My little sister Estefany in 1998.
My little sister the other day.
Watching the World Cup brings back so many memories of visiting my family and being exposed to new cultures. I was in Central America for the ’98 and ’02 tournaments. Growing up as an American we knew about the World Cup, but experiencing it was something completely different.
In 1998, I was in Panama and every business that you walked into had a game on. The broadcasters were so energetic and would scream GOAL until they ran out of breath, and then do it again. I remember watching the days replays and being blown away with the incredible goals that were scored.
I returned home before the end of the tournament and was shocked to find that the American stations were not showing the games. Thankfully the finals were broadcast, but even then the atmosphere was completely different. I was at Lacrosse camp and watched with all the other American teenagers attending. I felt like we were watching it just because it was the World Cup, not because we loved the game. It would take another four years before I learned how to really watch a soccer game .
In 2002, I was in Costa Rica and they had made it into the World Cup. It seemed like the entire country had World Cup fever. On every conner, street vendors had carts stuffed full of Costa Rican flags, shirts, hats, wrist bands, whistles, horns, and anything else they could print the flag on. That year the Costa Ricans were facing the extremely dangerous Brazil. My sister invited a couple of friends over to watch the game.
The “Ticos” where not favored to win, but you couldn’t tell that from the way they cheered. Every time the ball was on the Brazilian side they screamed at the TV, trying to will the ball into the goal. Brazil went up 3-0 and things didn’t look good. Then out of no where Costa Rica scored two. The country went crazy. You could hear everyone cheering, cars honking in the street and fireworks in the distance. They ended up being eliminated, but seeing how they got so into the game left a lasting impression on me.
Today I have a new appreciation and love for the game. I admire the skill and artistry the world’s best players bring to this tournament. I love the way each country gets so into it. I wish that Americans could experience the game the same way I did. We would be great fans. If we brought the same passion and intensity that we have for American Football to Soccer, we would go far.
If you are unable to see the video click here.
Yesterday, 12 years ago our family was reunited for the first time. It was an incredible experience and to celebrate we did an online video and chat. It was a lot of fun and it was great to hear everyone share their experiences.
For those of you who could not stay for the entire show, or were unable to join us, we recorded the whole thing. It is about 2 hours long but I bookmarked each section to make it easier for people to watch in parts.
We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback because we are thinking about doing it again.
Next week I will be flying down to Central America again to work on a project with my father’s business in Panama. This will be a little shorter than my last trip which was a month long. I’ll be down there for 3 weeks.
On the trip I will be doing work for a business that I am trying to start up. As part of this business I am trying to show the impact that technology has on developing nations. If you are interested in learning more about the work I am doing take a look at my company’s site www.cotosolutions.com.
I’m excited to see my brother and sisters. My grandmother was sick a couple weeks ago so I am looking forward to seeing her as well. Maybe I will get a chance to do a few more video interviews!
The other week I interviewed my older sister Eva about these past 10 years. Today I sat down with Estefany and asked her about what it was like growing up with an older brother who lived in the US.