The Streets of Paris
My parents have the rare ability to get lost anywhere at any time. Today it is in the Paris Metro. After a day of relaxed sight seeing all of the sudden the race is on. The semifinal of the 2006 World Cup starts in 15 minutes and all of Paris seems to be on the hunt for a place to get a glass of wine and watch their beloved national team take on Portugal. The lines slithering around the base of the Eiffel Tower were miniscule compared to the crowds surrounding every restaurant in the city. When hunger finally gets the best of us we settle for an outside table with a view of the precious television. If you ask me today what my meal was like, all I can tell you is it did not compare with the game. My passion for soccer has always been present but never before did I feel the way I felt that night. National pride for a country I did not belong to boiled in my veins and for those ninety minutes I was French. I never realized that one moment could bring simultaneous joy to millions but when the whistle blew and the game was over I was proven wrong. The streets of Paris exploded with joy. France was going to the finals and I was caught in the middle of it. As the sun set on The Seine, fireworks began to ignite and a wave of Parisians guided me to the fountain at St. Michel. People who hours ago I had passed with little more than a glance, were now my family. Strangers were not greeted with a nod of the head but with a hug, and for that night Paris breathed as one. By 11pm the celebration had moved into the fountain, and I, along with 5,000 of my closest friends, danced in drenched soccer glory. The fountain at St. Michel has never looked as beautiful as it did that night when it was adorned with countless Parisians clinging to various gargoyles and saints. For that night I was not a tourist, I was not a child, but a brother, a friend and a son to an entire country.
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