Local Flavor

What am I suppose to do now that the World Cup is over?

Over the course of the last 30 days, the World Cup has captured the attention of billions of viewers around the globe. I was not left out of the mix. Since the tournament began, I have watched soccer matches in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila, San Francisco, Macau, Miami, Cebu, Dallas, my hometown of Snyder, and most recently in San Salvador. It has been a World Cup experience like none other.

The last match pitted Spain against the Netherlands in what turned out to be a nail biter all the way to the end. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you wish to view it, I watched the entire game in Spanish. Even though I was only able to understand bits and pieces of the commentary, the experience and setting that I was able to enjoy was memorable.

I claimed my seat in the Hernandez family living room in San Salvador, El Salvador just before the anthems of both countries were played. My friend Jose would serve as my translator and teacher to aid me in better understanding the way Spanish football games are commentated.

During halftime, we all gathered around the table to eat a traditional meal of carne asada, red beans, homemade tortillas, watermelon, local juices, rice, and sausage. Earlier in the day, Jose had told me to make sure and bring an appetite for lunch, now I know why. There was more food than I knew what to do with, but it all tasted so delicious. I cannot wait to eat more meals like this over my next two months in Central America.

As the game proceeded into overtime, the tensions began to mount in the room. Luckily the Spanish national team came out on top with a goal in the last few minutes of overtime and chants echoed all down the street. I could hear families yelling, car horns honking, and pure excitement filling the air.

As the last whistle blew and Spain was declared the victor, I celebrated with those around me until the trophy was handed over. This has been a World Cup that I will not soon forget, but with its finale means we must say goodbye to the vuvuzela, and the memorable sound it made, which has become a worldwide icon since the games began in June. No longer will it sound like swarms of bees have invaded my television set.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK