I have always thought that where I drew the line on Basque independence was terrorism. As in, yes to Basque independence, no to terrorism. The World Cup has changed that. As it turns out, it's terrorism and international soccer.
Backup: you should know that the Basque Country, as a whole, has historically not supported the Spanish national team. Much of Basque Country (yes, Catalunya too, don't worry I didn't forget you) was cheering on Holland in the finals.
After watching this World Cup and (at first reluctantly, see above- I was torn) cheering on the Spanish team the whole way through, I cannot help myself. Confession: I am hopelessly addicted to La Furia Roja. The team is fantastic: it is basically FC Barcelona with some randoms thrown in from other clubs. They play Barça style (focus on possession and clever, dizzying passes); they're full of dudes who doubtless feel nothing when the Spanish national anthem is played; and I will not even hold back by failing to disclose to you, dear readers, that I have a pretty solid crush going on Cesc Fabregas. I would have one on Iker Casillas too, but he plays for Real Madrid and that is a dealbreaker. I adore them. It is the perfect Spanish side: Spanish but not. I am so smitten that I will plan World Cup and EuroCup years around these events, I will leave Basque Country for odd weekends when Spain are playing, and my Basque friends will be puzzled and wonder why I have bits of red paint on my face when I come back.
Whatever. My Basque street cred died when I was born in Raleigh, NC, OK?
Anyway, as I just pointed out to my friend Tory, they said on NPR today that for the first time, Spanish flags are showing up in Bilbao and Barcelona in contexts besides government buildings. And usually, I would be all "UGH, sellouts," but not this time. La Roja has charmed me too hard. My heart is mush.
Euskera of the Day:
as in, Zorionak, Espainia!