Wow, what a great time to be in Spain. If you don’t keep up with sports I’ll let you in on what just happened… Spain won the Euro Cup (soccer) for the second time in a row! Actually, they won the first one 4 years ago, then the World Cup 2 years ago, and now the Euro cup again yesterday. That’s quite a feat, especially since most of the media thought that Italy would win. Well, who ever does those predictions is probably crying in a corner as of now, it was a shut out (meaning the other team didn’t score at all) of 4-0. That’s a great score for a soccer match. To top that off, they had possession of the ball for well over the majority of the game.
Our group actually arrived in Santander about an hour before the game had begun. My roommate and I were just getting settled in and unpacked as the game started. Suddenly, all we hear is “Gooool!” and so we immediately went to the living room where our host family was watching TV. We were able to see a replay of the goal, and it was a header! It was amazing to see. As half time rolled by we left to have dinner with our ISA group and our directors. The food was amazing, but everyone’s eyes were fixated on the TV, watching every move. If the ball got close to making a score, the entire ambiance of the restaurant was heightened; I felt what everyone else was feeling, which was an interesting feeling. We all gasped, sighed, became nervous or excited as one large body.
Although Italy didn’t have possession of the ball for much time, there were a few instances when they were close to scoring… most of them missed, but there was one or two that were too close for comfort. Luckily Spain has a great goalie who is quick on his toes! Our group had missed the second goal, but we were able to see the third and fourth goals. Each time a goal was shot there was a video in the bottom corner of the people in Madrid celebrating. It was neat to see, but we were glad that we left Madrid a few days earlier. There’s no way we would’ve gotten sleep that night.
As the game finished the level of noise outside increased, including some random firecrackers. When we were finished with our meal we went outside and us students went for a walk to the beach. Before we could even get to the street we were greeted with car after car honking their horns and holding flags out the windows. People were sitting out of the windows (not suggested) and being pretend matadors with flags for incoming cars (NOT reccomended at all). Although I’m not Spanish, I felt as if I was one of them. Everyone was celebrating and happy. They needed something to keep their minds off of the economy and unemployment, and this was it! Cars would pass filled with people singing the Spanish national anthem or shouting “España!”
The beach even had some patriots that were so proud that they either (1) skinny dipped or (2) went in the water with only underwear on. They then wore the flag around themselves to show their pride… and attempt to get dry. Everywhere we went was splattered with red and yellow– whether it be clothes, flags, face paint… The people were proud, and I even felt some slight “patriotism” just being there.
I don’t know if I could’ve picked a better time or place to study abroad… and I still have about a month left! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of this trip.