Wednesday night I watched the big France-Portugal match at my friend Caro’s apartment with an all-French crowd.
“Whaaat?” says the internet, incredulous. (Especially as I’m posting this, we now know that France has lost the Cup. Hold for tasteful moment of silence.)
I repeat, “EH!”
What I’ve explained to people who have watched soccer with me recently and who eye me dubiously while asking “You don’t actually LIKE soccer, do you?” is that there’s going to have to be a period of time before I can go from never having cared about soccer EVER, AT ALL, IN THE SLIGHTEST to caring about soccer. I didn’t see how it can be done overnight.
So after France won Wednesday--yay--I walked around place St. Michel for journalistic purposes. I will describe for you what I saw:
-people in the fountain
-people on top of the bus stop
-people hanging from the metro entrance
-people in my hair, in my bra, and riding on my feet
There were a lot of people. And they made a lot of noise. And I know that I am dead inside, I know. But it was more fun for me to watch shopkeepers sweeping up their stoops and closing their registers than to watch people throw gum and blow horns in my ear.
And last night we lost! With much...tragedy. And holy hot foie gras on toasted baby buns I CARE. NOW I decide to grow a heart. Even before the tragedy though, I was really into this game. I was coming back from the grocery store with my frozen goat cheese tart and my Smirnoff Ice to take to the party and I heard a band playing and horns and I was back at high school pep rally all over again.
And it’s a good thing I decided to care this time: my cousin Louise who 18 and is staying with Jeanne for the summer believes in magical thinking. So we had to shout ALLEZ, ALLEZ, FONCE! and do karate chops when Fabien blocked the ball, and sometimes just close our eyes and sit very still to channel THE POWER. At one point she literally turned to everyone seated on the couch and said, “If we don’t stand up when the ball gets close to the goal, and scream very loudly, they’re never going to score.”
Also, no one was allowed to take their eyes off the t.v. Even if you went to the toilet, the door had to stay open a crack so you could watch. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
And then, there was this moment? Where I was playing with Caro’s cat Pochette? And looked away from the screen?
I did it, I ruined the match.
Oh, and then there was this other moment where Zidane did the thing of which we cannot speak. Thereby taking a pin and popping our karmic bubble, so that even if we had won after that? The victory would have been entirely empty. Because we all just wanted to see Zidane hold the trophy with a god dammed tear in his eyes, god dammit.
I know I’ve always watched the Superbowl exclusively to see football players cry. It feels so good in all the right places.
On the one hand, I feel so badly for him. Because I immediate impose on him the way I would feel. And I would probably crawl into a nice cool cave somewhere in the south of France, Spain maybe, and never come out.
On the other hand, his Discovery Channel moment has been seared into my brain and is probably one of the most painful and interesting things I have ever seen. On Wednesday, my friend said sleeping with him would be like sleeping with God. At the beginning of last night’s game, my Dad called my Tonton Roger after that penalty kick and asked when Zidane would be elected president.
Because I’m new to the sport, I didn’t know about Zidane’s temper. I thought he was perfect. Now I have to wonder if France likes their stars morally bankrupt. Cause in America, (since the offense didn’t involve sex), I think he’d still be okay.
Zidane, Martha Stewart is holding on line one!