My South African surprise
Alan Koch, coach of the SFU Men's soccer team and South African is watching the game from the comfort of his home. I wonder how many others are doing the same.
I decide to take a break from Commercial drive and check out the Red Card Sports bar, I hear it's a great place to watch sports. But, I'm not sure if it's the place to find South Africans, but I'll give it a go.
I arrive and it's a beautiful place, the atmosphere is inviting and the big screens, positioned all over the restaurant, amp up the viewing experience. I find my spot and get comfortable.
Although it was almost noon, I ordered from their World Cup breakfast menu and absolutely loved the fruit salad with cottage cheese and saba. I hope they keep it on the menu when the World Cup is over. Actually I'd just like the World Cup to keep going.
The game is on and there are only a handful of people watching the game. I"m watching the door, like a hawk searching for food, and in walks a South African flag. A man looks over my direction and I'm so happy to see a Bafana Bafana fan. He sees my smile and heads over in my direction.
I'm thinking that people in their country's gear usually come in packs. This is perfect! I will be able to talk to them as they watch their beloved team play it's second game of the tournament.
Turns out, he's alone. But, he tells me that at half-time he is going to where the South African's are watching the game. "Wanna come?", he asks, and I'm game.
His name is Steven September and he's South African, a massive soccer fan and the technical director of the North Coquitlam Untied Soccer Club. Life just has a way of working out.
A wealth of information pours out of him as he watches the game with the spirit of a teenager and the thought of well-seasoned coach. He looks over to mention that Uruguay's Diego Forlan is a weapon and one of the best players in the Spanish league, and not 10 seconds later he scores a beautiful goal from 30 yards out, silencing the stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.
It's now half time and we've also made friends with Japanese english student, Yoske Yamahata. He takes a picture with Steve and excitedly shares with me his World Cup adventure. Yoske is trying to get 100 photos with people from other countries over the duration of the World Cup.
Trying to understand my questions, he writes his name and email on a paper with a note that says, I have Facebook, please search me. He just loves soccer and for a person who has only been here 2 months I'm impressed with his enthusiasm. He inspires me, I'm going to do it to Yoske.
It's now time to move over to Malones, where the South African's are watching the game.
I tag along with Steve and it's another surprise. A table of Bafana Bafana enthusiasts, alive and charged with energy. Their team is down, but they are hopeful, and even with one min remaining I notice both the team on the field and the fans right in front of me are not giving up. I love it. Always believe! I love this support. One of the girl turn to me and say, "We don't give up, we're a strong nation."
I'm getting goosebumps. This is exactly the feeling of unity that the World Cup brings.
The referee gives one red and two yellow cards against South Africa, which will pull two of their players out of the next game versus Mexico. "It's not fair", is the consensus among the fans and I'm disappointed to!
South Africa is the storybook team the world (and I ) want to see move forward into the following rounds. Plus, look at those fans in South Africa, they deserve another celebration.
My table mates eagerly school me on the cultures of South Africa. One young woman tells me of her brother who lives in a small town in South Africa and how he tells her about the vuvuzelas and the people in the street, everywhere, untiring again as one nation.
She continues to say, "it's fantastic everyone is supporting South Africa. No matter if your pink, black, blue or orange. Nobody cares anymore in South Africa. it's fantastic."
And once again, the goosebumps appear.
This is the power of the World Cup.
I didn't know what today would bring, and the gifts of knowledge and friendship are far more than I could have ever expected out of today.
You just never know what the day will bring.
Thank-you for your comments and World Cup suggestions! Join me on twitter at coreena007.
About the Author
Coreena Robertson (Vancouver)
Coreena Robertson is a seasoned sports producer and experienced sports broadcaster who loves to cover sports at both the community and professional level. She has interviewed high profile celebrities and sports stars such as LeBron James and the late Paul Newman, but also loves hanging out at the local pitch.