First, if you haven't read my soccer rant yet, you should read that before reading this, unless you don't plan to read that one. This is a nice story, while the one previous to this is a downer. Read that one first so that this one can pick you back up.
One of my issues with the big three American sports is that we call them the world championships. We presume that we're so big and great that we don't need to invite the world to our world championships. Soccer on the other hand really does have a world championship, called oddly enough the World Cup. It's coming soon, just under a month.
Soccer is truly international. And even in the most random town, take mine for example, can show that international spirit. And that's my uplifting story.
Wednesday nights are one of the nights I know there will be pickup games at the local park. I showed up this past week ready to see a few of the people in my league, people I'd recognize as having played against. Including me, a teammate and two other league guys, we were the only people from our league. So there were four Americans on the field, four Mexicans and four Africans. They were already playing when I got there, having split into shirts and skins. I, with my mostly pale, farmer tanned ass and the shorts that ride up, giving me that push into dorkiness that a shirt would have hidden, was directed to the skins side, one Mexican, three Africans and me. I actually felt as if I might have been glowing.
A couple of guys left leaving us with four on a side. The Mexicans wanted to just play soccer while the Africans had a game in mind that they played. It was a soccer related game, though I didn't get the concept as they explained it.
So we played soccer, a little three tone action on a Wednesday night in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. We all had fun. We all played well. We didn't all look or sound alike, and we couldn't always understand the words we used, but we all spoke that one language of soccer/football/futbol. And that language is the same all around the world.