Tuesday, June 17, 2014

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Sunday evening was delightful. One of Husband's favorite cousins and his wife (the cousin's wife, not Husband's, although I also was...oh, never mind) were visiting Small Town from the left edge of the country and came to the House on the Corner for supper. This pair is one of my favorites among Husband's many delightful relatives, and I didn't even mind giving up my Sunday nap to direct the shoveling out of dust that accumulates when I forget to clean for a decade year while.

We had delightfully summery chicken salad, followed by delightfully delicious ice cream, and were an hour or so into a delightful catching-up conversation filled with smiles when Husband asked his cousin (who is a history professor at a liberal arts college) if he was following the World Cup. 

"To be honest," the cousin said, "I'm not a fan of soccer. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's a prime symptom of the fall of western civilization."

And just like that, the needle skidded across our delightful evening. I know that you young'uns don't even know what this refers to. Here, let me help you out:  

Husband and I gaped at delightful cousin. 

"But...but...but you're an American from the left edge of the country!" I managed to point out. "Didn't you get your kids up at 2 a.m. in 2002 to watch World Cup games because they were in Japan? Didn't you make sure you have a second monitor on your desk set to ESPN-Go so you can stream games while you grade papers?"

He did not and does not, and while the evening was still delightful, it was a bit as if we'd discovered this cousin had a shameful secret--that he doesn't like yelling goats, or he votes a straight ticket during election years. 

Yesterday, as the USA played Ghana and I consciously did not move or change activities for 83 minutes after Clint Dempsey scored that miraculous first goal (because obviously, I was helping the team with my mojo), I recalled cousin's not-so-much-a-fan proclamation. He was in my mind when I posted a status update on my Facebook page: 

If you aren't a World Cup fan, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
And I was thinking of that cousin as I watched Dempsey take a kick to the face and saw him KEEP PLAYING with a nose now rearranged to be a twin of W.C.Fields's schnozz, and then saw a gutsy young substitute head a ball into the goal in the dying minutes of the game for the USA win.


This morning Husband received a thank-you note, and while our guests were most complimentary about the chicken salad and ice cream, Cousin restored my faith in their humanity with this line:
 I have to confess that I got a little excited by the first American goal and the win over Ghana. 

"A little excited?" The three of us in the House on the Corner were screaming in excitement and high-fiving as enthusiastically as accountants and editors ever high-five (which is to say, trying not to miss the other hand). But if "a little excited" is the start of bringing Cousin into the World Cup cult, we'll take it.

Cousin, you may stay in the family.

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