"What the hell is going on?" he asked.
I shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe their country just won the World Cup?"
"Soccer," he said. "What a gay sport."
"Well, the United States couldn't care less about it, sure," I said, "but the rest of the world really gets into it."
"Well the rest of the world is gay, then," he said.
We got to the park and played a few sets of tennis under the sweltering sun. I got my ass kicked, per usual, as I tried to go for the incredible shots and double-faulted more than I got my first serve in and, while we were playing, the Middle Easterners continued to pour into the parking lot, Arabian rap blaring and horns honking. It seemed, obviously, to be a celebration. But then, on the other hand, there was a definite police presence.
We started to wonder just exactly what had gone on. Was it an innocuous sports celebration? As my friend had mentioned, Beckham had just started playing for Los Angeles. Wouldn't he be over wherever they were playing the World Cup instead of kicking and heading in the United States? Had there been a terrorist attack? Had Bushie been popped? Were people celebrating the withdrawl of American troops in the Middle East? Was the "War on Terror" no more? (Right. We'll be fighting that "War on Terror" for the next 200 years.)
So I was definitely intrigued. I got home and turned on the news. There were no breaking stories. I went online and I found this. It had been soccer, after all. And it had been Iraq. And, instead of mayhem and terror, it had been a good story, a feel-good story. I say good on them. I say that Iraq needs more stories like this. I say that Iraq needs "beacons of hope." It is fantastic that the soccer team has done well after getting out from under Saddam's sons' sadistic thumbs.
It is unfortunate, though, that the Bush Adminstration will probably point to this feel-good story and somehow warp it into a pro-U.S.A. troops build-up. That they will look at this and say, "See? Give us more time. The "Surge" will work."
Politics aside, though, I'm quite happy for the Iraqi soccer team. And I'm glad that Iraqi-Americans have something over which to show their nationalistic pride. More sports, less war.