1. No vuvuzelas.
2. I actually understand the game a lot better than I did in 2010. I get the obvious stuff – possession, scoring, offsides, and so on – but now I have a much better feel for strategy and what ought to be happening rather than just what actually is happening. Also, by the end of this tournament I may actually be able to figure out the difference between a non-call, a foul, and a yellow card, which would put me one up on some of the officials.
3. I know when the ref blows a call and I can grouse right along with the announcers, who are doing an admirable job of demonstrating the pointlessness of having objective announcers by clearly siding with their favorites. I thought they were going to have a collective aneurism when the ref missed a clear yellow card by Uruguay on an England player. It adds color to the event.
4. Did I mention no vuvuzelas? That’s really nice. Really, really nice.
5. The US team has actually managed to win a game they had no right to win. This means that no matter what happens from this point on they will have exceeded everyone’s expectations, including their own coach’s.
6. It has become a family sort of thing. Not only does Kim watch when she can, but also Tabitha and Lauren will often join me of their own free will in front of the games and contribute to the general fun of them. Other than favoring the US and England (and Lauren’s strange antipathy to any Russian team in any sport, up to and including the Olympics) we really have no rooting interests, so we just pick teams as the games come on. Often we end up on opposite sides. This makes it even more fun, particularly when one of our random teams comes from behind to defeat the random team favored by someone else watching. Go Belgium!
7. I actually have the time to watch a lot of the games. I’m teaching online this summer, so I get to work from home. Most of my other tasks also allow me to work from home, and sometimes not in front of my computer. So GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL!
8. Seriously, not a vuvuzela in sight.
9. Hockey is over, American football won’t start until the fall, and baseball won’t get interesting until 2016 at the earliest, depending on how long the rebuilding process lasts for the Phillies.
10. There is no chance of a repeat champion anymore. Dynasties are boring.
11. It’s interesting to think that this is the most popular sporting event in the world, even if 90% of the people within 500 miles of me are completely unaware that it is happening at all. The other day Lauren had a friend over and they sat with me for a bit of a game while Lauren chattered on about all sorts of World Cup stuff and her friend just looked confused. It's a big old world out there. It's nice to see things beyond the local.
12. Vuvuzelas? Not a one.