Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cheering for Iran: In the basement of an Oakland mosque this morning, everyone wanted our World Cup team to win!

Iranian-Americans came from all over the San Francisco Bay Area this morning to watch the Iranian soccer team play Mexico in the World Cup tournament. Good grief, what a game! "Mexico is rated the fourth-best team in the world," said the announcer as we all got settled in our folding chairs in the basement of an Iranian-American mosque.

The women's guild sold pancake breakfasts to raise money for the building fund. The kids played games out in the hallway. The teenagers clustered together with their i-pods, text-messaging back and forth among themselves. Everyone was there to seriously cheer for Iran. Except for one lady who was a Mexico fan.

We were all so HOPEFUL as the Iranian defense stopped Mexico cold again and again. There was so much riding on this game. "If only Iran can win at soccer," I said to the person sitting next to me, "then maybe Bush will back off and not try to blow up Tehran like he did with Baghdad." Magical thinking. Yeah right.

Then Mexico scored a point. Then IRAN SCORED A POINT. The basement went wild! Except for the Mexico fan.

For the next 45 edge-of-our-seats minutes, Iran was able to hold Mexico down. But it was slowly becoming obvious that Iran's defensive game was really good but they didn't have a good offense. Sort of like the deal between Iran and Bush. Iran has no intentions of starting anything. But Bush does. And will.

Two-thirds of the way through the game, a child tripped over an extension cord and the screen went black. Nooooo! Turn it back on!

We were all wildly praying for our team to win. 20 minutes left! Mexico scored! What a let-down. I had imagined poor sweet little underdog Iran actually winning this game. But there was still time!

Then Mexico scored again. The Mexican fan went wild! The rest of us slumped in our chairs. But there was still ten minutes left in the game! We could do this! But while Iran's defense still held and they got the ball six or seven times more, they were unable to score and Mexico won.

I was really disappointed but everyone else in the basement was philosophical. Except for the Mexico fan.