As a white American I have not experienced being a minority for very much of my life. It wasn't until I moved to Uganda that I was the minority based on skin color. Yet even amidst a country of black faces I still have more advantages and resources because of the color of my skin and citizenship. I'm still loved and given preferential treatment because of the way I look. I still only have a small glimpse of what what a minority feels like.
This weekend I tasted being a minority is a whole new way. I, with three other PCV's, attended the USA vs. England World Cup match. I was surrounded by white faces, largely from the Western World, and I was not the favorite. England was favored by what seemed the whole world for this match. The USA is not known for having a great team and as a relatively new country who likes soccer/football we are still seem as the newbie's and not particularly liked. We rode to the game with a bus full of England supporters. Driving there and upon getting to the parking lot all we saw were white and red English flags. All we heard was the English accent. All we smelt was our own fear at being the Americans.
As you can imagine we were also four die-hard football/soccer fans which made our fitting in that much easier. One girl may have mentioned looking forward to seeing David Beckham play for America (he's not playing in the World Cup and he sat on the English bench!) and another started talking about stars when the conversation of Galaxy came up (the US Los Angelas team is called the Galaxy). Having had an illustrious career as a soccer referee in high school, I felt a little more prepared. At least I knew the basic rules.
No one can fault us our team spirit. Dressed in red, white and blue with our faces painted with the American flag we clapped, cheered, and waved our small American flag with as much enthusiasm as any English fan, at least for the first 20 minutes. Keep in mind we are all still here for medical reasons. Despite all our excitement at being at the World Cup and our desire to make our illnesses mind over matter, the stomach aches came back, the teeth had shooting pain, bodies shivered in cold and our heads bobbed in sleepiness. We quickly became the easiest group of medevacees to identify. We still reacted to each close goal attempt and chanted U - S – A but our passion no longer rivaled the English. We may have looked like the biggest duds in the stadium yet if you ask any of us this game was one of the most fun things we've done since being in South Africa.
The match ended in a tie. The English were devastated. We were ecstatic!
For our adventure of getting tickets (finally on craigslist) check out Melissa's blog: http://mperry421.blogspot.com/2010/06/world-cup-usa-vs-england.html