I am not much of a sports fan, and Armenia being a country of just 3 million (and not a very rich one at that) can’t really be expected to excel in team sports. But this year, the football (soccer) team was quite a phenomena. I didn’t really pay much attention until I started to hear cheering, shouting and honking in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago. Armenia scored 3 important victories, two of them with wide margins, and the team was off to Ireland for a match that as I understand it would have gotten them into the Euro Cup – or some kind of important cup.
Armenians take great pride in their victories – whether it’s the top ten spot they usually get in the Eurovision Song Contest or the phenomenal chess players/team that has been winning world championships. But it’s not quite possible to cheer throughout a singing performance or a chess match. The celebrations of the football victories were different. Cheering erupting citywide at each goal, honking, red/blue/orange being displayed all over. This was the kind of clean, happy pride that Armenians rarely are able to display or see. It was a beautiful thing.