Those of our readers who are not living under a rock or in the US* may be aware that the World (Football†) Cup is currently gripping much of the planet. It’s certainly a matter of great interest here in the Netherlands, where the country is drenched in orange. Entire rows of houses have clubbed together to present a unified front. Banners flutter above the streets, strung from eaves to lampposts.
After a rather pathetic showing on the day of the first Dutch game, a couple of my colleagues seem to have got into the swing of things in their personal appearance as well. I was chatting to one of them in the kitchen, admiring his well-matched combination of an orange T-shirt and orange button-down shirt. “So where are you going to watch the match?” I asked.
“In an Irish pub in Utrecht,” he replied. (Note, in the pictures on the site, that he won’t be alone in that.)
I don’t even recall doing it, but suddenly I found that my hands were on my head and my eyes were wide. “You’re. Wearing. Orange. To. An. Irish. Pub.”
“Yeah,” he replied, entirely confused by the fact that I was convulsively running my fingers through my hair.
Now, in my conscious mind I knew it was just an Irish theme pub. But my maiden name is Foley, and I was raised among the Irish-Americans‡. It has taken me three years to understand that orange can be a “good” color.
And something inside me is still screaming.
* I’m kidding! I know there are at least three Americans following the US team as it moves into the last sixteen; they were flooding my Twitter stream during the last nail-biting match.
† You can call it soccer if you want.
‡ For clarity: we were West Coast Irish-Americans who never even considered getting involved in the politics of a country our ancestors had left, on any deeper level than choice of color to wear on March 17.