Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have mixed feelings about being back in Lagos, but it was fun to be here last night to watch Barcelona's victory over Manchester United for the European Cup.

Soccer is huge in Nigeria. Every man and boy in the country seems to be an excellent player, as I know from personal experience on the patches of dirt that pass for fields in Lagos. And watching the English premier league games is the national pastime, especially on Sundays, when all the men gather in makeshift shanties or on rooftops, where for 30 cents you can watch Liverpool or Arsenal or Chelsea all afternoon.

After the games there is euphoria in the streets, with teenage boys chanting, singing, and running every which way. It seems out of place -- as if all their daily frustrations and suffering are channeled back into this one expression of joy. I took this picture in Turkey last week after a big game there, but it could have been taken last night in Lagos or Rome or any number of other places around the world.

UPDATE: Ok, maybe it wasn't so much fun for everyone: just saw this article now.


  1. I love watching soccer in other countries--we were in South Africa during the last World Cup. It's more intense than any relationship we have to sports over here...

    Miss you! (Jeff has already bought our Vendy tickets, so we are ready.)


  2. Miss you guys too, Juhu! Thanks for commenting.

    Maybe the problem is that we have too many sports. If you combined all our enthusiasm for football and basketball and baseball, etc. into one sport, maybe we could come close to how they feel about soccer. Soccer is the only sport they even remotely care about here.