24 June 2010

Soccer In The Nail Salon

The other day, I was having my nails done at Hannah and Her Sisters, where I usually go.
One of the manicurists, Annie, looks younger than her daughter, who just graduated from a university in Korea. It seems that when I've seen her lately, she hugs me any chance she gets.  I don't mind:  She really seems to be a nice person.  And, I notice, she likes holding on to my hand for as long as she can.  It has me curious.

What was almost as intriguing, though, was her passion for soccer.   Whenever I'm there, the TV is on--usually to NY 1 News or one of the cooking shows that's on the cable channels.  But the other day, they were showing the World Cup soccer match between South Korea--the home country of Hannah, Annie and all of the other manicurists--and Nigeria.

At first, I thought they were tuned into the game merely as a matter of national pride.  There are plenty of people, especially here in the United Staes, who don't pay attention to the sport unless their country's team is playing in the World Cup.

But the women in the shop actually seemed to understand--and care about--soccer itself.  Angela (the women all go by Western names) was criticising one of the Korean players for holding onto the ball too long before shooting--or for not taking shots when they had good opportunities to score.  

I remarked that the Koreans had been playing well-organized, disciplined soccer until that day's match, and that Korea would have been well ahead of  the Nigerians if they continued to play that way.  But, they were playing a surprisingly undisciplined game and not shooting well.  "They have the chances, " I said. "They're just taking too long.

I was getting my pedicure; a woman in the chair next to mine asked whether I'd ever played.  I allowed that I had.  "It shows.  You know more about this than most other women," she remarked.

Down the street, there's a bar that's shown every one of the matches so far.  I couldn't help but to wonder what it would be like if I had the sort of conversation I was having, not in the nail salon, but in that--or any other--sprorts bar.  Of course, I wouldn't go there for a variety of reasons, but mainly for the same reason I generally don't go into bars:  I don't drink alcohol.  Plus, I've discovered that alcohol and testosterone are a very toxic combination.

And to think...I never would have known that Hannah and her sisters were such fans!

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