“Who are you rooting for in the final four?” one of Grace’s pals asked.
“Netherlands!” Grace responded emphatically. The surprise was double: Grace had been in slo-mo most of the evening, jet-lagged from her first trip to Vietnam, her family’s ancestral home, and now that she’d had a jolt of energy it was for the Netherlands?
“Noooo!” said the friend.
“Well, the Dutch were the colonial power in South Africa, after all.”
“Oh right,” said Grace. “I hadn’t even considered the post-colonial implications.”
“We were hoping for Uruguay but in the face of a contest between colonizers, we must err on the side of Achy’s very own.”
The heartbreak over Uruguay hadn’t been simply that they’d played such a fierce game against the Netherlands before falling 3-2. It was also that, as a relatively inoffensive little country, rooting for them doesn’t require a whole lot of compromise.
“That’s really what the World Cup is all about, isn’t it?” Grace sighed. “You know what team I was really curious about? North Korea.”
“Oh, man, they got smashed.”
“Yeah, I watched the game in Vietnam and it was really somber. Everyone was really worried about the aftermath for the North Korean players.