Neighbors had reported a disturbance. A raucous party was indeed in full swing — and with good reason.
Argentina was playing in the World Cup.
Because the game was in Japan, kickoff locally was 2 a.m., but that didn’t deter the Rodriguez family from playing host to a gathering of nearly 50 people.
“Argentina scored and everybody went nuts, and then the cops showed up,” said Nahuel Rodriguez, a son of Eduardo and Silvia. “We had to tell them we’re watching a game, we’re not doing anything weird. We got complaints, but we didn’t care.”
That’s the power of the World Cup, which is held every four years. In 32 days, the craziness begins anew. Fans from across the globe will descend on South Africa, while more than a billion people are expected to watch at least some of the tournament on TV.
Cities in Europe have been known to shut down — stores close, public transportation ceases — when the national team plays. Supporters gather at homes and at bars to watch their team.
That will be the case here in the States as well, but in a testament to the notion that America is a melting pot, many of those fans will come together to root for countries other than the U.S.
You expect that in a major metropolitan area like New York or Chicago. But it will take place right here in Kansas City as well. And it’s not just the Mexican fans — who came out en force last year for an exhibition game at Arrowhead Stadium between Chivas and Club America — who are loyal supporters.
Many others — like Rodriguez, 25, and his family and friends — will live and die with the fortunes of their favorite team in South Africa.
“It doesn’t matter if I have to call in sick, I’m going to make it happen,” Rodriguez said. “I already told my boss, it doesn’t matter what day it is, what time it is, I’m going to be gone for that 2, 2 1/2 hours. That means everything. I don’t mean I’m going to be quitting my job, but the World Cup comes first.”
In one episode of Seinfeld, a character painted his face before a pivotal hockey game and was roundly mocked.
Laurent Denis has no such qualms.
A native of Bordeaux (like the wine), he married a woman from Kansas City and moved here in 1995. Just three years later, he was at Le Fou Frog watching the French national team win the World Cup title by crushing Brazil 3-0 in Paris.
“We had a bunch of friends screaming and waving flags,” Denis said, “and I painted my face.”
To be fair, he only put the French flag on each cheek.
Denis, who coaches the Force Soccer Academy, believes the World Cup is a great time for young players to learn from the best.
“I’ve been coaching youth soccer for the last 10 years,” Denis said. “I tell the parents if they want their kids to get better in this sport, then they need to watch it. And the World Cup is the right time to watch it, because these are the best players in the world.”
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/08/1933468/kansas-city-fans-who-support-soccer.html#ixzz0oSv6I6c4