Tuesday, June 22, 2004

English Football Hooligans:

Sampling this evening the cafes of Vigo harbor, we discovered that the town—hardly a town with 300,000 people—is swarming with football fans: Dutch, Danes, and Germans for the most part. Auna--who looks like some Platonic form of the Scandinavian female—struck up a conversation with a doleful Dutch couple. Their team’s defeat at the hands of the Czechs seemed to have induced some sort of existential trauma. I tried to cheer them up by explaining to them my ideas about improving the rules of soccer. I’ve now come up with a couple of new ones. Doleful Dutch couple seemed doubtful these rules would catch on. They couldn’t see Edwin Van der Saar putting up with a Head Cam, even if, as I pointed out, Edgar Davids plays the game hiding behind a pair of cool looking shades. We departed with a heartfelt hope that the Czechs demolish the Germans—a dull and talentless team marshaled by the annoyingly competent Oliver Kahn.

In another quiet café around the corner, Auna and I were enjoying a glass of Albarino, the fine white wine of the region, when about twenty drunken singing Danes came in. Our quiet intimacy ruined we left. On our way out of the door, the owner came over to us and shaking his head at the noisy Danes uttered the word “Ingleses.” It made me wonder whether the term “English” has now acquired the new meaning of “any drunken violent behavior displayed abroad.”

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