At last, the World Cup is huge in the USA. Eight years ago, at the Brewhouse Cafe in Atlanta (perhaps the premier soccer-watching venue in this city), only a small and devoted group of nerds showed up to watch the finals (I among them). Today the place was a madhouse. Standing room-only, packed like sardines, sweating so much in the rowdy crowd that MY FINGERS PRUNED as we cheered ourselves hoarse to England vs. USA. Spectrum of race and gender represented, hundreds on the premises--maybe a thousand--all screaming themselves silly when Robert Green made an error for the ages.
Deafening chants of "The queen is a slut" and "Fuck BP" induced tears of joy as I realized that America had finally produced its first real football hooligans. Thrown ice cubes and splashes of ice water delivered by whirling towels and cupped hands were greeted by all with pleasure as each drop of water seemed to lower our soaring body temperatures by 10 degrees in the sweltering tent.
Brewhouse was not ready for the massive crowd; some serving areas ran out of beer half an hour before the match, lines were immobile. So a friend and I bought a six pack across the street and smuggled it in easily. Brewhouse made no money from us, or probably many other patrons today. Tip to Brewhouse: lots of cans, quick and easy to dispense (ditch the pours), no broken glass.
I never had imagined that in my own lifetime I would witness the explosion of football in the states. Absolutely amazing.