Those hoping to find a large, elaborately costumed, and liquored-up Civic Center crowd on Saturday were not disappointed. And balls were prominently involved -- but not soccer balls.
The ongoing free presentation of World Cup soccer games on a billboard-sized screen was abruptly curtailed this weekend
as Gay Pride festivities took over downtown. This left numerous soccer fans
-- your humble narrator included -- suddenly at a loss, as no large venue showed the United States' crucial game in the tournament's knockout round (AT&T Park, which hosted the U.S-England opener, was busy hosting the Giants).
In other words, the offer of broadcasting "every" World Cup game free for large crowds applied to, say, the meaningless Ivory Coast-North Korea game -- but not the United States' most pivotal contest in years.
Yours truly and an unknown number of other disappointed sports fans were left to beat a hasty retreat to dark, dingy bars we'd hoped to escape on a glorious Saturday morning. Rather than commingle with thousands of fellow fans in the fresh air, we packed stuffy rooms illuminated only by flickering televisions to watch the U.S. drop a winnable contest, 2-1, and squander an extremely navigable path deep into the World Cup tournament. Not good times.
On the plus side, beer at the bar I attended apparently cost between one-fourth and one-sixth what they were charging downtown at Pride festivities, according to largely naked and painted revelers who dropped by late in the match for some beer and football.
According to the organizers of World Cup Live San Francisco 2010
, the next broadcast at Civic Center will be on Tuesday, June 29 at 7 a.m. (Paraguay vs. Japan
), with continuing showings of the semis, quarters, and cup final. Sadly, there was no large-scale Plan B regarding Saturday's U.S.-Ghana game.
In addition to wondering what might have been for the U.S. World Cup team, one is left wondering what might have been if the soccer fans and Gay Pride attendees had been allowed to mingle in Civic Center. Now that
would have been a true only-in-San Francisco moment.
Photo of amorous soccer players | DailyHaHa.com
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