thing could get complicated. Because even a few eyebrows are raised doubting their manliness, although until he has had a manly image so far.
While the most important world competition of soccer is on - the most popular and best paid - many contradictory emotions are lived. Because there are those who would like to watch all games, all of them, without caring to get blood-shot eyes on the third day, and although they want, they can’t.
Work, family duties, must-do, planned or accidental commitments, prevent most humans from staying put in front of screens for the 31 days with their 64 matches of the World Cup, even wishing it fiercely.
It’s then that strong fans look entertained, they forget things or important data, they are there, but they are not present. As soon as they have a chance they will be updated on the match result, to complain or scream euphoric if among the contestants is his favorite team.
Nobody knows if to avoid mistakes like those described in workplaces or the streets, perhaps for when the semifinal or finale are played, in any of the 32 national teams participating in the World Cup decide to declare a free day.
Meanwhile let happiness or displeasure - according to wins or defeats - don't cloud anyone’s judgment, and that my neighboring Ildeliza, from evaluating the work of goalkeepers, forwards, defenses and midfielders, she really ends up loving soccer, that which today draws multitudes.
Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés