When it comes to futbol, I've never really followed it. I didn't play as a child and never really had any interest in learning about it to be honest. But I arrived in Spain on the day of the Euro Cup finals and Spain was, as you may or may not know, playing against Italy. I had to learn the game as I watched.
For those of you that know as little about soccer as I did, here are some basics; for the rest of you go ahead and skip to the next paragraph: Two 45 minute halves, 11 players on each side (10 and the goalie), players can play the whole game and may not return once they have left but each team is allowed 3 player swaps during the entire game.
As far as watching the game, I watched it with Anita and her parents in there home. Home viewing of sports has always been more my pace, and it was good because I was able to ask questions without feeling ignorant. We didn't get back until about 24 minutes into the game and we had already missed the first goal. From what I understand, scoring this early is rare. After the second half Italy had made two of there three changes and followed with the third shortly after. They seemed to be playing better until one of their guys had an injury and then they were down a player. I guess they couldn't replace him either since they had already made their changes! With 5 minutes to go Spain scored their third goal and then followed it up three minutes later with the fourth.
At this point there were explosions heard from the Praza Roxa where there was a large screen set up for the public to watch the game. These were celebratory explosions followed by a lot of honking of car horns as people drove by with flags hanging out the car windows! It was a great celebration that continued for many hours. It wasn't just that Spain had won the Euro Cup, but that they had won the last Euro Cup, the World Cup and this current Euro Cup! As the announcer on tv said: "el futbol sigue siendo nuestro" (soccer continues to be ours), and that was what the celebration really was all about.
It may be strange to unite over something like s sport, but I think it's a lot better than having to unite over a tragedy. Maybe the unity wasn't false at all but rather a sign that Spaniards of all backgrounds can unite over something positive rather than needing to over something negative, and that seems like a pretty good thing to me.
Anyway, I better save some writing for the next 27 days!
I will leave you with my Galician word of the day:
Dog - Can