Archive | December, 2022

World Cup

20 Dec

My first encounter with the World Cup came in 1990. I had taken four 11-year OLDS to CISV camp in Stavanger Norway. There were groups like mine there from a dozen or so other countries, most of which were countries where soccer was the dominant sport, including Argentina and Italy.

The whole point of the camp was to foster international cooperation and understanding. When Argentina and Italy were to face off in the semi-final match, the adult chaperones pout their their heads together to see how we could pursue our goals, while watching the game. I don’t remember who came up with the genius solution, but it was brilliant. We would all cheer for Argentalia. I have to tell you, hearing a group of kids shouting “Argentalia!” and cheering for both sides brought tears to my eyes.

Four years later, i was in Colombia during the World Cup, which was held in the US for the first time ever. It was my last year in Colombia and the tournament was held during my final weeks. We often met at a friends large home to watch. And it was there that Colombia suffered a terrible moment in World Cup history: on June 22nd, a player scored on his own goal. Early in the morning of July 2nd, Andres Escobar, the scorer of that fateful goal was murdered in Colombia in retaliation.

This year, as I caught kids sneaking peeks at the games on their Chromebooks, I’d ask, “What’s the score?” Sometimes, I’d interrupt the class with updates on scores. I think I scored a few points.

I am not much of a sports fan, but I always like to pay attention to the World Cup. And I generally like to cheer for the South American teams. When Brazil was eliminated, I was team Argentina all the way. I was happy for this year’s happy ending.\

Light in the Darkness

13 Dec

I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Richard’s weekday walks occur in the dark. It is the nature of the season. But those dark walks are made brighter by the lights in the windows. I come to count on them.

There’s that couple on the apartment across the street. They have early morning coffee together in the living room. On a cold, drizzly morning, their home looks warm and cozy.

There’s a family in one of the big houses that were built where a small bungalow used to occupy a large lot. Neighbors grumbled when they went up. But the family in the house on the corner puts their Christmas tree up at Thanksgiving in their second floor living room that has no curtain. They either turn the tree lights on really early, or they leave them on all night. It warms my heart every morning when I turn the corner and see their tree with it’s star glowing on top.

I thought back to my days in Toronto. A friend and I, University students short on cash, took the ferry out to Ward’s Island one evening. I’d been to Centre Island before. It is still home to an amusement park, and is the destination of most tourists. Fewer tourists ventured to Ward’s Island, as it was – and still is – primarily residential. There are no cars allowed on Ward’s Island, so we walked the narrow lanes in the dark, glimpsing into warm and cozy houses where curtains were open, and we imagined all the possibilities the future held for us.

On the way back to Toronto, the ferry was engulfed in fog. Except for the sound of the engines, It was had to know we were moving. It was disorienting. We grounded ourself in time and space by keeping track of the lights from the CN Tower. Although they were stationary and the ferry was moving, the opposite seemed to be true, until we docked. back in the well-lit city. It was a simple, quiet way to spend an evening, but it made an impression. Light and darkness and Winter.

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