For anyone who has been living under a rock or in a cave for the past week-or, outside of the UK from the looks of the US newspapers I've been reading online-England is in the throes of World Cup Fever. Has been for several weeks now, even though the official games just kicked off (no pun intended) a week ago. I'll refrain from any game by game commentary-that's already been covered 7,000 ways to Sunday by everyone else, I'm sure. Instead, just a few general observations about the differences between World Cup in England versus World Cup in the US.
- Life as we know it grinds to a halt on the days that England plays. Yesterday evening (6pm), I was one of 15 people in my gym (only 2 men, both of which were trainers, and simply had to be there)-a time & day in which it's normally packed. Why? England played at 7.30pm.
- Want to go to your local and have a pint? Better not on game day. Especially if said local has a TV. You're better off to stay at home, as it will be too crowded, noisy, and drunk.
- A good England fan is delirious with excitement leading up to an England game. And, then quickly starts to bash the team during a game, the minute something goes wrong. By the end of the game, a good England fan will be downright despondent at having ever thought England could win anything-nevermind tie a team that truthfully they should have crushed-and are basically ready to dis-avow God and Country.
- The tube stations become fully staffed with British Police. In the US, on a major sporting day, we'd see extra cops on the roads to stop drunk drivers. In London at least, there are extra cops in the tube stations.
- In the US, as a female, I never thought that anyone (men) was surprised when a female had an intelligent observation to make about a sporting event. Here, if a female makes an intelligent observation about a sporting event, men treat it as a sign of the second coming-the shocked look on thier faces says it all. Loves it.
- I've had more people than I can count ask me if I was pulling for the US or England-particularly during the US/England match last week. I never once entertained the thought of pulling for anyone other than the US, and can't help but wonder if an expat living in the US would have ever been asked that same question (regardless of their country of origin).
- There's just no escaping World Cup Fever. It's everywhere here: tv, radio, print, references on tv shows, the Top 20 chart is populated with 'England Fooball' type songs, and even if you're a brand that would never before have associated yourselves with Football (food, beverage, cars, finances, you name it..), suddenly you're mentioning 'England World Cup' in your advertising. Even as recent as 3 days before the US/England match last week, I struggled to even find one US newspaper (well, online...) in which World Cup was even the front-page story.
I'm sure there are dozens more differences between what's going on with World Cup here in England versus the US, but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.
Anyone else have an observation they'd like to share? Drop a comment!