Every four years I go a little crazy.
I start dreaming, hoping, believing that maybe, just maybe, this will be our year.
I am of course talking about the World Cup – Russia 2018.
I try to keep my expectations low, easily achieved thanks to the rampant failures at past tournaments.
Even now, 16 years ex-patriated from my ancestral home, the land that gave the world the greatest game ever invented, nothing stirs my loins, makes my heart race, and causes me so much heartache, pain, and stress in the desire for ecstatic jubilation.
My days off work are scheduled and my American wife has been warned. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important to me for the next four weeks than watching my beloved England team play and hopefully win.
Sure we have the most expensive league in the world and former players like David Beckham are household names even here in the colonies, but alas, for an entire generation of fans, myself included, England has sucked. The last time we got remotely close to winning it all was in a semifinal loss to our archrivals, Germany, in the 1990 World Cup. I was 10. It’s been a steady downhill trajectory since as we have watched our beloved team, the weight of an entire nation on their shoulders, frequently snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Our last and only triumph in 1966 is a distant memory to fewer and fewer in the home of football.
But every four years we get to torture ourselves once again. We cast aside truths we know to be self-evident, blinded by delusions of grandeur that this may be our year, while deep down knowing we’ll be lucky to make it past the first round.
Messi, Ronaldo, and others will be hoping to light up the world but in a small bar on Ortega Street in downtown Santa Barbara called The Press Room you will find this writer and other hardy England supporters hoping, praying, even willing to sacrifice their first born to see the three lions, the England national team, finally triumph.
The beautiful game isn’t just a game, it’s far more important than that. I hope you can join us.