“Wowwy wow wow!!!”
This text message came clattering over my cell phone at 4:17 PM, Foley’s time.
“Shades of Nicola Caricola” hit my screen at 4:18 PM, from a correspondent who shall be identified as Doug From Florida.
Both were noting the own goal in far-off São Paolo, greeted with mostly horror by the large crowd in the Irish baseball pub on New York’s W. 33 st.
Many of the patrons were wearing the familiar yellow jersey or t-shirt. As somebody at our table said, everybody’s default position in the World Cup is Brazil. (Except Argentines.)
The “Wowwy wow wow!!!” speaks for itself, but the “Nicola Caricola” in question was an old Juventus player who became legendary by making an own goal in the very first game for the MetroStars, from which the franchise is still recovering.
In jam-packed Foley’s, there was the frisson of danger that Croatia might profit from the own goal propelled into the net by Marcelo of Brazil.
Some of us at the table spent a few minutes telling the tragic tale of Andrés Escobar of Colombia who scored an own goal against the United States in 1994 and was gunned down in a parking lot when he got back home.
Before long, Brazilian talent and the referee's hasty whistle for a penalty kick combined for a 3-1 victory for the host team.
Finally, they were playing the World Cup. I was hoping that Brazilians would make their points about the brutal costs imposed by FIFA for holding the World Cup, and yet balance it with their love of futebol.
I have been thinking that Brazil players would be somehow affected by the demonstrations planned around the country, but on the first day the yellow jerseys swarmed. Neymar carried himself with the assurance of a young man who knows he is handsome and talented. Not sure he meant to hit a slow grass-skimmer inside the right post, but that may be the way life works for Neymar.
I sold a couple dozen copies of my new book about the eight World Cups I covered, hung out with old friends from Hofstra and elsewhere, met some really nice people.
For the duration of the World Cup, I'll be commenting on the matches here and there on a daily basis. Reactions and Comments are more than welcome. Muito obrigado.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.