Every four years, people from all over the world crowd around the television to watch some of their finest athletes perform on the grandest stage of them all. No, I’m not referring to the Olympics… I’m talking about the World Cup, baby!!!!!!! Personally, I don’t watch a single soccer game during the “regular season” and I don’t pay any mind to the results of the leagues, whether they are local or international. I only begin to warm up to the sport with the little ball made of hexagons and pentagons when the World Cup qualifiers are being played. By the time the first games of the actual tournament have begun, I’m burning up with fútbol fever and I’m dizzy with excitement. Glued to the screen wondering who will scrape and score their way to the final game… Cheering for underdogs and witnessing some amazing choreography and teamwork on the field. There’s the occasional “dud” of a game, but generally all the teams that make the cut are top caliber and bring their “A game” with them. This year in Brazil, our favorite underdog has a realistic chance to make some serious noise in this Cup tourney. That’s right, folks!!! Costa Rica is walking tall and playing very well so far, despite being in Group D, which the locals have been heard to refer to as “The Death Group”. Going up against Uruguay (ranked #7), Italy (ranked #9), and the Brits (ranked #10) right out of the gates is no easy task. Los Ticos are only ranked #28 in the world… Yet they came out strong, organized, and aggressive vs. an Uruguay team that no doubt figured they would dominate the Tico underdogs. The photo above is of me on game day right after Costa Rica went down 1-0 to Uruguay. My daughter, Violetta, who was born here in Costa Rica and is nearly three years old, was very sick and therefore unable (and unwilling) to put on her classic Costa Rican dress that is meant to honor the local farmers here (campesinos). My wife and I felt that it would have been a very strong show of support for her countrymen and a potential source of positive MOJO… Since V was under the weather, I took it upon myself to fashion a “rally cap” out of her dress and proudly wrapped it around my head. The result was three unanswered goals by the Costa Rican national team!!! You can be certain that I’ll have that precious relic with me when we play Italy tomorrow 😉
When my friends and family from New York ask me who I want to win the Cup, I tell them Costa Rica without hesitation. They’re generally quite baffled that I would want CR to win over USA, Italy, Ireland (did NOT qualify this year-BOO!!!), or any other teams that hail from countries that are significant to myself and my family. I have to remind everyone that Violetta was born on this fertile soil, and she is a Tica. How could I ever cheer against a country that has given me so much over the years? Costa Ricans have such huge hearts and it would be priceless to see them dancing in the streets celebrating victory with tears in their eyes and wide smiles on their faces (which many folks in San Ramon already did, by the way, after only winning one game in the first round!!! LOL). No one expects them to win, and that makes the prospect that they MIGHT all that much sweeter. These wonderful people deserve to have something special to hang their sombreros on… Costa Rica has only qualified to play in the World Cup four times (including this year) and has advanced to the Round of 16 just once, in 1990. That year was the best personal finish in the history of the World Cup for Los Ticos, when they finished 13th out of 32 teams. Why can’t 2014 be the year that these sweet souls find a way to bring the Cup home to Costa RIca? It can be… Spain has already inexplicably been bounced out of the tournament, and we all know that anything can happen once the whistle blows and the games begin. All Los Ticos have to do is take it one game at a time… The next challenge is Italy. I’ll have my rally cap MOJO rockin’ tomorrow.
VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!! VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!!! VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!