Monday, March 28, 2011

Notes from Cynthia Baker

My Grandmother! I went home this weekend to Northern VA to visit family and had a great time.

Among all the wonderful things we were celebrating I had a few moments to take in part of the England v. Wales and Scotland v. Brazil soccer matches. I've always enjoyed talking with my Nana about anything and everything. Especially her thoughts on her homeland; England. She is of their own greatest generation, although, they don't refer to it as that as we do because their history goes a tad bit further back then ours.

I was not able to wrangle her up for the England game. She was too busy getting ready for the baby shower that was happening later that day. She did check in a couple times though just to verify with me that England was winning. When I told her the score she just said "of course" and "naturally" as if it were predetermined result and wondered back to baby stuff.

Sunday was a little different as the baby shower was over. I gathered my dad, nana and my mother to watch the first half. Scotland had no chance and even my father and mother could see that after a few minutes. My mom knows soccer, she coached it back in the days when it was just catching on in Northern VA. Many consider that is the area that propelled youth soccer in the area up to the levels it is today (late 70s early 80s). It was pretty neat to hear my mom recognizing positions, formations and even building actions.

I could tell my nana had little interest in the tactics. She has made it clear that, in her youth; "soccer is a sport played by barbarians and watched by gentlemen and rugby is a sport played by gentlemen and watched by barbarians".

Right around that comment I got a story on her and her sister going up to Scotland shortly after it was voted that women could go into pubs there (must have been early 1940s). She pointed to a small closet and said... "we went in and they put us in a back room the size of that".

During the game I educated my dad on how players were sold. He had a hard time grasping (as I and many Americans do) how teams get a transfer fee and all) but my nana got it right away. "When they can perform anymore, they aren't worth anything to the owners". I didn't take it as a derogatory thing at all and she didn't mean it as that but my dad understood it after the comment. Our own domestic sports have similar things in common only, it is the player that wins the spoils over here.

She also pegged one of the announcers as uneducated because of his pronunciation of "little".

Only other thing she mentioned that was directly about the game on TV was said with a great deal of English pride... "this game must be in England, look how wonderfully green the pitch is." English as you like it.

It was really fun getting to watch with her. She always finds time to criticize basketball and football for the all the starts, stops and TV commercials. My dad and I were reminded of this as she sat by us watching college bball tournament games. Sitting there watching the Scotland match? Not a single criticism. It's as if the game was made for her temperament, intellect and common sense.

Indeed... it probably was.