Last night, I spent my evening with Neto and one hundred men watching Manchester United vs. Arsenal in the UEFA Cup Semi-Finals second leg. Sadly, Man U came out on top. The real treat was the crowd of sweaty men all giving me hell for cheering for the wrong team. I arrived at 9:40, five minutes before the start, and the place was packed. The heat that came from all the bodies sat at the ceiling with the stench of man just below. With ESPN and shirtless men yelling, sport was in full bloom. The owner brought me around back to get a front seat. He pulled a few people out of their seats to give me one, but I refused. I was not about to take the seat of someone who was paying the same thirty shillings as me and was early enough to secure a spot. I was late and I had to take the side angle that required a slight lean over a seated man. For those who missed out, the game was over quickly with goals from Park and Ronaldo in the first twenty minutes. The last few minutes slowed as the final whistle let go a collective whoop from the young men of Malava. We poured out into the streets, everyone yelling. I could hear the other fans hooting in joy from the top of town. The streets, lit by a full moon with light clouds strewn cross as a light netting to dampen the bright white ball, were teeming with the men dancing about. I was unable to join in the festivities because of the fact that I hated the team. However, they celebrated in a fashion that would have made anyone think that they won the championship. I thought this phenomena was specific only to Boston, but now it just involves teams with the color red.
The real match is tonight with Chelsea against FC Barcelona. I will be in the minority for the evening, but I wore my jersey with pride at work today. I had plenty of stares last night, but tonight I will have the full wrath of haters.
In other news, a package with coloring books arrived from West Chester, Pa (thanks Rose) and the children are playing with delight as they color in the pictures of Spiderman. I am not sure if it was chosen intentionally, but Spiderman could not have been a better choice. The boys are coloring away and the girls are playing with the pencils. It takes so little to make all these guys happy and I am thankful for the support thus far.