Originally published on CBC.ca
I can't believe the World Cup has gone by so fast. For the past month it has been my privilege to share my experiences on this blog. I only hope that you've enjoyed the journey. Here are a few of my favorite memories:
The first comes from Café Caco. It was inside this haven of soccer that my request for a photo got turned down, not once but twice on the same day. In both cases the fans had called in sick and didn't want to risk their employers discovering their true whereabouts as they watched Portugal take on Brazil.
One of my favorite moments happened at the Community Cup. During the tournament's opening ceremonies, the main tent was packed but it took a few minutes for the guest speakers to catch on to the fact that the cheers and applause were not for them but for the match being shown on the big screen behind them.
In the building where I work, staff have been assigned a random country and encouraged to cheer on their adopted team whenever they play. Email greetings in German have been followed up with Nigerian songs, invitations to English tea and samplings of Ghanaian goat stew and Mexican taquitos. All of this will cumulate in one large potluck featuring dishes from each of the 32 nations involved in the tournament.
Even if Canada does not qualify for the next World Cup Ottawa should do what countless cities around the world have done and set-up a pavilion for fans to gather, not in the hundreds, but in the thousands. I've seen how the World Cup has affected many of us; my only regret is that our experiences have been separate. We're already celebrating our differences; the least we can do is celebrate them together.