Hi, it’s me, Megan, and I’m here to tell you about that time yesterday when I watched Argentina lose to Germany in the 2014 World Cup IN ARGENTINA. (Let me preface my story by saying that I am not (nor have I ever been) good at watching sports; they make me very stressed out and overly emotional, which, combined with the fact that I am admittedly a sore loser, means that I am about to tell you a perhaps exaggeratedly depressing account of what went down in Buenos Aires last night.)
When faced with the choice of getting drunk and screaming at the television in the comfort of my apartment alone (except for the companionship of a cat named Verne) or heading to Palermo to watch the game with my Venezuelan friend Jose, I opted for the latter. I don’t know if this was a good decision or a bad decision, but we’ll get into that momentarily.
To get to Jose’s I had to take the bus, which took an eternity to arrive and the wait in and of itself was hugely stressful. When it finally DID arrive, I crammed on with a million other people, to the point that we could no longer pick up anyone else because there was no space. The game began about halfway to Jose’s, and everyone on the bus started doing this:
(The weird lady who keeps glaring at the camera is probably pissed because she specifically warned me not to take out my phone because #THIEVES, but like, there was legitimately nowhere for a potential pickpocket to run to, so I risked it.)
After the bus arrived at my stop, I RAN to Jose’s and listened to people gasping and screaming out their windows all the while. (Again, stressful.) Finally I reached the apartment and got settled, and when Argentina scored that first goal, we (along with the entire street) screamed our heads off out the windows. And then, we realized that it was NOT going to count because it was offsides. (God fucking dammit.)
Fortunately, though, Germany wasn’t looking too good in the goal department, either, and so at halftime we joined everyone in cheering for the 0-0 status as we walked to McDonald’s to grab burgers. Here is me eating a triple cheeseburger with confidence and optimism:
Although the second half was also stressful, we were glad that things APPEARED to be headed into thirty minutes of overtime. That is UNTIL some demonic forces decided to cause a power outage on our block with just two nerve-wracking minutes to go in the first ninety minutes. The ENTIRE STREET cried out in a collective shriek of agony, followed by a mad dash on the pavement below in which people ran to their cars to hear what was happening on the radio, aka the worst (but only) option:
Fortunately there was an apartment with a TV powered by a backup generator a few doors down, and the residents had turned the screen to face the street so we could all look up at the balcony and watch the game. For sound, someone turned on their truck and blasted the radio. It was a frustrating system, but it was functional and (now that we had indeed entered into overtime) we all remained hopeful that things would go Argentina’s way.
Unfortunately, however, this was not to be; suddenly Germany had scored a gut-wrenching goal, and where we had all been cheering just moments before, there was absolute silence. The people in the truck cut the radio, and now we all just stared blankly at the tiny screen above. I cannot tell you just how agonizing that silence was, but you could have heard a pin drop. (To me, it was essentially like the ending of the fight between the Mountain and Prince Oberyn. And if you don’t understand that reference I’m not going to explain it to you.)
And then it was over. Still silence, punctuated only by the sobbing of one small child who was clearly gutted. (This was exactly how we all felt, too.) Someone began a solemn applause for the person who’d lent their television set to the street below, and then people slowly began to disperse. We went back to the apartment (where the power was still out) and sat in the darkness and said nothing to one another. Eventually I left, and (to my surprise) people were mobilizing to celebrate in the Microcentro.
I think a large part of this had to do with the fact that people had already made up their minds that there would be a party come hell or high water, but it was still strange to see. I started to ask people how they felt about the loss, and the general consensus was that while it was a tough blow, there was still a lot to be proud of: the team fought and gave the Germans a run for their money for more than a hundred minutes, and at the end of the day, we came out second among tons of other teams. Was it as good as a win? Of course not, but it wasn’t anything to sneer at, either.
I SHOULD NOTE, however, that while there were plenty of people in as good of spirits as can be had in a situation like this, there were definitely angry people wreaking havoc, too; as I left the Microcentro to head back to Palermo, I passed dozens upon dozens of riot gear-clad policemen on their way to break up the madness with power hoses and tear gas. (It was definitely a good time to leave the party.)
I do still feel sad that the game didn’t turn out differently, but today people are going about their business as usual; it may be the end of the World Cup, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. And so that, amigos, is how it felt to watch Argentina lose the World Cup in Argentina.