Seoul hosted a massive World Cup viewing party outside City Hall for the Republic of Korea’s opening game against Greece on Saturday. In accordance with “credible” predictions, I was expecting Greece to have this one in the bag. When Korea defied these odds and won the game, it was impossible to avoid a second-hand high from the radiation of excitement from the crowd. As I am sure many of those present weren’t, you didn’t have to be much of a soccer fan to be thrilled over this win – Korea is an especially nationalist country, and the opportunity to witness this event was breathtaking.
For the remainder of the evening, the usual blanket of composure and conformity was lifted from the streets of Seoul emancipating madmen in baggy red attire, masks of face paint, and blinking, plastic devil horns. We cheered, chanted, banged on drums, and danced in the streets. Everyone was happy and seemed to have left every other thought or care back in the trench of time before the game.
Game 2 vs. Argentina is tomorrow evening. I am hopeful for another win, especially since I owe my 5th grade boys ice cream if not. Olé!