World Cup Watch Students gather for world’s top sporting event

Michael Bauer editor-in-chief

The world’s premier sporting event has been uniting people in supporting their countrymen. From Germany to Japan to even Pittsburg, fans have held mass gatherings to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Students from Pittsburg State have chimed in, hosting their own watch parties and it’s not only international students, either.
On Monday, June 16, PSU students assembled at Varsity’s Sports Bar in Frontenac to watch the United States take on Ghana in its opening match.
“My son told me today that they were going to bring in 30 of his friends to watch it,” said Mike Knaup, owner of Varsity’s Sports Bar.
Varsity’s is no stranger to hosting watch parties from other sporting events like the Super Bowl, but this marked the first world cup watch party that Knaup’s restaurant has held and it shouldn’t be the last.
“I’d be interested in doing this again,” said Matt Sayre, senior in trades program from Frontenac who also works part time at Varsity’s. “It beats sitting at home and watching the game by yourself.”
About 30 supporters showed up and after each U.S. goal, the place erupted in jubilant cheers.
“It seemed like everyone was pretty energetic,” Sayre said. “Everybody was pumped up and with the U.S. scoring 30 seconds into the game it made it pretty interesting. Once Ghana equalized, it was a nail biter.”
So loud was the place after the United States’ 2-1 victory that Knaup jokingly told the fans about a noise complaint from the neighborhood.
“I was joking about that,” Knaup said. “We welcome that, especially when you’re cheering for the USA.”
But the United States isn’t the only team students are gathering to watch as people from other countries have their own nations to cheer for, including host nation Brazil.
“I support Brazil, of course,” said Emely Baldi, junior in pharmacy from Brazil. “In Brazil, since you are a child, you are used to soccer and learn to appreciate it. It is a national passion and it gets more prominent during the world cup.”
International students have also been gathering in their dorm rooms to watch.
While American supporters are just hoping that the United States can advance to the knockout stages, Brazilian fans are demanding nothing less than for Brazil to win the entire tournament.
“I expect to see Brazil in the final game,” Baldi said. “However, I don’t have any preference about who the opponent is. I would love to see Brazil win the world cup, especially since this one is in our house.”
But being away from home while watching the world cup has its perks. For one, Baldi and the rest of the Brazilian fans are rooting from outside of their home country.
“Even though I’m cheering here, it is not the same feeling. In Brazil, the world cup is a time to celebrate and support Brazil with my family and friends and I really would want to be there to do it,” Baldi said.
Another difference lies in the experience in watching the tournament.
“In Brazil, I love to live this experience and I know how people there can get crazy watching it,” Baldi said. “Since this world cup is in Brazil, I imagine it’s about ten times more amazing.”
But not everyone is rooting just for their home nations. Some fans have taken a liking to individual stars such as four-time FIFA World Player of the Year winner Lionel Messi from Argentina.
“I support Argentina because I like Messi and I believe he is one of the legendary players of the world,” said Tanjima Alam, graduate student in human resource development from Bangladesh.
Alam, who said she traditionally watches the world cup in her home country with family and friends, would like to see Argentina and Brazil in the final match and loves everything about the tournament.
“I like to watch because it’s really exciting and I like (soccer),” Alam said. “I enjoy the goals and most of all, the crowd.”

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