Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cup Fever

Cup fever hit the Sugar Cube hard this week.

Not just the World Cup,  but the Stanley Cup too. No, dear British readers, I hadn't heard of it either. It's the NHL cup, awarded to the winning hockey team after a seven game series. By hockey, they mean ice hockey (took me a while to figure that out). If either team wins decisively before all seven games are played, they stop the series early. Which is just not cricket. I like the way the Ashes - and any other Test series - goes on and on even after the outcome has been determined. Here, once the LA Kings went 4-0 up, as they did last night, the cup is declared theirs, the series ends, and the celebrations begin.

Hermosa Beach is a big LA Kings town. Apparently a lot of the players live in the South Bay, and drink at some of the local bars. The Hermosa Saloon, our favourite local spit-and-sawdust bar, got its hands on the Stanley Cup last time the Kings won, and locals got to drink beer from it - through a straw, presumably, for only if you are on the winning team are you allowed to touch the hallowed silver.  (Another thing that makes this so very not cricket is that while the Ashes cup itself is miniscule, the Stanley cup is huge, weighing 34lbs.)

Go Kings Go! banners are almost as common around here as Keep Hermosa Hermosa ones. The bars on Pier Plaza are packed and riotous during the games. And even our planned civilised Friday night dinner with friends had to accommodate the game.
Friday night in the Sugar Cube: Schramsberg and ice hockey

And then there's that other cup, the one which just kicked off and which few Americans really care about. It makes me a little homesick, thinking of all the George's crosses that are no doubt covering the windows of ever other house in Gospel Oak. I love the buzz in London during the World Cup, when the pubs are full and you can hear the shouts from open windows, and it feels like everyone is caught up in the same event. It's a bit like being in Hermosa Beach when the Kings are playing in the Stanley Cup.

Despite protesting for some time that she has no real interest in football, our nanny arrived on Wednesday with a Brazil flag on her car and wearing a Brazil kit - and promptly dressed Lady P in yellow, green and blue for the day. She watched Brazil v Croatia in a state of high excitement, and with her mum on skype throughout. I said she could keep the TV on if Lady P woke from her nap before it was over, and so it came to pass. It seemed churlish to worry about screen time for Lady P since she's already seen plenty of ice hockey these past two weeks.

So a summer of sport has begun. The enormous TV on which TLOML insisted is proving its worth. And Lady P has learned to fist bump and shout 'Go!' at the TV like a good American. Brits shout 'Go on!' which has an altogether different tenor. It always sounds like we're chiding our teams. We're about to spend a month - and the last couple of weeks of the World Cup - in the UK. Maybe then we can train Lady P to shout 'Go on!' and 'Come on England!' like a proper Brit.

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