Last Sunday was the first of two 2010 World Cup qualifiers that Costa Rica was to play in. The English language publications were calling it the Superbowl of Costa Rica. They spoke of the increase of police on the roads who would be enforcing the new less tolerant drunk driving laws, and that the country would come to a stand still once the game began. The streets are usually quiet in the smaller towns of Costa Rica on Sundays, as it is a day of religious observance, rest and time with family, but Grecia was a virtual ghost town! We had done our shopping in advance of this, and hunkered down in front of the tv at 5pm. The game was against Mexico and was being played there, so the crowd and announcers, were impossibly biased. Things went from bad to worse quickly and Mexico soundly slaughtered Costa Rica, 2-0. It was hard to watch and in the crowded restaurants and bars, I’m told, the crowds were silent. The good news is also that the Costa Rican fans didn’t drink away their disappointment, and the roads stayed relatively safe. Costa Ricans tend to take losses like this in stride though, as one of their own, Maria Jose Castillo, was one of the two finalists on Latin American Idol, but unfortunatly she lost. She was, an is still, though, a huge source of pride for this country. Yes, we have Latin American Idol, and it is EXACTLY like its’ American sister, with a couple of glaring differences! They have three judges, an overly emotional female “has been,” a cranky middle aged music industry fellow, and an affable fellow who also has great looks,not sure what his claim to fame is. The theme music is the same, the long drawn out “suspenseful moments” and the corny host…all the same. The differences? (1) The outfits, chosen by Latin stylists are typically Latin in flavor, and would be laughed off the American stage, and (2) duh, it’s all in Spanish!

Back to “football”…
Costa Rica gets another shot at qualifying tonight against El Salvador, here in the Saprissa stadium. El Salvador was ahead of the USA on Sunday, 2-0, but then USA scored two goals to tie it up by the end. Both teams are motivated to make a better showing than Sunday, so everyone is anticipating a good match up. The next qualifier will be played against USA on June 6, here in Costa Rica.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am NOT a football fan, I can’t help it, I just can’t stay with a football game, as it seems a like a violent human monster truck rally. The fact that I live with an avid football fan, who himself played in high school, is a challenging dynamic for us, but my husband is a very understanding and accommodating fellow! I find it unreal that men who continue to suffer physically from injuries they sustained while playing football as youths, would encourage their own kids to follow in their footsteps. I’m glad my son won’t be subjected to this. I’ll step off my soapbox now…

Ultimately, Latin “football” is football I can get behind, so watch the game tonight with us, and cheer on our Costa Rican boys!

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