My father – who grew up playing fútbol with homemade balls in the streets of Guatemala City, who played the sport for the University of Rome – has been keeping a World Cup score card on his coffee table at his home here in Tampa, Florida. It’s a makeshift thing; the match list printed on the front and the scores neatly written next to each team pairing.
“His journal,” my mother says.
“Dear diary,” I recite. “Today the U.S. tied England. It was a very exciting day!”
Despite the fact that I am the child of two athletic parents and the sister of a sports-obsessed brother, I’ve always much preferred sitting on my ass. Genetic recombination fails yet again! Pass me the laptop and watch said ass expand. Thanks to Facebook status updates, however, I’ve recently picked up certain things – such as the fact that someone called Drogba sucks and broke his arm, or that there is a country called Australia which failed in its attempt to win the crown. Since arriving in Tampa, I’ve thrown out these pieces of information every so often for my father’s benefit.
“What?” he says. “How do you know about Drogba? I thought you didn’t give a chit.”
“Well, surprise!” I say. “I know about Drogba. Happy Father’s Day!”*
*I don’t know about Drogba. What is he – an evil umpire?
I also know that Shakira sang this World Cup’s anthem and that it is called Waka Waka. My father loves Shakira. The family owes her a great debt; she saved my father from heartbreak after his first love, Selena, was murdered.
“Dad,” I say over lunch. “What do you think of the World Cup anthem?”
“I like it,” he says. “I like it.”
“Ha!” says my mother. “Shakira. She’s not so sexy. What does she have that I don’t have?”
My father looks her up and down.
“You have more than she has,” he says.