house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Orange Revolt

World Cup Final: Spain, the country next door, is playing Holland. I like both, but there's no fun in impartiality. I want to go crazy, to soar on the wave of a demented crowd. For that, I must one: support Spain, two: go to Spain and three: Spain must win.

We cross the bridge and stop in a small town close to the border. The town square is overcrowded and buzzing. There's a vast screen at one end and everyone's watching, drinking beer, tensing up for mass-moaning or hysterical joy. National flags and pistachio shells fly about.

Nikita suffers a momentary lapse of judgement and marches into the crowd wearing an orange T-shirt. I take pathetic and pointless action: I give him small table napkins, I push him behind me, rummaging in my bag for felt pens (for disguise) or car keys (for defense)... but nothing happens. We start seeing Spanish fans in orange (a shortcut to the red-and-yellow national flag?)... and we calm down.

Early in the game, our 8-year-old nephew makes an intriguing snap decision: he wants Holland to win. Countless memorable moments ensue. When the Dutch attack and unleash acrobatic boot-to-Spanish-chest stunts, dark rumbles of booing sweep the square... festooned by squeaky whoops of delight from the little guy next to the orange T-shirt.

While Spain are in possession, the same small rebel jumps around screaming murder. Ooohhh..... ooooooccccchhh, no, no, nooooooooooo. He stops only to stick his tongue out at his cousins, or anyone who might turn to look.

He buries his head in his hands and groans as the Dutch receive one yellow card after another. The red card gets us a mini-tantrum, the tear-barrier is broken and nothing, no Spanish foul, no football sticker, not even ice-cream, can bring a smile back.

And when Spain finally score, while the entire town explodes with triumph, he wails louder than a neighbourhood of roosters.

Four minutes later, Spain are world champions and we are swept into a national fiesta. We sing and dance with everyone, join the celebratory conga and get wet in the town fountains. I love it, well aware that we will pay for it later, in the car. The sole Holland supporter is inconsolable. My camera sweeps over the delighted crowds and there, in the middle, is a whirl of red-hot fury stamping on a Spanish flag.


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