Sunday Gratitude: Being Brazilian
Brazil lost. And Brazil wept. And I say this without rancor: you have no idea what those two sentences mean unless you are Brazilian, or have lived there. Not visited; lived. Since not everyone is as lucky as I am to be married to a Brazilian and lived there for nine years, and will in one week be “home”, let me give you a glimpse.
Friday was a no-good very bad day for my family. For the duration of the World Cup, the owlets’ friends have actively cheered against Brazil. Not for another team, but against Brazil. I cannot and will not understand this. This is not Red Sox-Yankees, my readers, this is a competition held every four years, country against country, and it rules Brazil for a month. More like six months. Maybe a year. The country stops for the games–not one school in action, no non-essential worker in the office (and if they are in the office, there is an office TV for the Brazil game). Everyone in their “canarinho“, the yellow shirts of the national team. It is in the Brazilian soul, and you don’t understand. You don’t. So let me help out.
The Owlets are the only two Brazilians in Weston High School. The.only.two. Can I say this with humility? No: Weston, you are so lucky to have that diversity. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but we don’t have a lot. Why weren’t friends who have been classmates of my kids for 8 years wearing yellow and cheering for their friends’ team? As far as I understand, no one much cares about US Soccer so why would you not support a friend? If you are Croatian, you are forgiven. I did not realize we had so many at the high school.
The game was lost on penalty kicks. I despise penalty kicks (and I rarely use the word “despise”). They can go either way and it all comes down to individuals, not a team. As the last minutes of the game played out on a computer in the cafeteria, my kids were tormented. Both left the area. One was found by the amazingly empathetic Dr. Henry who talked with him for an hour. You, Dr. Henry, are an honorary Brazilian. The other went to math class where he was hunted down by other kids to be tormented some more. Mr. McLaughlin put an end to that, and he also gets honorary Brazilian. I picked up both kids an hour early from school–they asked to be rescued. Think about that for a minute. Two Brazilians in 647 students. Of the 11,000+ residents in town, Brazilians number (far) less than 100. Please understand my disappointment.
Let me help the rest of you. If you know your landscaper or your maid or your friend or your co-worker is Brazilian, you express condolences for the loss. You don’t attempt to analyze the loss. You simply say “I’m sorry Brazil lost.” Two friends in England and in Washington, DC immediately called my husband to say how sorry they were. They get it. The Facebook page that most often makes me laugh about Storrow-ed trucks and Massachusetts silliness posted immediately “Pray for Framingham” and yeah, that was a joke, but also true.
I don’t expect those who have grown up and lived in the US their entire lives to get it. It’s pretty far from your experience. But I do expect you to try because for at least the next two years, you get to have two Brazilians at the high school. Lucky you. I can also help you out a bit by telling you to watch Pele: Birth of a Legend and to spend some time with my old blog Brazil in My Eyes from when I was living in Brazil. Know that Brazil will be okay. Life goes on. I give it about two months before they start thinking about 2026. Brasil, país do futuro.
Who knows? Maybe by the 2026 World Cup, y’all will be cheering for Brazil. I will be.
You write SO well, Kristen. Sorry about your loss.
Thank you, Tom, for both comments.
I wonder at what education is being served up at our fancy schools…
I am not sure that kids at any school would be different except for maybe ones that have more diversity. I will say the high school principal was very understanding and the two teachers were amazing. Perhaps it is a teens everywhere situation. In general, I love our Weston public schools. Hopefully, this is one dark smirch on it and there will be many successes in the future. Live and learn.
I’m so sorry this happened to your boys, your family, and your adopted country. Thanks for having the grace to do some educating.
We all learn every day. Hopefully.
I was cheering for them and am sad they lost. Mucha simpatia.
Kristin, thank you for posting this. It saddens me to know that friends and classmates were not only unsupportive but callous. It’s a good lesson for all of us, and I will remind my girls of it. And I will certainly be cheering for Brazil in 2026!
I know they are just kids and don’t necessarily know the hurt they caused. We can all learn every day. Thank you for your comment.
Brazilians are wonderful people and great soccer players, but I was rooting for Croatia. My mother was born in Split and my sister and I spoke Croatian from childhood, because our Baka (grandmother) would come to stay with us often, and we also went to Split to stay with our aunt Ljubica’s family.
I remember the local soccer teams, drunk on victory and good rakija, roaming the streets down to the dockside, singing at the top of their lungs, carried on the shoulders of their wildly enthusiastic fans.
One of their favorite refrains was “Zato brate pimoga, dokne pukne zora!.” (“Therefor brothers let us drink, til the break of dawn!”)
So here’s to good soccer and good sportsmanship everywhere, and congratulations to Croatia!!!!
I am sorry Brazil lost. I am very sorry and sad that such hurt was suffered by your Owletts, and you and Mr. Owl as well 🙁
Thank you, Alanna.
Kristen, I cheered for Brazil …
I’m sorry that your children had to go through that- what a shame, how insensitive. I’d like to think that Weston is better than that. I’m sorry Brazil lost-
Kids are kids in the end. Perhaps they will learn something from this–it is not so much whether or not the team lost, it is knowing when your friends need your support, not your jokes. I am hoping that is a learned trait after this.
You kids should put on their meanest cleats and kick some …… soccer balls.