I’ve lived in or near Toronto in Canada for my entire life. There are millions of things I love about my home-town. There are millions of things I hate, most of which will probably be topics of future blogs. If you haven’t been here, Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the entire world. If you’re a fan of different types of cuisine for example, you love this. If you dislike accents, then you probably hate this.
I’m kind of a live and let live, everybody’s equal, you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, blah blah blah kind of guy. So for me, cultural diversity is interesting and fun. I’ve had a lot of jobs in the past where I dealt with the public either at a neutral site, or in their homes. I’ve been all over the city, and I’ve talked to everyone! I’m not saying I don’t have my favourites, but I think it’s cool that a lot of different kinds of people have made their homes here. I also think it’s sort of amazing that people get along pretty well here. Not that there aren’t problems, but I think on a relative scale it works pretty well. Except for……..
During soccer tournaments.
It’s Euro Cup season people!! Go get that flag that attaches to your car, because it’s time to drive around the neighborhood and honk our horns and celebrate after every game our team wins or ties. This time it’s limited to Europeans, but in 2 years the whole world will get involved. It’s pandemonium in certain neighborhoods here. If the country your family comes from is involved, then you’re involved. If the country your family comes from is not involved, then you’re picking another team possibly because you follow soccer, and your favourite player is from _______, or because there’s some cultural similarity like language (eg. Brazilians pretending to be Portuguese, and Portuguese pretending to be Brazilian when it’s convenient). This is the time to be obnoxious. Don’t celebrate in your living room. Make sure people in the whole neighborhood who don’t give a shit about you or your team know that they played to a 1-1 draw.
Before I go any further, I need to explain that I’m really Canadian. Not that anybody else isn’t, but all 4 of my grandparents were born here, which is really saying something for a country whose independence only dates back to 1867. However, when European-Canadians ask me what my nationality is (and they all do), Canadian is never an acceptable answer. They want to know where in the old world I am from. So I tell them I’m Irish (which is the short answer). Canadian, Irish, or any other strange concoction that I might be…… I just don’t like soccer.
I know it may seem as if I’m about to rant further about how annoyed I am by the behaviour of unruly soccer fans, but really I wanted to say this…… Canadians, and Torontonians in particular need to grow up, and be more tolerant of our neighbors who are fortunate enough to be associated with a country that actually has the first fucking clue about how to play soccer. We get mad because we aren’t part of the celebration, but if Canada was in this tournament (or better still, if this was a hockey tournament), we’d all be going ape-shit. So get off your high horse, and let these guys have their fun. They’re excited!! Rather than try to get angry about their excitement, go out and find your own excitement. Or better still, pick a country to cheer for. I sometimes cheer for Italy because my barber is Italian, and I don’t want him to be upset when he cuts my hair. You don’t have to be from that country to cheer for them. It’s soccer, not a war. If everyone can be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, then I see no reason why we can’t pick a country to back for Euro Cup just to make it more interesting.
So who am I cheering for??? I’m cheering for people who are beeping their horns in the streets to do so safely, and keep their eyes on the road. I’m cheering for soccer fans that are talking smack with one another to not let it escalate into violence. I’m cheering for Canada to win some of these qualifying matches so they can play in their first World Cup since 1986 in 2014, and then maybe….. just maybe….. I could go out and buy a flag to attach to my car window and beep my horn through residential neighborhoods. I can only assume it’s an amazing feeling. Other than that though….. I could really care less who wins the Euro Cup.