Over the last few weeks I managed to do something I often try but rarely manage: to work from my home town Lisbon. And I got to do this during the Euro football cup that Portugal just won, with a giant TV screen planted right in front of my place, surrounded by thousands and thousands of mad fans. Personally I’m not a big fan of football, but you don’t have to be one to appreciate such a thing. If snail racing was able to unite people around a flag, I would be equally fascinated.
Now, the good thing about understanding as much about football as snail racing is that you’re not too worried about shifting your eyes away from the screen. So you’re one of the few focusing on the fans rather than the players. Looking at emotions rather than technique.
Seeing a whole nation united around a flag.
Witnessing ninety minutes of expectation…
… turning into a night of celebration.
They say genuine smiles stem from the eyes, not the lips.
Sometimes you don’t even need to see the eyes to know what they’re saying.
I can’t even fathom what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such mass-scale emotions. During the homecoming celebration, Ronaldo – arms in the air and a broad smile – was completely at ease with it. But Éder – eyes on the floor, face hiding behind his hair, urged to the front of the stage by Ronaldo – seemed bewildered by the sudden burst of fame that came from scoring the championship winning goal.