My worlds collide! It's the first night of a symposium on feminist art, and the speakers are all having dinner. I'm in my hotel room, in the thrall of the electric battle between Turkey and Germany. Adrenylyn has every sense heightened - I feel like I am actually on the pitch - my heart is racing nearly as fast as the Spanish commentators are calling the game. The Turkish players are teaching me the full meaning of extending one's self. They are reaching into passes to scoop the ball up with the very tip of a toe. They just barely gain control of the ball before moving it forward, forward, forward. When their first goal comes, it feels inevitable, even as it is scrapped into the net after bouncing off the top bar. And then...well, let's just say I hate it when Germany scores - it's so clean, it's so, well, efficient.
The Germans then have me experiencing defensive flashbacks: Remembering how terrifying it is to be on the back line (in spite of this blog's name, and my fantasy position on the pitch, I usually play left back). You have to think faster, be faster than the opposition. You can't make one mistake, you can't pause or hesitate for even a shadow of a second. Keeping that level of concentration for 90 minutes is well and truly hard. I'm exhausted by the end of the first half, but excited: Turkey feels like the better team.
And so, I did something totally scandalous. I joined my colleagues at the restaurant. True, there was a t.v. on in the front bar, and I could catch the score at polite intervals. But, basically, I couldn't take it. I wanted Turkey to win so much that I couldn't bear to watch them lose - especially given the way they were playing. Nothing could convince me that they deserved less than the history making upset. I think it was their style - the scrappy, throw yourself totally into it sort of game that I think every player loves. They were playing like we do in our parks on the weekends. Or, like how we play in our minds - how we play in the stories we tell when we head off to the pub, or the local taco stand, and elaborately work over the games high and lowlights.
I mean, definitive endings are over-rated, right? Wouldn't you have liked to have gone to bed with Turkey giving Germany the scare of their lives - as if the first half was a never ending story.