J. T. Gwozdz, ’15, cheers with the rest of the crowd at a World Cup public viewing in Grant Park; Gwozdz kept track of World Cup progress on a white board. (Photos courtesy J. T. Gwozdz, ’15)
Cup fever runneth over
UChicago students around the globe experience World Cup excitement.
Edwin Abundis, AB’14, has watched every World Cup in his lifetime. He, like many UChicago students and alumni, watched this year’s US matches at Chicago’s public viewings at Grant Park and Soldier Field. This year he supported Mexico and the United States. After the Americans were eliminated, Abundis turned his hopes to the eventual champions, Germany. Despite his varying allegiances, he felt that this year’s event took “World Cup fever in the US to a whole new level.”
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1785","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"576","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Edwin Abundis, AB’14, supports the US soccer team during a World Cup game viewing in Grant Park. (Photo courtesy Edwin Abundis, AB’14)
Rising fourth-year Eliana Polimeni, a native of Greece, cheered on her homeland team from Chicago’s Greektown. “There was so much heart in the players and so much support from the Greeks, both in Greece and in Chicago, that it was just a wonderful way to feel connected with my home, even from so far away," she said. "The World Cup is a great way to bring the world together, despite its competitive nature. Across all different time zones, people are watching the same games, and all countries, big or small, rich or poor, are equal.” Sien Hasker, ’17, expressed similar sentiments from Belgium, where she is spending her summer. “It’s very hard not to get swept up in the madness because there are flags on every other house and even supermarkets are completely themed according to the national colors," she said. “It just creates a fantastic sense of community, and when you go to these screens you run into neighbors, classmates.”
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1787","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"385","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Sien Hasker, ’17, (right) goes all out to support the Dutch soccer team. (Photo courtesy Sien Hasker, ’17)
Before the United States played Belgium in the quarterfinals, Hasker’s conversations with her friends took on a new tone. “I was really worried that somehow we [Belgium] would lose, and I’d have to transfer to a different university! A lot of trash talk preceded that game,” she joked, grateful that the Belgians won. Abundis likewise sensed an intensity among American fans that he hadn’t felt before. “For the first time I actually heard US fans chanting, and the whole crowd going wild to the chants of ‘I believe that we will win!’”
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1784","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] J. T. Gwozdz, ’15, (second from right) with friends at a World Cup public viewing in Grant Park. (Photo courtesy J. T. Gwozdz, ’15)