Watching the World Cup.1998

We watched the England vs. Argentina game at the Cock and Bull on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica.

Kick off was noon PST.

Our group walked over from the Zen Center.

The British Roshi from the Mountain Center was already there, wearing blue jeans, trainers and a yellow T-shirt.

“Let’s play the nationality game”, he said, looking round, smiling.

His jisha, called Heather, came too, and there were some other Americans, and a French guy, Marc, a software programmer.

Marc kept pretty quiet.

Roshi winced each time the enemy scored, but stood up and cheered the wonderful Michael Owen goal.

There was a groan of despair when David Beckham was sent off.

Then England lost the penalty shoot-out.

Afterwards I thought of the millions of disconsolate people back in my country.

“Is there no end to suffering for you Brits?” said one of the Americans, wryly.

Roshi smiled.

Zazen was at 6.00pm.

As we sat, in the quiet of the evening, with only an occasional car passing, a single shaft of sunlight inched across the floor to one sitter’s mat and up and over her knees and thighs.

Then the jikido sounded the bell.