It was our first day in the country. The smell of fish'n chips filled the air, and the Wig and Pen was the place to be as England prepared to take on Sweden in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday. Wearing blue and yellow was a death sentence. The streets were lined with fans dressed in red who stood in pub lines extending for blocks. We had one goal: Convince the locals that we were one of them.
The time was 13
:30, which meant that we had less than two hours to rummage through every souvenir shop in downtown Oxford to find a Harry Kane jersey. After coming up empty, (shelves had already been stripped clean), we were overjoyed to find that a table had been reserved for us at one of the best pubs in town.
Before the whistle blew, the chants had already begun -- and the sweat dripping down the bartender’s brow could attest to how good the beer was. When Harry Maguire got a header off Kane’s corner to put England up 1-0, it was as if
every person in that room had won the lottery; not a single person was in their chair as high-fives were exchanged all around. The second goal sealed the deal, and by that time, we all had lost our voices.
When we spilled into the streets in celebration, we immediately joined the raging mosh pit before us. Clouds of red smoke exploded above us as we chanted: “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home,” lines from a song that has become a popular anthem for the team. As we looked around, we found saw tourists filming us from every side. It was then that we realized we were no longer distinguishable from the natives chanting next to us. The game was over, England had won, and together, we accomplished our goal.
Nicole Antonacci,Jessica Donnan and Sarah Gebhardt are St. Bonaventure University graduate students studying at Trinity College, Oxford University, this summer in St. Bonaventure's Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program.