ADAMS -- If ever there were an excuse to party and celebrate one's national heritage all month long, it would be the World Cup.
The international soccer, or fútbol, tournament brings together this year 32 teams from around the globe to get down on the pitch, players kicking and fans screaming, in their quest for victory and fame at the Arena de São Paulo in Brazil.
Over the weekend, my friend Shane Bua tipped me off to a viewing party happening Monday night with the Adams chapter of the American Outlaws -- "a nationwide unofficial group of U.S. soccer team supporters with more than 100 chapters and 18,000 members," according to my colleague Matthew Sprague of The Eagle sports department.
I ran into both Bua and Sprague at The Polish National Alliance (PNA), where I had gone to meet up with my roommate and her friend to watch the United States men's soccer team take on team Ghana.
The Adams American Outlaws sure do know how to party. A poster of "The Yanks," as the U.S. soccer guys are called, was plastered to the front entrance.
In looking for my friends, I crossed a roomful of mostly men, and nearly all clad in clothing of red, white and blue hues, from star-spangled shorts and bandanas to soccer scarves. A couple of guys were actually wearing American flags as accessories.
I saw several Winter Olympics events this year in local bars and nothing even came close to the Outlaws' level of fandom and patriotic flair. (Learn more about the group here: http://on.fb.me/1lyxsoq.)
Just like with the Super Bowl, this fútbol fan club celebrated the World Cup opener for the U.S. with pizza, wings, meatballs and beer by the pitcher -- the latter which is available for super cheap at The PNA.
If you check out Sprague's write-up on the night (http://bit.ly/1lw5rnj), you can get a feel for how deep the roots of passion for soccer are placed. They'll be back again doing their thing at 6 p.m. Sunday for the U.S. match against Portugal, if you want to witness it yourself. It will be loud. It will be rowdy. And if you're rooting for the other team, you will not have it easy. (My roommate, out of fear of getting booed, mostly cheered for Ghana under her breath or beneath the din of "U-S-A" chanting.)
Beyond The PNA, there are also plenty of other options of venues for World Cup viewing. Last week, I watched the tournament opener at J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille in Pittsfield. While driving through Great Barrington on Monday, I saw a sign advertising the games at the Prairie Whale.
I also recently got an email that Flavio Lichtenthal, roaster and co-owner of Six Depot Café & Roastery in West Stockbridge is from Argentina and has been rooting for his countrymen. The café is showing the World Cup matches during its regular hours in the gallery on a nice new big screen.
"Come on by, even if you're not rooting for Argentina," Six Depot says.
If you want to catch the action on the silver screen, The Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield offers free tickets for admission to screenings of select games. Current times are: Today at 3; Friday at noon; Sunday at 6; Monday at 4; Wednesday and next Thursday at noon. For schedule changes and details, visit thebeaconcinema.com.
My guess is, if you're at any of your favorite bars or restaurants, if they don't have it on already, they'll put on the World Cup if you ask.
So go on, get into the game. If you've no clue about the sport, just do a Google search for viewing tips or check out the cheeky infographic by The Onion, that's been circulating around. For all the official match details, visit fifa.com. Want to scream and shout for your teams at home? Pinterest is crazy full of soccer-theme party tips and decoration ideas galore.
"The World Cup is the greatest sporting event ever. The World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and March Madness pale in comparison," said Alan Rubin, a former soccer player who gave a "World Cup 101" talk at Berkshire Community College on Wednesday. "The World Cup is truly a world sport."
Wherever you go, and whatever you do to celebrate your teams, just do us all a favor: Leave the caxirolas and the annoyingly loud vuvuzelas at home.