No cigar

What a heartbreaking loss for the United States…

Again, Joh and I woke up at 2:00am today to head to the office and watch the soccer game. This was the Confederations Cup championship game, and the U.S. faced off against Brazil. Now, the first game we stayed up to watch in the tournament was against Brazil and it was a terrible 3-0 loss. After the big upset over Spain, we thought the Americans had it in them to surprise the world again.

We walked up to the office and passed the same groggy security guard in the lobby on our floor. He was at his usual post, laying across the couch by the door, certain to pounce on any dangerous entity who decided to approach from the elevator. He didn’t look happy to see us, but he did let us pass without harm (whew!) and we set off to our desks and turned on the TV.

About 45 glorious minutes later, the U.S. side was up 2-0. It really looked like a win, until reality struck.

Three and a half goals for Brazil in the second half. One was a half because it should have been a goal, but the official didn’t see it cross the line. Didn’t matter anyway…

We walked home during the sunrise again, looking forward to at least getting two more hours of sleep. I wrote another article about the game. Surprisingly, this innocent article really brought home to me the fact that I’m working as a journalist in China.

There’s a line in the story: “In Act 1, Brazil was dressed like it was a cold day in Antarctica and the United States played like it was a cold day in hell.” When I actually wrote that, I used Tibet instead of Antarctica. This, apparently, was a no-go. I didn’t use it to grind an axe or anything – I hardly think referring to Tibet as a cold place is political – I just figured I’d refer to a cold place nearby as opposed to, say, Maine. Maybe Siberia would have worked…

Anyway, my editor was very nice when she asked me to explain the reference – actually everyone we work with is about as nice as a person can be. I explained that the Brazilians were dressed in a lot of clothes and they looked like they were playing someplace much colder than South Africa. She said she understood, but that it would be better if we changed the reference. It’s a small thing to get bent out of shape over, and I didn’t, but it is an interesting indicator of the kind of eggshells people have to walk on over here.

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