The whole neighborhood roars with shrieks of pain, excitement and, once in a while, victory calls. At night the streets are almost empty, and during the day you know you should not be wearing red/green/yellow if you don’t want to get too much friendly attention or nasty comments. “There’s a game tonight.”
It’s always fun to watch a good sports game, better when your favorite team plays (and hopefully wins too). But apart from sport-lovers and die-hard fans, who follow their groups and never miss a game (remind me to tell you once some of the crazier stories about that), there is another rating “market segment” that is almost automatically activated â€“ whenever there’s an international game in which Israel plays against a foreign country.
All of a sudden the patriots in us come alive. We’ve been bitching all day about life here: about the heat, about bureaucracy and inconsiderateness, about what not â€“ but when it’s our country fighting another on that green-green grass, we’re all Israel. And it’s an important game. And we should not praise the opponents, even if they’re extremely talented, or even your favorite international club (or exquisitely gorgeousâ€¦).
We’re leading 2:0 woohoo! We’re showing them who’s boss, we’ll get to the UEFA group stage and show the whole worldâ€¦ But wait, oh myâ€¦ what a brilliant move, what a â€“ goaaaal! Damned Bulgarians, they did good this time (I whisper and hope I’m not overheard under all the not-so-pleased shouts in our living room). But we’re not losing hope here, not us. Yalla Maccabi, yalla. Oh, and wait, we have *our* Benayoun playing against Palermo today, tooâ€¦
What a night. Can you hear the car horns outside?
Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Chernomorets Odessa 3:1
Maccabi Haifa vs. Litex Lovech 3:1
(Photograph courtesy of Walla)