Smells Like (Teen) Spirit

“Come on, you know who to cheer for!”

My family still has one team in the World Cup: Argentina.

My U.S. went down after a good run, and my wife’s England lost after a listless performance. So that leaves my three children and their Argentina, a team run by legendary Diego Maradona and heavy with stars who look hungry to make a go of winning the World Cup, or the Mundial, as my kids call it.

My eldest is totally into it. We bought her Argentina shorts and a jersey with the name of her favorite player stamped on the back: Carlos Tevez. She wore the entire outfit that same day. And the next. Then at school to watch Argentina beat Greece on a big screen the teachers set up in the auditorium for the entire elementary school. Then she wore it the next day, well, because the country was in a celebratory mood. And for the next game several days later, when Argentina beat Mexico in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals, with Tevez scoring twice. She put the outfit on again the next day, well, because the country was again in a celebratory mood.

I thought we’d best wash the kit. So I put it in the hamper.

She came to look for it the next morning and spotted it in the hamper, pulled it out and put it on, and said, “Hey, who put this in here? It’s not that dirty.”

I could smell the dedication.

Not really – she’s only seven. But that’s at least a taste, well, a whiff of what it’s like to live in Argentina during the World Cup. It is the dedication and the love for a team that is playing well and playing together with passion. A team that has good chances to go on to the final in another 10 days.

So we washed the outfit while my daughter slept at night.

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