Temryss Lane’s World Cup: Meeting the Wondo Family and Dancing ‘Til Dawn
She was overwhelmed with the loving pride of a parent and the supportive enthusiasm of a fellow Native American; seeing that her son's story of hard work, tireless belief and humble determination will positively impact our future generations. A moment I will never forget.
"Good job, mom! Good job, mom," I said. She was a wealth of knowledge and offered insight about "Christopher" that only a mother could give. She was hopeful and anxious to see him out there the following night against Ghana. But first she needed sleep.
That night, the night before the game, US Soccer put on a welcome party that will go down in history. It was in a massive warehouse designed especially for viewing games, drinking, eating, dancing, and your wildest World Cup celebration dreams. Thousands of US fans were in attendance including the American Outlaws, USA's premiere supporters group. They're known to get a little rowdy in the best way possible. The Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina match was airing and people were downing beers, chomping on Brazilian bbq, and cheering on Lionel Messi. A DJ played electronic pop hits on a stage equipped with strobe lights in the back of this outdoor warehouse. I was a little put off by the music choice because quite frankly, I didn't come to Brazil to listen to the same crappy club music I can hear at any nightclub back home. I suppose I've been training for Brazil for the last year and a half because I've been dancing multiple times a week at Brasil Brasil Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Rachel and Gisella, American Brasilana's, taught me Afro-Brazilian, Funky Brazilian, and Samba steps. Little did I know that these moves would come in handy.
The World Cup match ended and without missing a beat, the DJ stopped, and a live, 15-part Samba band began playing. Quickly, they drew the masses from the enormous projector screens to the dance floor. I found my way to the front so I could dance with the band. The combo of my tan skin and my samba moves, I suddenly appeared to be Brazilian. Soon, two Brazilians samba'd their way to me and asked me to join them on stage. I couldn't refuse; I'm a performer! The fun didn't stop there as people started crowd surfing and getting down to the sweet sounds of Brazilian music. I danced until I couldn't any longer. My legs felt like I'd played 120mins (a full 90 minute match and two overtimes), my clothes were drenched with sweat and my cheeks hurt from smiling. I slept like a baby, which was good because the next day was game day.
Game day means sporting red, white and blue, patriotic tattoos, beer consumption, and enough song and chants to wake up the city of Natal.
I had just enough time to go for a barefoot run on the beautiful beach of Ponta Negra where the sand was soft and the water was warm. Bogie boarders and surfers lined the coast line as they rode in the salty white wash. Agua de coco (coconut water) and brazilian bikini vendors lined the beach for the multitude of international tourist. Soccer matches were happening every 20 yards where two pairs of Havaianas (Brazilian flip flops) where used as goals. This was undoubtedly a piece of heaven for travelers and footballers alike.
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