Since April, David has been talking about the World Cup. He even bought a new monitor to put it behind the bar in addition to the one that we already had, and when I asked in dismay if that was really necessary, he assured me that it would pay off big time during the World Cup. I remained skeptical but dropped the subject. David always knew the importance of the World Cup, what it represented. But I had to see it for myself before I could fully understand. You see, I grew up in a country where soccer (or football as I have come to know it) was a minor sport overshadowed by football (the American kind), basketball and practically every other sport.
So, little could I have imagined how directly affected my life would be by Spain making it all the way to the World Cup finals and eventually claiming the championship. It started slowly like a small drum beat way off in the distance and, as Spain continued to move up the ranking, the drumming slowly built in importance until it reached a crescendo that could be felt throughout Spain. In the history of the World Cup, Spain had never made it past the quarter finals. But this year, they were on a roll.
For us, it represented lots of cañas, montaditos and sneaked glimpses of the game and the score between it all. Game days were good days for us, and we got a good mix of locals, expats and tourists. And after Spain won each time, the partying would continue. And it’s the World Cup that kept us going after the students had left and the tourists had not yet arrived.
And when it looked like Spain was heading to the finals, David started talking about getting a projector and showing the game high up on the wall of the house opposite us. I didn’t quite know how that was going to happen or where we would find a projector, but in the days right before the finals, David had it all figured out. Fortunately, one of the waiters at the restaurant opposite us had one that he could lend us and David figured out how to connect it all so, by game day, it was good to go. The only problem was that at 8:30, it was still too light out to see the game. It took another good half hour to 40 minutes before the game started to take form on the wall outside.
Meanwhile, inside, we had a full house. And what a treat it was to have some of the surrounding business owners who had decided to close for the day – or at least during the game – knowing that all of Spain would be concentrated on only one thing. So we had our good friends Pepa and Warner from Artesans; Neil, Yanina and their one-year-old son Mylo from Tribus, a super nice restaurant just around the corner; and Sarah and Dexter from The Butterfly Design Shop, a cool design store just down the way.
And with the full house, came the heat. As we have come to discover, our two air conditioning units don’t quite stand up to the heat of the Summer and even our fans placed throughout AlteArte can’t quite do the job, but our loyal customers and friends stuck it out and stayed with us even after halftime when I feared that AlteArte would empty out. And together we cheered that winning goal that claimed our spot as champions and made 2010 a year to remember in Spain’s history. And David ran around with his noisemaker – upstairs, downstairs, outside. And I watched the bottles of alcohol above me to make sure that none fell (as one had in a previous game) as the people stomped on the floor directly above me.
It was complete exhilaration, excitement, and the air was full of energy to the point that it was tangible. And I relished that moment as it washed over me and I felt incredibly lucky to be witnessing it all with my own eyes.
As for the new monitor behind the bar that David had assured me would pay off big time during the World Cup, it never quite did the job. Since it wasn’t showing the same version of the game as on the big screen, it was pretty much ignored altogether. So we probably could have done without it… however, the projector outside added a cool special effect and offered some relief to those who were boiling inside.
It’s funny to think that only a short time ago, the World Cup didn’t mean much to me. Now, it represents a whole lot of memories. And what luck we have to have arrived in Spain – and taken over AlteArte – just in time to partake in all the action.