Oddly enough, two of the best soccer games I have ever watched both involve my father-in-law, despite the fact that he has rarely shown anything other than a polite interest in my obsession.
In 2011, I was at my in-laws' during the women’s World Cup. On the day we were there, the U.S. was scheduled to play Brazil in what would become one of the most intense and exciting games in the history of women’s soccer.
At the beginning of the game, I settled into the living room (by myself) while everyone else in the house, including my wife’s extended family, sat in the kitchen and out on the deck.
No one showed even the slightest bit of interest in the game, although I had gotten some ribbing about changing into my U.S. jersey just to watch the game.
However, by the end of the game (which was full of dramatics from a red card, a penalty saved, play-acting by the Brazilians, a 123rd minute equalizer and a penalty shootout win for the U.S.), there were a dozen people drawn into the room by the game. And, when the U.S. won in the dramatic penalty shoot-out, all of them were screaming and jumping almost as crazily as I was.
Then, this spring, my father-in-law was at my house for the weekend and, as usual, I got up and put the EPL on. Again, my father-in-law initially showed little interest in the games I was watching.
But, this happened to be the last day of the EPL season, and I was watching the Manchester City-QPR game that would decide the title.
With the final whistle having been blown at the Manchester United-Sunderland game and City and QPR tied at two goals apiece, it looked as if United has the title sealed.
Then, in one of the most dramatic goals in the history of the game, City’s Sergio Aguero scored a 95th minute winner to snatch the title from United.
Although my father-in-law has no idea who Sergio Aguero is, who Manchester City is or what teams even play in the EPL, he was still screaming in disbelief at the finish of that game.