Our family follows international soccer more closely than most American families because of our decade in Europe. And we have especially fond memories of summer celebrations of the World Cup in 2010 (which happened while we were living in Amsterdam) and World Cup 2014 (which happened after our move to Kent but happened to coincide with a trip back to the Netherlands for a visit). However, we weren’t sure what to make of World Cup 2022 — scheduled for November and December because of climate conditions in the host nation of Qatar. Would it be just as fun in the winter as it is in the summer? Would it be just as fun cheering on the Dutch National Team from Ohio, instead of Holland?
We decided we wanted to bring as much soccer spirit as we could to World Cup 2022 and then let the rest of the chips fall where they may. The picture above shows the clothing that Cor chose for his last school day before the Thanksgiving Break!
The rest of us expressed our Dutch pride in other ways. I went with their 2014 Away Jersey, to express my support for the Dutch Team and continue my Week of Blue Shirts.
Elliot went with a vintage 2001 “oranje voetbal” shirt. I purchased it in Amsterdam when we traveled with a team of staff and volunteers from our church network to explore the options for a new church plant that came to fruition a few years later. I bequeathed the shirt to Elliot for Sinterklaas last year, and I feel a strange sort of pride — on multiple levels — when I see him wear it.
Olivia wore every bit of Dutch clothing that she had with her in her dorm room. None of it was officially-licensed merchandise. Still, I think she gets creativity points for making it work. I especially liked her earrings that resembled plastic cubs containing some sort of milky-orange bubble tea.
At game time, our family assembled at Panini’s Bar and Grill, in downtown Kent. The host at the restaurant put the soccer match on three different screens for us. Our family of five represented a majority of the customers there at the time. So, we felt free to get a little bit caught up in the action. After the Dutch team’s first goal against Senegal, we knocked over one chair and spilled one glass of water. But for the most part, we were pretty respectable.
Our team scored its second goal, sealing a 2-0 win, right at the end of the game. Right before I had to take Olivia back to campus for class and then head to a work obligation myself. Still, we got to see the whole game. And it was a win for Oranje. So, all in all, it felt like a fun way to start World Cup 2022.
I’m still not exactly sure how it’s going to feel to fit World Cup spectating in around other holiday comings and goings. But it actually feels kind of special that the group stage (which has the most games at the most unusual times of day) is largely playing out over our Thanksgiving Break. Assuming the Dutch manage to advance, their knockout games should happen largely on Saturdays. So, it will probably work out. Especially if the Dutch perform well.