I don't remember what the last World Cup was like in the US - in 2006, I was in Argentina, where I caught Copa fever, but in 2002, I was in high school and I don't think I even knew it was going on. So I've been surprised by just how excited Americans are by the World Cup and how it has become ubiquitous, at least in New York, and sometimes inescapable. In fact, today one of those video ads on the entrance of the subway was showing a live scoreboard of the Brazil game, not to mention the surprising amount of people who snuck out of work to watch the game. Plus, the amazing ESPN posters have been up all over the city for weeks.
Granted, it's a far, far cry from Brazil - it's still soccer, and it doesn't have the same influence as American football or even basketball. But it's still surprising and refreshing to see how many people are really getting into and following the games, and how there seems to be a perceptible shift in how Americans view the Cup. In a global game that the US has traditionally ignored, it's really heartwarming to see Americans trying to take part in an international event that connects so many people. It's especially fun to see Americans more interested in Brazil, too.
Plus, it's amazing to see how the World Cup brings people together. Walking down the street in a Brazil jersey on game day, people stop you to comment on the game or make friendly conversation - even Argentines! To be a Brazilian in New York during the World Cup is especially fun to see - people are always eager to chat with Eli about soccer, and almost always ask why Ronaldinho was left off the team. I've noticed that foreigners tend to be interested in talking football no matter what time of year, but now that Americans are getting into the game more, they seem to have taken more interest in Brazil in general, at least temporarily.
What about you? If you're in the US, do you notice an increased interest in the World Cup? If you're a Brazilian abroad, do people seem to engage you more during the World Cup?
World Cup Reading
ESPN World Cup posters (all teams)
Why Brazil Will Win the World Cup, Poder 360