Imagine this: You're dreaming of going to see some World Cup matches in Brazil. And then your dream comes true. Thanks Mom.
That’s the real life story of 17-year-old Cassio Daros, a teenager who lives in Framingham, Massachusetts. He says he was in the middle of watching a soccer game at home when his mom sprang a whole of lot of awesome on him. “She's like, ‘We finally got the tickets,’” he says. “She said it so nonchalant. Like it was some sort of school musical.”
But this was no high school production of Cats. This was the World Cup.
The. World. Cup.
“For me, I'm like flipping out. I'm grabbing my jerseys,” he says. “I'm telling all my friends I got the tickets! I'm gong to be there. Check the TV. I was just like, crazy. I didn't even know what to say.”
Cassio has good reason for flipping out. He's from Brazil. Spent his first five years there. Then his family moved up to the states. He's lived in Massachusetts ever since. But he’s always missed Brazil. And playing soccer in Brazil. It's been that link to home for him and the link for his dad, Adelson Daros. He’s excited about the trip, too. Adelson says you have to understand: Brazilians are crazy mad for soccer.
“They're fanatics,” he says. “They are soccer fanatics. Some people don't buy their food, but they buy their tickets. You know?”
The family has the whole trip planned out. They're originally from the area around Belo Horizonte. It's one of the World Cup venues. All they can think about right now is what it's going to feel like when they land.
“Once you step out of the plane you can smell like dirt,” says Adelson Daros. “I can't explain it to you. But it's a completely different environment.”
You don't get any of that hesitation from these guys. You don't get the questions. Is Brazil ready? Will it be safe? Do Brazilians even care about soccer any more? They're like — of course they do. Brazil equals soccer. Soccer equals celebration. Celebration equals parties. And parties equal family and friends grilling outside.
“It's kind of like nostalgia,” says Cassio Daros. “There's some days I'm walking down the street here and smell barbecue, just like some warmth, and it kind of gives you memories.”
The big day, of course, is when they head to Mineirao stadium to watch the match. They've been there before. And they says the place is insane.
“Inside it's amazing because there is no openings,” says Adelson. “You see like 100,000 people. You go crazy. You can't believe your eyes, you know?”
Mineirao got a full makeover for its World Cup close up. And while it only seats 58,000 fans now, the atmosphere didn't change. It's going to be pumping. Cassio and his dad will be on hand for a semi-final match. Even better? Chances are good one of the teams on the pitch will be Brazil. So if this stadium is normally crazy, this game is going to be like crazy squared.
“We’re going to be right on the field,” says Adelson of his seats in the first section. “It will be fun.”
For Cassio Daros, he'll be watching his heroes play. Play their heart out. He says the fans won't let them slack. “I don't think there is any way they will lose with that many people supporting them,” he says.
Cassio's support is clearly from the heart. And some of that unabashed love may come from being so far away. For him, that national team is a key connection to Brazil. And those 11 guys on the field are more than soccer players. They're superstars.
“It's just like all your idols in like one place. If you don't watch sports, if you are a music fan, it's like Michael Jackson, The Beatles and like Prince playing together. How you going to miss that? You know what I mean? How you not going to get a ticket?”
Kid's got a point.